Easy Chicken Yakhni Pulao/Pilaf!
Yakhni Pulao is one of the slow cooking gems in the North Indian Mughlai Cuisine. Its a mild but very flavorful rice and meat recipe decadent enough to be served on a special occasion. The meat (goat meat or beef) is cooked on low heat with spices to create a flavorful stock/broth(yakhni). Then a spice masala is made and the meat, rice and yakhni is added back to the pot and cooked on low heat again till ready.
I have always wanted to try this but elaborate slow cooking meals don't fare well on my busy schedule. Until i chanced upon this recipe which made it seem fairly easy. Using chicken in place of red meat halves the cooking time. I made it in a pressure cooker making it a one pot meal and fastened the whole process. It can also be made in a large heavy bottom saucepan. The whole process took about an hour but the meal is fit for a king. The flavors left us drooling for more...
: 5-6 people
For Yakhni (meat stock)
- 1.5 lb chicken, cleaned and cut into pieces (works with boneless/ or meat on bones)
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped into large pieces
- 5-6 cloves
- 6-7 black peppercorns
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 inches ginger, chopped
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 star anise
- 2 blades of mace
- 2.5 cups of basmati rice
- 1 medium onion, finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- 1/2 cup yoghurt
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red chili powder(depending on the heat desired)
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 green cardamoms
- few mint leaves, fresh or dried
- Wash the rice well and soaked in water for at least 30 minutes.
- Take a large saucepan or pressure cooker. Add all the ingredients for yakhni.
- Bring them to a boil on medium high heat and continue cooking for about 20 minutes or till the chicken gets tender.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken pieces and keep aside. Strain the yakhni to separate the liquid from whole spices.
- I like to reuse the onions, garlic for additional flavor and some of the big spices which can be easily removed before serving.
- In the same saucepan/ pressure cooker heat oil to medium. Temper with cumin seeds.
- Add sliced onions and fry them till golden brown.
- Now add ginger and garlic paste, tomatoes, salt and saute for a few minutes.
- Next add all the spice powders - red chilly powder, coriander powder and garam masala.
- Pour in the yogurt, and add green cardamom, fennel seeds and mint leaves.
- Add the chicken pieces back to the pot and let it simmer for another 2 minutes.
- Finally drain the water from the rice and add it with the yakhni back in the cooking pot.
- Measure the yakhni. For 2.5 cups of rice you need 4 cups of liquid. If yakhni has reduced in quantity, then add water to make up for it.
- Close the lid and cook on low-medium heat till rice is just done. If using a pressure cooker, let the steam build to high and then lower heat and cook for 4 mins. or one whistle.
- Release the pressure and fork the rice gently.
- Serve hot with a salad and spiced yogurt dip (raita)