Chicken Pilaf Made Easy
Delicious chicken pilaf perfect for weeknight dinners
- 250 g chicken breast
- 200 ml buttermilk
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp goose fat
- 1 onion
- 1 grated small carrot
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 cloves
- a pinch of saffron
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 250 ml chicken stock
- 125 g basmati rice
- juice of half of lemon
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 cup of green parsley
- 1 tbsp pistachio
- 2-3 tbsp cooking oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Mixing bowl
- Non-stick skillet
I don't know how the cooking habits are in the rest of Romanian households today, but as I grew up, all families used pilaf as their go-to food when they needed a cheap meal that would last for more than one day. So, this goes without saying that I hated the notion of pilaf for a very, very long time.
It took me years to understand that what I knew about this dish was wrong, and a good pilaf recipe is actually a fantastic thing to have on your table. This being said, after many attempts to find the key to unlocking the exact flavors I like to have on my plate, I stopped when I developed this basmati chicken pilaf recipe.
It is super easy to make, you only need a bunch of ingredients, and it goes like this.
- The first thing you will have to do is to chop your chicken breast into 1-2 cm chunks. Make a marinade using buttermilk, 1 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of paprika, plus salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken pieces in the marinade and let it sit for at least 6 hours in the fridge. Overnight is better, but I always do this part before going to work, and it works just fine.
- When you are ready to cook, take a big skillet or, better yet, a wok. Melt a tbsp of goose fat on medium heat. Once it's completely melted, cook the chopped onion for 5-6 minutes or until translucent.
- In a bowl, mix the chicken stock, the grated carrot, saffron, turmeric, cloves, the rest of the garlic powder, and a bay leaf.
Now, this next step is optional, but I find it to be a good addition as it will ensure you nice and fluffy rice.
- Place your rice in a strainer and wash it with cold water until you don't see any more starchy water draining from the strainer. When the rice is ready, place it into your wok and cook it on medium heat for 2 minutes along with the onion.
- Pour the prepared stock over the rice, add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, cover and let it boil for 15-16 minutes.
- While this happens, heat up the pine nuts in a pan on medium heat. Be careful not to burn them. A couple of minutes should be just fine. When they are nice and golden, remove them from the pan and pour in the cooking oil.
- When it's nice and heated, remove the chicken from the marinade and fry it on medium heat. Don't let it burn, so use a spatula to turn it around every minute or so. Cook until nice, crispy, and well done, then remove from heat. All this process should not take more than 10 minutes.
- By this time, your rice should be ready. Kill the heat and take the lid off. Add the ghee and stir until completely melted.
- Transfer the chicken into the wok along with the toasted pine nuts. As a final touch, chop some parsley and crush some pistachio. Bring them into the party and stir well to combine.
- Serve immediately as it is crazy delicious.
So I guess you are wondering if this rice pilaf is the original recipe. Well, of course, I can't say that. It has many, many influences from what I've seen and tasted, plus some of my personal preferences on the matter.
If you want to learn where to go and find the original deal, you should know that chicken pilaf or pilau is a dish very specific to Middle Eastern countries. But, you can also find it in Central and South Asia. This means that each country has its unique way of preparing it based on its traditions.
For instance, if you'll go to Uzbekistan, you will not find chicken pilaf very easily. The way they prepare their dish is using lamb, chickpeas, and lots of lamb fat.
So, what I did here is more of a Turkish pilaf recipe, which I do hope you will try as it is easy to make and crazy good.
* You can replace the goose fat with ghee or lard.
** I said that this dish can serve 4 when prepared exactly in this quantity. Well, let's just say 3 people or 2 hungry ones can finish it without a problem.
*** Please give us an Instagram tag if you prepare this meal
Nutrition Facts / Serving
- Calories 324
- Total Fat 22 g
- Cholesterol 42 mg
- Sodium 841 mg
- Potassium 480 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 24 g
- Sugars 5 g
- Protein 19 g