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Oven Cooked Chicken Pulao

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Mild, tasty Oven Cooked Chicken Pulao is lovely for when you want a hot, home-cooked meal but don't want it to be complicated to prepare. Once you've done the initial bits of preparation, you can stick it in the oven and forget about for a while. Then you can clean house, chat with a friend, read a book.... When it's all done, you will still look an accomplished cook who slogged over the meal! Since you are cooking the Pulao in the oven, it does take time so don't forget to factor this time into your plans. Serve your Oven Cooked Chicken Pulao with Raita, your favorite pickle and a salad like Kachumbar (recipe links below). Eat with your fingers because haven't you heard, food tastes better when you eat with your fingers?! True story!

Yield: Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 400 gms Basmati or any other long grained rice
  • 800 ml boiling water
  • 4 tbsps vegetable/ sunflower/ canola cooking oil
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1 x 2" piece of cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 large onions chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped fine
  • 100 gms fresh, unsweetened yogurt
  • Salt to taste
  • 500 gms/ 1 lb approximately chicken - you can use small (3 cms) pieces on the bone or similar sized boneless chicken pieces. I prefer the thigh cut.
  • Chopped, fresh coriander leaves for a garnish

Preparation:

  • Wash your rice thoroughly, under running water. Put it into a large, ovenproof dish and pour the boiling water over it. Add 1 tbsp of the cooking oil and stir well. The rice will be covered with the hot water. Keep it aside to soak, for later.
  • Heat the remaining cooking oil in a deep, heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. When it is hot, add the whole spices - cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, dry red chillies and cumin seeds - and stir. Sauté until the spices become aromatic and slightly darker in color.
  • Now add the chopped onions and sauté until they just begin to turn pale golden in color.
  • Add the ginger and garlic pastes and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 350°F/ 180 °C/ Moderate.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes, yogurt, chicken and salt to taste and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir often to prevent the mixture from scorching or burning.
  • Pour this chicken-spice mix over the rice that was soaking in the ovenproof dish. Stir to mix well. Cover tightly with aluminium foil.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 1.5 hours or until the rice is fully cooked.
  • When done, remove the foil and garnish the Pulao with the chopped fresh coriander and serve with Raita, pickle and your favorite salad!
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