Thursday, June 27, 2013

Afghani Murgh Pulao or Chicken Kabuli Pulao

Chicken Kabuli Pulao

Today I won’t only share a recipe; I will share a piece of my childhood with you. Many of you already know that I’m a big time fan of one pot meals. Not only it takes less time to prepare a complete platter but also it helps to make your life hassle-free too. Major part of my childhood memory is filled with these kinds of one pot meals. My father is also a big fan of this sort of fulfilling food due to his appetite and my mum was always happy to keep the kitchen counter clean and also to save some time for her own.

Afghani Murgh Pilaf

As most of the Indians enjoy rice on their lunch, my home wasn’t an exception in this case (though I never liked the idea). We used to have different variations of one pot meals. As we had them mostly on lunch so majority was rice preparations. There was an unique preparation among them which I never had anywhere else. Recently when I was looking though my old album I remembered that dish. Weird right? I know I’m sounding like a psycho but when it comes to food I think everything is fair. LOL. I called my mother and got the recipe but she couldn’t recall the original name of the recipe except it’s a Chicken Pulao. I wasted no time in searching for the name and after googling I found the name. And here it is today, exclusively for you all; Afghani Murgh Pulao or Chicken Kabuli Pulao.

Chicken Kabuli Pilaf

This aromatic Afghani Murgh Pulao or Chicken Kabuli Pulao is a mild flavored one pot meal of rice and chicken. This fragrant rice dish is very rich in taste but needs only few ingredients. Chicken pieces are marinated, sautéed and then cooked with the rice in aromatic spices. It may sound familiar to Yakhni Pulao but trust me this is not Yakhni at all. It uses zafrani yogurt based gravy. Originally this recipe belongs to Kabul, Afghanistan and known as one of their traditional preparation. Traditionally this dish is cooked in 1 cup of original homemade clarified butter. But I know my stomach isn't that strong so I used ¼ cup store bought clarified butter. You can also replace it with butter or any cooking oil. But I’ll insist you to use at least 2 tbsp of clarified butter or regular butter on the top of the rice while serving. This will give you a nice flavor and rich taste.

Afghani Murgh Pulao

Here is the simple recipe of Afghani Murgh Pulao or Chicken Kabuli Pulao.

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Resting Time: 0 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Yield: 4 servings


Basmati rice: 1½ cup
Chicken drumstick: 4
Roughly chopped Onion: 1 (medium)
Finely chopped Onion: 1 small
Garlic: 5 cloves, 2 cloves finely chopped
Carrot (thinly sliced): 1/3 cup
Bay leaf: 1 (large)
Saffron: 1 tsp (get the best quality if possible, it’s the key of the dish)
Ground Nutmeg: 2 tsp
Ground Mace: 1½ tsp + ½ tsp
Ground Green cardamom: 1½ tsp
Pistachio: 2 tbsp, halved
Cashew nuts: 2 tbsp, halved
Raisin: 4 tbsp, soaked in water
Yogurt: 1 cup, lightly beaten
Warm Water: 1 cup
Clarified butter or any cooking oil: ¼ cup (I will insist you to use clarified butter or butter for the authentic taste)
Sugar: 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

To Serve:
Hard-boiled egg: 4
Fresh salad
Lemon wedges
Dollop of clarified butter


Large mixing bowls
Non-stick frying pan
Large Non-stick saucepan


Wash and clean the chicken. Make a paste of roughly chopped onion and 3 cloves of garlic. Stir in half of the beaten yogurt; season with salt. Dunk the chicken pieces in the mixture and set aside for 10 mins covered. While chicken is resting wash and clean the rice and soak in regular water for 10-30 mins.

Heat half of the clarified butter in the non-stick frying pan. When the pan is almost smoking hot add half of the saffron in hot oil. Shake off the marinade from chicken pieces and add chicken to the pan. Fry them on medium high flame until golden brown in color.

Once chicken pieces are colored nicely, add the marinade and cook uncovered until oil floats on the top. By the time the gravy will be colored in saffron yellow. Once chicken is 80% done, remove from flame immediately.

Take rest of the clarified butter/oil in the large pan. Heat it on Medium flame. Once pan is hot add rest of the saffron. Add rest of the garlic and sauté for 1 min or until fragrant. add bay leaf and finely chopped onion. Fry on medium flame for 1-2 mins or until onion is translucent.

Add thinly sliced carrot and ground nutmeg, mace and green cardamom. Fry for another 1 min.

Drain the water from the rice and add the rice to the pan. Fry for 30 secs to coat the rice with grease. Add the chicken pieces and the gravy to the pan and give it a quick stir.

Add rest of the beaten yogurt and water into the pan with sugar and salt and bring it to boil. Once bubbles start coming up, simmer the flame and allow the rice to cook covered. Adjust seasoning. Once chicken & rice is almost done, add the dry fruits and cook for rest 5 mins uncovered. When everything is done remove from flame and keep on wire rack uncovered. It will still have little gravy in it. Don’t worry after 5 mins there will be no liquid part at all, all will be absorbed.

Transfer to the serving plate while hot with halved hard-boiled eggs. Serve hot with fresh salad and lemon wedges. Don’t forget to add a dollop of clarified butter on the top of the rice (if your stomach can bear that).

Chicken Kabuli Pulao



  1. Pulao looks amazing!!! It makes me hungry.

  2. perfect clicks...simply did you have patience to click so many...i wud have finished half while taking it...;)

  3. this looks awesome!! I have everything except for the pistachios at home, definitely making this!

  4. made this tonight... amazing,simply amazing. Totally different to the usual curries I make. Give it a go, you will not regret it.


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