Hyderabadi Chicken Pulao – Pakistani Recipe

by Asif Ali
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Pulao Masala


  • 1.5-2 lb chicken (bone in, mixed pieces, see notes)
  • soak basmati rice 2 or 3 hour
  • 3 onions diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1.5 tbsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp whole black pepper
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon
  • 3 black cardamoms
  • 5-6 whole red chillies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece of nutmeg, break/chop into a rough quarters (optional)
  • 2 pieces javetri/mace (optional)
  • 4-5 whole green chillies


  1. Heat a very generous lug of oil in a pot big enough to cook your pulao in
  2. Add the onions and cook on medium heat till amber
  3. Now add the chicken and saute until the pieces are all white
  4. Add all the remaining pulao masala ingredients except the green chillies
  5. Mix well, saute on medium high heat for two minutes
  6. Let the masala come to a boil, then simmer on low until the chicken is done. The chicken releases it’s own liquid so you shouldn’t need to add any unless the masala seems like it will stick/burn.
  7. When the masala is ready the oil will have risen to the top and the chicken will be tender. This can take anywhere between 25-35 minutes depending on your chicken.
  8. Once the chicken is done add the rice, green chillies, and 3.5 cups of water to the pot along with 1.5 tsp salt
  9. Mix well and taste, it should be just a little salty. 
  10. Bring the pulao to a boil and cook partially covered until almost all the water has evaporated then close the lid completely for 5-8 minutes until the remaining moisture has absorbed and the rice is done.
  11. Gently fluff the rice from the sides and serve with your chutney/raita/achar of choice.

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