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Chicken Pulao (not really)


Once upon a time, Mehdi, a Pakistani friend of mine decided to throw a dinner that inevitably turned into grand feast. It will be of no surprise to you if you know Mehdi’s hospitality. Chicken Pulao, a popular Pakistani course was among served dishes. Mehdi learnt how to cook it only 4 years ago. After arriving in Erbil, he used to hang out with his compatriots who taught him few useful tricks.

Today, Mehdi decided to cook for us, and I was there to help. We got all the ingredients in the morning. When we were just about to start cooking it turned out that Mehdi didn’t remember the recipe for his signature chicken pulao. This being the case, we ended up seeking advise of his mother-in-law who currently lives in Pakistan. According to google maps you can get there by car in 48 hours given there is no traffic on the way. As it was Friday and we were concerned that the road might be jam-packed we decided to call her. Especially taking into account that Mehdi works for a big mobile phone operator, and as his friends we all believe he make phone calls for free.

Bless the mother-in-law’s good heart: she told us the recipe over the phone. Eventually, 15 minutes later everything was simmering in the pot.

Originally, chicken pulao is a type of chicken pilav or biryani. Personally, I think that rice spoils the dish, so I omit it. I really enjoyed it served with rice aside. This is the only way to appreciate this unique combination of spices enriched with sweetness of ripe tomatoes. Perfect summer dish that doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare.


Chicken Pulao (not really)

servings: 5
preparation time: about 40 minutes

1 1/2 kg chicken, cut in pieces (don’t remove bones)
5tbs ghee
1 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, wedges

6 small garlic cloves
3 cm ginger, chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1 cinnamon stick
10 cloves
10-15 black pepper
5-6 bay leaves
1 cup of water
2 cups of rice

  1. Saute onions in dissolved ghee until they become translucent.
  2. Add chicken, spices and fry for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. After this pour 1 cup of water and cook for about 25-30 minutes on high heat.
  5. Serve with rice aside. (If you’re serving it my way.)

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