Dum Chicken Pulao
130 Min

Dum Chicken Pulao

The rich cuisine of Hyderabad is a delicious mingling of South Asian, Persian, Turkic, and Arab cultures. Biryani, which is reputed to have come from the Persian culture, is one of the most famous dishes of that region. However, pulao, which usually refers to meat and rice cooked together in a pot, is a little simpler, can be even more delicious especially when made in the ‘dum’ (cooking under steam) style. It is a one-pot-wonder, aromatic yet not too spicy and the Chai Masala, which is slow cooked with the chicken and rice, suffuses the rice with its heady aroma.

This is a big recipe but do note that the pulao tastes even better the next day.

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Cook Time

2 hours and 10 minutes + soak & marination time



Step 1
Rinse the basmati rice 2 to 3 times, then soak for 2 to 3 hours. Drain. In a medium stockpot, combine the drained rice with the chicken stock, salt and spices and set aside.
Step 2
To marinate the chicken, combine with potatoes, salt, minced garlic, ginger, saffron, red chile powder, cumin and garam masala. Set aside for 2 to hours or overnight if convenient.
Step 3
When ready to cook the cook, first bring the rice mixture to boil over high heat. Cook uncovered, over high heat for 7 to 8 minutes then turn the heat off. The rice is not cooked through yet, but it will finish cooking with the meat.
Step 4
In the meanwhile, using a large Dutch oven or a wok with a tight-fitting lid, over high heat, warm the ghee and add the chai masala. Immediately add the marinated chicken and potatoes.
Step 5
Do not stir the chicken, just spread 1 cup of the fried onions over the chicken. Immediately pour the rice mixture (it will have some liquid) over the chicken and add another cup of fried onions on top of the rice.
Step 6
Turn the heat to its lowest setting and place 2 pieces of foil over the pot then fit the lid over it. This will prevent any steam from escaping from the pilaf.
Step 7
Cook the pilaf for 45 minutes – the chicken will cook from the steam generated from the heat below and the rice and liquid above it. Do NOT open or stir the chicken.
Step 8
Turn the heat off and let the pulao rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Slowly and carefully, remove the foil and add nuts, herbs and more fried onions and gently stir the pulao. Serve immediately.

For the rice:

2 cups long grain basmati rice

4 cups chicken stock preferably Wonderstock

1 teaspoon salt

1 large stick of cinnamon

4 to 5 whole star anise

For the chicken:

3 pounds of skinless chicken on the bone, roughly 8 to 10 pieces

1 pound of par-boiled baby potatoes (optional)

2 teaspoons salt

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

3 Tablespoons ginger puree

Generous pinch of saffron

1 Tablespoon red chile powder

2 teaspoons toasted ground cumin

2 teaspoons Garam Masala

1/2 cup ghee

1.5 Tablespoons Chai Masala

3 cups fried onions

1 cup toasted nuts, cashews, walnuts, almonds or pistachios

1 cup loose herbs like cilantro or mint leaves

Notes & Variations

  • It is best to make this pulao with chicken on the bone, which will have much more flavor than boneless chicken.
  • Serve this pulao with smoked eggplant raita or a simple green salad.
  • Using Deghi Mirch with this recipe makes the color brighter. Deghi Mirch is available at most Indian grocery stores.
130 Min

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We make cooking easy for you - here are the two masalas we use in this recipe!