Common to both South Asian and Middle-Eastern cuisine, Pakistani pulao recipe is one of the most popular rice dishes around the globe. As an ancient yet timeless rice dish in the world, Pulao has been a favorite among people from different cultures.
Over the decades, a significant variety of Pulao dishes has emerged. This includes countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, and others. Each variation has its own unique blend of flavors. It is common for all Pakistani Pulao recipes to have a seasoned broth. The seasonings can be made from different ingredients such as ginger, garlic, onions, coriander seeds, etc. While the main ingredient is rice, Pulao dishes mostly consist of an additional element such as meat, vegetables, or beans. Meat Pulao dishes are comparatively more popular as Chicken Pulao, Beef Pulao, and Mutton Pulao are most cherished among food lovers.
Historically, Pulao is famous due to its origin in Persia or present-day Iran. Popular among shepherds, ancient pulao dishes were mostly made with rice and lamb meat. From there on, the recipe traveled along with shepherds to various parts all around the world. It traveled far and wide, also making its way to Europe, where we modified it to suit our local cuisines. In Spain, for instance, the recipe has an addition of Saffron. We call it “Paella.”
Similarly, Turkish cuisine adapted it to create a local variant called “Pilaf.” In the Indian Subcontinent and particularly Pakistan, the traditional Pulao recipe remains popular in its original form. However, other spice-infused variants such as “Biryani” have also emerged.
What Are Some Popular Varieties Of Pakistani Pulao Recipe?
Originating in Northern Afghanistan, Kabuli Pulao consists of a delicious blend of rice, lamb meat, carrots, and raisins. Now widely popular all over the world, we cook Kabuli pulao with other types of meat such as chicken and beef. Kabuli Pulao has a rich flavor, which has an amazing combination of dry fruits that add a bit of sweetness to its taste. Unlike the traditional Pulao recipe, this variant we bake it in an oven after cooking in meat broth. We serve Kabuli Pulao with meat at the bottom and rice covering the top. Besides its unique flavor, Kabuli Pulao is also famous for its beautiful aroma.
In Turkey, the traditional Pulao recipe is modified by adding flavors from different spices, Saffron, dry fruits, and butter. To create a more localized version of the dish, the rice is first fried in butter until it starts to give a golden brown shade. We then cook it in a meat broth and finished up by adding some dry fruits.
Pakistani Chicken Pulao
Much similar to the original Persian Pulao, the Pakistani version of the recipe is more subtle in flavor. While we mostly cook it in chicken, you can also find delicious varieties of Pakistani Pulao in beef, mutton, and fish. Sometimes we also add vegetables such as potatoes, peas, and carrots. They are all added in for extra flavor. The recipe mainly gets its unique blend of flavors from fried onions and seasoned broth, producing a mouthwatering aroma. Usually served as a main course meal, Pakistani Chicken Pulao is ideal for dinner parties, family get-togethers, and even everyday meals.
Pakistani Pulao Recipe – A Traditional Savory Recipe
- Large-sized pot
- 1 kg bone-in and skinless chicken
- 3 cups of Basmati rice (cleaned and soaked in water for up to 1 hour)
- 4 tablespoons of oil (canola or sunflower preferred)
- 2 medium-sized sliced onions
- 4 teaspoons of salt
- 2 black cardamoms (available at supermarkets)
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons of coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons of black pepper corns
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 small-sized cinnamon stick
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 2 bay leaves
- Water or chicken stock in moderate quantity
- Start by placing a large-sized pot on the stove at medium heat. Pour in the oil and heat it up for a minute.
- Add about half of the sliced onions and cook them in oil until they become caramelized. This will be indicated by the onions changing their color to a dark brown shade.
- Add in the cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, black cardamoms, bay leaves, cloves and black pepper. Sauté these spices for at least 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken and pour in enough water or chicken stock to cover it up completely.
- Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Let the chicken and stock simmer for at least 20 minutes on low heat.
- Drain out all the chicken stock and save into a separate container. Take out the chicken pieces and place them on the side.
- Using the same pot, pour in some oil and add cumin seeds along with the remaining onions. Sauté the onions until they turn golden brown.
- Add in the rice and chicken pieces while pouring about 5 to 6 cups of the drained chicken stock into the pot.
- Once it reaches its boiling point, turn the heat to medium-low. Place a lid on the pot and allow the chicken stock to dry up for approximately ten minutes.
- Once the rice is soft and dry, turn off the heat and let the rice sit in for fifteen minutes.
- Dish out the Chicken Pulao in your favorite utensil and enjoy it with some yogurt or kababs.