Chicken Yakhni Pulao
Chicken Yakhni Pulao
5 from 5 votes
Whip up a storm in the kitchen with Chicken Yakhni Pulao—a gastronomic delight that promises a burst of flavours in every bite. It's the perfect blend of comfort and complexity, not to mention an all-around showstopper at any meal.
Chicken Yakhni Pulao

We’re talking about Chicken Yakhni Pulao today, a dish that’s a melodious symphony of spices, chicken, and rice. Hailing from the culinary traditions of South Asia, this one-pot wonder has been delighting palates for generations. 

In terms of difficulty, let me just say, it’s not rocket science. If you’ve ever sautéed an onion or boiled rice, you’re already halfway there. But what sets this dish apart are its nuances—the precise layering of spices and the intermingling of chicken and rice in a pot of aromatic broth. 

There are countless variations of pulao out there, but Chicken Yakhni Pulao stands in its own league.  

Why? It’s the ‘Yakhni,’ or the flavourful broth, that sets the stage for this dish’s richness. Some go for lamb instead of chicken, or add more spices; the options are endless really. But for those of you who are faithful to the classic recipe, you know that there’s no substitute for the original. 

The spices! Cumin, coriander, garam masala, and turmeric—it’s like the Avengers of spices, all coming together to save your meal from mundanity. Each spice plays a critical role in making the dish not just flavourful but aromatic as well. 

You see, Chicken Yakhni Pulao is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. The vibrant colours from the turmeric, the green chilies offering a kick, and the garnish of fresh coriander leaves for that extra oomph. A harmony of flavours that dance in your mouth with each bite. 

And let’s not forget the Basmati rice. Ah, the long-grained beauty that holds its own among the powerful spices and chicken. It’s like the backbone of this dish, absorbing the flavours while maintaining its unique texture. You could use other types of rice, but why meddle with perfection? 

You might want to add some raita on the side for an extra layer of flavour. You know, that tangy yogurt dip that goes hand-in-hand with pulao. Throw in some pickles and you’re basically hosting your own South Asian feast at this point. 

Chicken Yakhni Pulao is that extraordinary dish that can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. It can be the star of a lavish dinner or the comfort food you need on a Sunday evening. Either way, it’s a crowd-pleaser that has stood the test of time. 

What Ingredients to Use & Why 

When it comes to creating a masterpiece like Chicken Yakhni Pulao, your ingredients are the proverbial brushes and paints. Choose wisely, and you’ll have a dish that’s not just visually appealing but also a gastronomic delight. So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what makes this dish a true star. 

Chicken Pieces: The protagonist of our Chicken Yakhni Pulao saga. Opt for bone-in pieces for a richer flavour and more succulent meat.  

The chicken not only adds protein but also contributes to the richness of the Yakhni (broth). If you’re a vegetarian or simply out of chicken, try using lamb or a plant-based protein like tofu. 

Basmati Rice: The elegant co-star. Basmati rice is long-grained and fragrant, making it the ideal companion for the robust Yakhni. It absorbs the flavours without becoming mushy. If Basmati is out of reach, try Jasmine rice, although it won’t quite capture the same magic. 

Onion: A supporting actor but essential for building flavour. The caramelized onions add sweetness and depth to the dish. Shallots could be an alternative but expect a milder taste. 

Garlic and Ginger: The dynamic duo that brings a punch of flavour and aroma. Both ingredients add a unique zestiness that complements the richness of the chicken. Ginger paste and garlic powder can work in a pinch, but fresh is best. 

Green Chillies: Here for the kick! They bring a zing and liveliness that cuts through the richness. If you’re not a fan of spice, bell peppers can add colour without the heat. 

Cumin Seeds: The spice that adds an earthy, warm undertone. It harmonizes with the other spices and offers a complex flavour profile. If you don’t have cumin seeds, ground cumin will suffice, but you’ll miss out on the texture the seeds offer. 

Spices: The trinity of spices that set the stage for our Yakhni Pulao. Each brings its own characteristic—coriander for depth, garam masala for warmth, and turmeric for colour and health benefits. Substitutes? Well, spice blends like curry powder can be used, but let’s be real, it’s not the same. 

Salt: The classic flavour enhancer. It binds all the other ingredients together and brings out their best qualities. There’s really no alternative to salt, but the amount can be adjusted according to your taste. 

Vegetable Oil: The medium that conducts all flavours. It’s neutral, so it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. You could opt for ghee for a richer flavour, or olive oil for a healthier version. 

Frozen Peas: For a pop of colour and texture. These little green jewels also add a subtle sweetness that complements the savoury elements. You can omit them or replace them with diced carrots for variation. 

Fresh Coriander Leaves: The garnish that offers a fresh, herby counterpoint to the richness of the dish. You could use parsley for a different sort of freshness, but coriander really ties the room together. 

The grand lineup of ingredients that join forces to make Chicken Yakhni Pulao the icon that it is. Each component has its own role to play, its own spotlight moment. And when they come together, well, that’s when the magic really happens. Would you like to proceed to Step 4 next? 

How to Make the Perfect Chicken Yakhni Broth for Pulao 

When I think about Chicken Yakhni Pulao, the first thing that comes to mind is the rich and aromatic Yakhni or broth. It’s the lifeblood of the dish, adding a complexity of flavours that elevate it from good to divine. So, let’s dive into the art of making the perfect Yakhni for your Pulao. 

The Yakhni is prepared by simmering chicken with a blend of spices and water. This not only infuses the water with flavour but also tenderizes the chicken. The quality of your Yakhni can make or break your pulao, which is why it’s crucial to pay attention to details like simmering time and the spice mix. 

Speaking of spices, I can’t stress enough how crucial they are to achieving the perfect Yakhni.  

My recommended mix is a blend of cumin seeds, coriander powder, garam masala, and a hint of turmeric. These spices offer a full-bodied flavour without overwhelming the natural goodness of the chicken.  

While it might be tempting to use store-bought spice blends, there’s nothing like grinding your own spices to unlock their full aroma and flavour. 

Another trick up my sleeve is to sauté the spices before adding the water. This may seem like a minor step, but it helps to open up the flavours of the spices. A little bit of sautéing can go a long way in deepening the profile of your Yakhni. 

Finally, the simmering process needs your utmost care. This is where all the flavours mingle, so make sure to simmer on low heat for an adequate amount of time. Patience is key here; rushing this process could result in a broth that’s lacking in depth and complexity. 

Decoding the Secret to Fluffy Basmati Rice in Chicken Yakhni Pulao 

Let’s talk about Basmati rice—those long, slender grains that carry the aroma and flavours of the Yakhni like a charm. Cooking the rice to perfection can be a game-changer for your Chicken Yakhni Pulao, so let’s delve into the techniques to ensure fluffy, aromatic Basmati rice every time. 

Begin by rinsing the rice thoroughly in cold water. This removes the excess starch and prevents the grains from sticking together. Some people like to soak the rice for 30 minutes to an hour to soften the grains, but 30 minutes usually does the trick. 

Don’t underestimate the power of quality rice. The brand and age of the rice can impact its texture and flavour. Look for a trusted brand that sells aged Basmati rice. Older rice grains are less starchy and yield a fluffier outcome when cooked. 

Once the rice is washed and ready, it’s time to introduce it to the Yakhni. Always make sure to drain the rice well before adding it to the broth. Excess water could alter the liquid-to-rice ratio and result in mushy pulao. 

Cooking time is also pivotal. It’s crucial to keep an eye on the pot once you’ve covered it. Overcooking the rice can result in a mushy texture, which is a no-no for Chicken Yakhni Pulao. Each grain should be separate and fully cooked, absorbing the Yakhni’s goodness while maintaining its individual identity. 

Remember, your aim is to achieve a balance where the rice complements the chicken and the Yakhni, without losing its own texture and flavour. It’s a harmony that makes Chicken Yakhni Pulao the beloved dish that it is. 

The Art of Sautéing Onions in Chicken Yakhni Pulao 

Let’s talk about an element that serves as the backbone of Chicken Yakhni Pulao: the sautéed onions. The golden-brown onions not only add colour but also give the dish an extra layer of flavour. 

The key to perfect sautéed onions is the heat management. Too hot and they’ll burn, too low and they’ll turn soggy. What you’re aiming for is a beautiful golden-brown hue. 

I usually heat vegetable oil over medium heat before adding the onions. This allows them to fry evenly and develop that eye-catching colour. 

Choosing the right type of onion can also make a significant difference. Yellow onions are usually the go-to choice for this recipe, as they have a wonderful balance of sweetness and astringency.  

Their high sugar content allows them to caramelize beautifully, enriching the Yakhni Pulao with layers of complex flavour. 

Cooking time matters too. You’ll want to give these onions the time they need to slowly develop their colour and flavour. This usually means sautéing them for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Be patient; your taste buds will thank you later. 

Once you achieve that desired colour, the onions blend with the chicken and spices, serving as a flavourful base for the entire dish. The result is a Chicken Yakhni Pulao that delights the senses from the first whiff to the last bite. 

The Spice Melody in Chicken Yakhni Pulao 

What truly sets Chicken Yakhni Pulao apart is its intricate blend of spices. Let’s dissect the role each spice plays in making this dish a symphony of flavours. 

Cumin seeds are usually the first spice to hit the oil. They impart a slightly earthy, warm undertone to the dish. Their subtle bitterness is balanced by the sweet aroma of coriander powder, making the two an unbeatable duo in Indian cuisine. 

Then we have the aromatic garam masala. This complex spice blend often contains cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and nutmeg, each contributing a unique note to the overall dish. I usually add it midway through cooking to preserve its volatile aromatics. 

Turmeric powder is more than just a colour enhancer. Its earthy, peppery flavour melds into the dish, adding depth to the Yakhni. And let’s not forget its health benefits; turmeric is packed with curcumin, a compound known for its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Salt acts as the conductor in this orchestra of spices. It enhances the flavours and ties them together, making sure none overshadow the others. Finding the right salt balance is crucial; too much or too little can throw off the whole dish. 

By understanding the roles of each spice, you can truly appreciate the intricacy of Chicken Yakhni Pulao. Every spoonful offers a burst of flavours, making it an unforgettable culinary experience. 

The Magic of Garlic, Ginger, and Green Chilies in Chicken Yakhni Pulao 

Let’s dive into the holy trinity of Chicken Yakhni Pulao: garlic, ginger, and green chilies. These three ingredients come in after our onions have turned that perfect shade of golden-brown, and oh, do they elevate the dish. 

Garlic’s pungency, when minced and cooked, transforms into a mellower, almost sweet flavour that is essential for the pulao. It merges with the onions and adds a velvety note to the texture of the dish. We’re talking about culinary alchemy here. 

Ginger offers a zesty punch. Grated into the mix, it brings both a spiciness and a slightly woody flavour that complements the richness of the chicken. It’s the kind of ingredient that tickles your taste buds while making you wonder, “What is that delightful undertone?” 

Green chilies, those firecrackers of the spice world, jump in next. Depending on how much heat you can handle, you can adjust the number of chilies. But even a little goes a long way. They offer a direct, straightforward kick that pairs beautifully with the more complex flavours in the dish. 

Combine these three, and what you get is a base that’s rich, spicy, and incredibly flavourful. It’s this trio that turns the pulao from a good dish to an extraordinary one. 

The Role of Rice: Why Basmati is Best 

The rice in Chicken Yakhni Pulao isn’t just a filler; it’s the canvas upon which all other flavours paint their magic. And when it comes to this dish, Basmati rice is the star. Its long grains, aromatic smell, and fluffy texture after cooking make it the prime choice for a pulao. 

Washing and soaking the rice is more than a simple prep step; it’s a ritual to remove excess starch and to ensure that each grain cooks to perfection. Ever had a pulao where every grain dances on its own? That’s what soaking can do for you. 

The rice cooks in the chicken yakhni, the flavourful broth we’ve laboured to create. This is the rice’s moment to shine, as it absorbs all the flavours and aromas, turning into golden threads of deliciousness. There’s nothing like lifting that pot’s lid and being greeted by perfectly cooked Basmati rice, aromatic and inviting. 

Oil is the secret weapon here. It coats the grains during the cooking process, ensuring that they don’t stick together. It’s like each grain is enveloped in a silky dress, ready for the grand ball that is your dinner plate. 

Ultimately, Basmati rice pulls the Chicken Yakhni Pulao together, turning it into a dish that’s more than the sum of its parts. It serves as the perfect vehicle for the flavours and spices, making every bite a harmonious melody. 

Elevating Chicken Yakhni Pulao with Fresh Herbs 

Fresh herbs can be the cherry on top of any good dish, and Chicken Yakhni Pulao is no exception. Fresh coriander leaves, often used for garnish, are more than a pretty decoration; they add an extra layer of flavour and freshness that perfectly balances out the richness of the dish. 

Coriander leaves come in right at the end, but their impact is instant. As they hit the hot rice and chicken, they wilt slightly, releasing their earthy, citrusy aroma. This subtly contrasts with the deeper, spicier notes of the pulao, adding a burst of freshness with each bite. 

And it’s not just the leaves; coriander stems are culinary gold. Chopped fine, they can be added along with the onions for an underlying complexity that’s hard to pinpoint but wonderful to taste. This is all about those invisible layers of flavour that make a dish go from good to “Can I have seconds, please?” 

Let’s talk alternatives. While coriander is a classic choice, mint leaves offer a different but equally captivating dimension. Their peppery, slightly spicy flavour melds wonderfully with the pulao, especially if you’re someone who likes a bit more zing. 

When you think of garnish as mere decoration, think again. In Chicken Yakhni Pulao, fresh coriander leaves are your finishing touch, that final brushstroke that turns a meal into a masterpiece. 

The Crucial Role of Spices: Beyond Garam Masala 

Spices are the soul of Chicken Yakhni Pulao, but let’s give credit where credit’s due and talk about the unsung heroes behind garam masala.  

Sure, garam masala is a powerhouse of flavour, a blend that brings warmth and depth to the dish. But let’s not forget the other key spices that bring their own character: cumin seeds, coriander powder, and turmeric powder. 

Cumin seeds are like that baseline in your favourite song; you may not notice them upfront, but you’d miss them if they were gone.  

They bring an earthy, slightly bitter taste that works as a wonderful counterpoint to the richness of the chicken. And those tiny seeds do pack a punch; when they hit hot oil, they sizzle and pop, releasing their essential oils into the mix. 

Coriander powder is cumin’s best friend. Its citrusy, nutty flavours complement cumin perfectly. They’re the Lennon and McCartney of the spice world, creating a harmony that elevates the whole dish. 

Turmeric powder, the golden child of the spice family, lends not just colour but also a subtle earthiness. It’s the canvas on which all other spices paint their masterpiece. And let’s not forget its many health benefits, though, of course, we’re here for the taste. 

So yes, while garam masala might get the spotlight, the real magic happens when all spices come together. It’s like a symphony where each spice plays its part to perfection, making Chicken Yakhni Pulao a rich, layered feast for the senses. 

The Versatility of Chicken in Yakhni Pulao 

Chicken is like the versatile actor in a blockbuster movie—comfortable in any role you give it, from starring to supporting.  

In Chicken Yakhni Pulao, it’s both; the chicken pieces bring in their own robust flavours, while also acting as sponges that soak up all the spices. Let’s talk about why chicken makes this pulao not just good, but great. 

First, the chicken’s texture. Cooked to perfection in a gentle simmer, it becomes tender yet remains juicy.  

A low and slow cook ensures that the meat falls off the bone, becoming a part of the overall pulao experience rather than standing apart. Its inherent flavour isn’t overpowering, making it an ideal candidate for absorbing the spices and aromatics. 

But what if you wanted to switch it up? Mutton or beef could provide a richer, more robust flavour.  

However, it’s important to note that these meats have a much longer cooking time and might not be as universally palatable. Seafood, on the other hand, offers a lighter alternative but cooks much faster, so you’d need to adjust your cooking times. 

Now, the chicken isn’t just about flavour; it also has a say in the texture of the pulao. Chicken pieces interspersed through fluffy Basmati rice offer a delightful variance in mouthfeel. Each forkful gives you both the softness of rice and the slightly firmer texture of chicken, making each bite a mini-adventure. 

So there it is—why chicken is a superb choice for Yakhni Pulao. Its ability to absorb flavours, its just-right texture, and its welcoming nature for culinary experimentation make it the go-to protein for this dish.  

And let’s face it, a pulao without chicken would be like a movie without its star. While the show might go on, it certainly wouldn’t be a blockbuster. 

Exploring the World of Oils in Chicken Yakhni Pulao 

Vegetable oil is like the stage crew in a theatre production; you may not see it, but it sets the stage for all the actors to shine. But just like how not all stage crews are created equal, the type of oil you choose can make a dramatic difference in the final act. 

Vegetable oil is often the default choice for its neutral flavour. It allows the spices and aromatics to shine without imposing its own character on them. The high smoke point also makes it ideal for sautéing and frying, especially when it comes to browning those onions to perfection. 

However, there’s a world of oils out there waiting to make a guest appearance in your pulao. Ghee, or clarified butter, adds a rich, nutty aroma that you won’t get from vegetable oil. If richness is what you’re after, a tablespoon of ghee along with vegetable oil will elevate your pulao to royal standards. 

For those who like to tread the health-conscious path, olive oil is a worthy contender. Though not traditional, it adds a unique flavour profile. Just be cautious; olive oil has a lower smoke point, so keep that flame low and steady. 

Coconut oil offers another interesting twist, especially for those who love a tropical undertone. While not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s an oil that brings its own set of flavours and pairs well with the coconut milk sometimes used in certain pulao variations. 

While vegetable oil does the job remarkably well, don’t shy away from getting creative. Each oil brings its own unique note, and playing around can offer a new take on an age-old classic. It might not be the starring role, but the right oil can definitely steal the show. 

Check Out These Other Recipes 

If you’ve found yourself smitten by my Chicken Yakhni Pulao, well, let me tell you, you’re in for a treat! Your culinary journey with me is just beginning, my friends. 

Picture yourself digging into Chicken Biryani, another rice-centric dish that will transport you straight to the aromatic streets of India. The spices mingle in a way that’s like a symphony in your mouth.  

But maybe you’re more in the mood for Mutton Pulao? It’s a similar rice dish, only with succulent pieces of mutton that are just begging to be savoured. 

If you’re into the rice game but want to switch up the protein, let me steer you towards Fish Curry. It’s got all the spice, and everything nice, with flaky fish that’s going to make you wonder why you haven’t tried this before.  

But if you want to keep things all about the chicken, then you can’t go wrong with Chicken Tikka Masala. We’re talking about creamy, spiced perfection here, and believe me, you’re going to want seconds…maybe even thirds. 

Oh, but don’t forget dessert! Rice Kheer is a creamy, cardamom-infused rice pudding that’s the cherry on top of any meal involving rice dishes. It’s like a warm hug in a bowl, and who can say no to that? 

So, what are you waiting for? Dive into these delectable dishes and let me know how you liked them in the comments. Your tastebuds will thank you, trust me! 

Chicken Yakhni Pulao

Chicken Yakhni Pulao

by Nabeela Kauser
Whip up a storm in the kitchen with Chicken Yakhni Pulao—a gastronomic delight that promises a burst of flavours in every bite. It’s the perfect blend of comfort and complexity, not to mention an all-around showstopper at any meal.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4
Calories 458 kcal


  • 500 g Chicken
  • 250 g Rice Basmati
  • 1 Onion Finely sliced
  • 2 cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1- inch Ginger Grated
  • 2 Green Chilies Chopped
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt To taste
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 100 g Peas Frozen
  • 1 litre Water
  • Coriander For garnish


  • Wash the Basmati rice thoroughly in cold water and soak it in water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  • Add the minced garlic, grated ginger, and green chilies. Sauté for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the chicken pieces and cook until they turn white on all sides.
  • Stir in the cumin seeds, coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, and salt. Cook for another 2 minutes, allowing the spices to blend with the chicken.
  • Pour in 1 litre of water and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the chicken simmer for about 20 minutes. This will create a flavourful chicken broth (Yakhni).
  • Add the soaked and drained Basmati rice to the chicken broth. Stir well and add the frozen peas.
  • Cover the pot and let it cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  • Fluff the Chicken Yakhni Pulao with a fork, garnish with fresh coriander leaves, and serve hot.


Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done so merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 458kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 18gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 648mgPotassium: 329mgFibre: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 283IUVitamin C: 14mgVitamin D: 0.1µgCalcium: 57mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Chicken, Chicken Yakhni, Comfort Food, Cooking, Food, Pulao, Recipe, Rice
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!



Subscribe now to receive my latest recipes directly in your inbox. Stay up-to-date and never miss out!

Add your first comment to this post

Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

More Recipes

Chicken Goujons

Chicken Goujons

Chicken Keema Paratha

Chicken Keema Paratha

Chicken Bhuna

Chicken Bhuna

Breaded Chicken Tenders

Breaded Chicken Tenders

Yoghurt Marinated Chicken

Yoghurt Marinated Chicken

Malabar Chicken Curry

Malabar Chicken Curry