Chicken Pilaf



This is based on a Hairy Biker’s recipe with a few tweaks. It’s easy to make and surprisingly fragrant, if you want to add a little heat then by all means add some fresh chilli along with the garlic and onion.

500g chicken thighs

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated

large pinch of saffron

1 tbsp coconut oil

5 cardamom pods

2 x 3cm pieces of cinnamon stick

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

5 cloves

2 bay leaves

250ml chicken stock

1 medium cauliflower or two boxes of ready made cauliflower couscous


To serve:

2 tbs pistachios, roughly chopped

1 punnet of pomegranate seeds

small bunch each of coriander, parsley and mint, chopped


Put the saffron in a cup with a little hot water and leave to steep.

Heat the coconut oil in a large lidded shallow pan  and fry the chicken thighs for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the onion, garlic and ginger and stir through. As the onion starts to soften add the whole spices and the bay leaves.

Pour in the stock and the saffron (including the water) then season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together making sure you scrape up any bits off the bottom of the pan and bring up to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for approximately 5 minutes.

Cut the cauliflower into chunks and blitz to a rubble in a food processor. You can now buy this ready made in most supermarkets so use a couple of boxes of that by all means if you don’t have a food processor – or are terminally lazy like me.

After about 5 minutes the liquid in the pan should have reduced and the chicken will be tender. Remove the chicken and onion mixture from the pan with a slotted spoon to a plate and cover with foil to keep it warm.

Add the cauliflower to the pan and stir to coat in the saffron yellow stock. Turn the heat to medium and stir and cook for another 5 minutes or so until the cauliflower is cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Stir the chicken and onions through the cauliflower. Scatter over the pistachios, pomegranate seeds and chopped herbs.

(The whole spices aren’t meant to be eaten)


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