Indian in 7 spiced chicken pulao

Serve this dish with a salad and you’ll find, like me, that it becomes one of your go-to meals. You can use chicken on the bone – thighs are good – but cook them for a few minutes longer than the breast meat. You can also throw in a handful of frozen diced mixed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans and peas, to make this even healthier. 

spiced chicken pulao
Gareth Morgans


1 large onion, finely sliced
1 large tomato, finely chopped (seeds and all)
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp medium chilli powder
200g skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2cm pieces
200g basmati rice, washed and drained
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice


2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste (see below, or good quality variety from a jar)

1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Fry the onion over a high heat for 4-5 minutes, then remove half to a plate and set aside.

2. Fry the remaining onion in the pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently, for a further 8-10 minutes until dark golden. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside separately.

3. Put the first lot of onion back into the pan, increase the heat to high and add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry for a few seconds, then add the tomato and cook for a minute. Sprinkle in the ground spices, mix, then add the chicken. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until the chicken looks white instead of pink on the outside.

4. Now add the rice and 450ml boiling water then season with salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a minimum, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 12 minutes without lifting the lid. Turn off the heat and leave the pan covered for a further 5 minutes to finish cooking the rice in the steam.

5. Remove the lid, add the lemon juice and fluff up the rice with a fork. Sprinkle the reserved golden fried onions on top and serve hot, with yogurt and cucumber.

Combine 1 part peeled and chopped fresh ginger (scrape the thin skin off with a teaspoon) and 2 parts (by volume) peeled and chopped garlic. If making a small amount, you can grate both or crush them using a mortar and pestle. For larger amounts, blitz the peeled and chopped ginger and garlic in a blender, along with a little cold water to turn the blades and make a smooth paste. You can store the paste in the fridge. Put it into a clean jam jar and cover the surface with oil (any cooking oil); it will keep for up to 3 weeks (top up the oil as necessary).

indian in 7 recipes

Indian in 7: Delicious Indian Recipes in 7 Ingredients or Fewer by Monisha Bharadwaj is published by Kyle Books, price £17.99. To order a copy for £14.40 with free p&p until 3 November visit, or call 01603 648155.