Afgani Chicken Pilau (Friday Lunch)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Friday comes and goes so quickly these days,
it's so hard thinking of new rice dishes for Jummah (Friday) Lunch.
This is very similar to the Spanish Rice recipe I shared before.
This recipe can be made with Chicken or Mutton.


1 chicken cut into 8 -10 pieces (1-1.5 kg of chicken pieces)
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp garam masala 
1 tsp freshly roasted cumin seeds
1 tsp freshly roasted coriander seeds 
1 Tb garlic paste 
1 Tb ginger paste
1 green chili, halved
1 Tb white vinegar 
Salt to taste 
2 Tb green chili paste (freshly ground green chilli) 

3 cups rice
Water as needed
1/2 cup oil
5 onions, thinly sliced


2 large carrots, grated
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tb butter (olive oil)


  1. Combine all the spice mix ingredients together and set aside. 
  2. Heat in a pan, oil and braise the onions till golden.
  3. Remove and drain the fried onions, reserve half of them and crush the other half.
  4. In the same pan, with the oil still hot, add the chicken, ginger paste, garlic paste and 1/2 tsp salt, and fry the chicken on high heat on both sides until the meat changes color (so for about 5 minutes).
  5. Add the crushed onions and the rest of the spice mix ingredients.
  6. Give everything a stir and then add around 1 cup of water.
  7. Lower the heat and let the chicken simmer gently, place the cover on the pot, put the heat on low and leave to cook till the chicken is tender.
  8. It should take around 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
  9. Keep checking on the meat, keep the heat on low and watch you do not over cook the chicken as it will cook more during the steaming of the pilau. 
  10. In the meantime, prepare the rice, soak for 30 minutes.
  11. In a big pan of water, add some salt, vinegar and the green chilli.
  12. Once the water comes to a boil, drain the pre-soaked rice and cook it in the boiling water until it is about 3/4 done.
  13. Drain the water from the rice.
  14. When the chicken is done turn off the heat. 
  15. In a big pot, layer half of the rice first.
  16. Next, a layer of the chicken with its masala over the rice, sprinkle the reserved fried onions on top.
  17. Then, add the last layer of the rice, cover the pot tightly  and place on a low heat and steam for about 15 minutes or bake in a preheated oven at 180 Degrees Celsius for the same amount of time. 
  18. Whilst the pilau is steaming, prepare the garnish by heating butter then lightly fry the raisins and grated carrots for about a minute. 
  19. When the pilau is ready, dish out into a platter, top with the garnish, and serve with rita, kachoobar (grated onions mixed with vinegar) and dhay (sour milk mixed with green chutney).

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  1. I was expecting to see this massive list of ingredients and an even longer method but this looks super simple and quick! My husband HATES raisins with a passion, so I'm going to try this on Friday inshaAllah and just put a portion aside for him without them :) How many would you say this serves? x

    1. Haha yeah super easy and simple to make, and flavors are so different that the usual Friday dishes, you're lucky than that the raisins are just for the garnish, so you can add them per person's serving or keep a portion aside for you. Well it serves around 7 -8 that's my estimate :)

  2. This looks delicious! I often cook this at home and my husband loves it.

    1. Just came across the recipe recently, awesome dish!

  3. This is easier than I thought lol :) For jumah we always make couscous I don't know it's just a tradition, I'm gonna try this insha'Allah

    1. Inshallah I heard couscous goes with everything lol

  4. This looks beautiful! We traditionally add raisins and onions as garnish on our rice dishes so this really takes me back to my mums cooking!

    1. Thank you! :) For rice dishes we usually just add fried onions. I only know of a few dishes that require raisins as a garnish as well.

  5. I am so trying this out. Makes me soon hungry!

  6. Will definitely be trying this out soon!! So much easier to do with chicken instead of lamb.

  7. love it Zainab, will definitely try this on holiday.

  8. I really love Afghani rice and carrot! My sister the other day said she is craving it. I think now is the best opportunity to make her cook it for us haha!

    Gigi |¤

  9. Looks delicious Zainab. Another fab recipe mashAllah!

  10. Another yummy but easy dish to try out, I love the raisins.

    1. Jazakallah for the comment :) I love raisins too, I wasn't sure how it would taste cooked but it really brought a lot of flavour to the dish

  11. Had this at a restaurant recently. Have to say I prefer my Pakistani pilau!

    1. Haha yeah there are many many recipes and versions to a pilau it defiantly depends on what your taste buds prefer :)

  12. Totally mouth watering !!!!

  13. This looks so yummylicious.....might be a combination of sweet and spicy flavours right?? I love such recipes....

    1. It was more on the spicy side than sweet, I was worried about that because personally I am not a sweet and chilli combination fan. But you could add more cinnamon or honey to the rub if you wanted to grill the meat, I added more chillies because I wanted it more spicy

  14. Assalamvalekum...I sent you a mail...Can you check it and revert back when time permits...

    1. Wasalam :) I did receive an email, just saw it inshallah I will be replying you soon :)