Comfort Food Recipes

Rick Stein India Review | Aromatic Chicken Pilau Recipe

January 24, 2018

Long term readers will know that I am a huge fan of Rick Stein’s recipe books. A particular favourite is his book ‘India’. The other week I made the comforting Aromatic Chicken Pilau from it and I thought I would share it with you!

There’s nothing quite like a big comforting plate of something after a long day. Now I had eaten the Aromatic Chicken Pilau before when a friend made it on holiday in Scotland. We liked it so much that not long after our break I found myself making it again.

Rick Stein Aromatic Chicken Pilau in a Cast Iron Pan

It’s a relatively easy recipe and doesn’t need the world in spices or anything difficult to get hold of. If you can’t do freshly ground spices, packet ones will also do with this recipe. It also halves really well (with the same cooking time), and also doubles really well (with a slightly longer cooking time, shape of pan dependent). You can easily amend to make vegetarian as well, but watch how much veg you put in as it will affect the water content of the dish.

Aromatic Chicken Pilau in a Bowl

Aromatic Chicken Pilau

A wonderfully fragrant, easy to cook dish.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Author Rick Stein - India


  • 750 g Skinless and boneless chicken thigh fillets cut into pieces
  • 75 g Ghee
  • 2 x 5cm Cinnamon sticks
  • 10 Cloves
  • 10 Green cardamom pods
  • 6 Garlic cloves crushed
  • 10 cm Piece ginger made into paste using a tbsp water and a mini blender
  • 2 Large white onions halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp Coriander seeds freshly ground
  • 2 tsp Cumin seeds freshly ground
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg freshly grated
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 400 g Tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 400 g Basmati rice
  • 12 Curry leaves
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Prep the spices (if not using pre ground). Chop and season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Melt ghee in a large, casserole dish over medium-high heat (make sure this pan can go in the oven).
  4. Add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and sizzle for a few seconds until aromatic.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the garlic and ginger, cook gently for 2-3 mins.
  6. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 mins or until very soft and lightly golden, if it sticks at all add a little water.
  7. Add coriander, cumin, nutmeg and chilli and fry for a further 2 mins.
  8. Stir in chicken and cook for 5 mins or until lightly coloured all over. Add tomato, turmeric, 500ml water and bring to a gently simmer. Stir in rice and curry leaves.
  9. Bring back to a vigorous boil, stir once, then cover with a tight-fitting lid. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through.
  10. Remove from the oven and stand for 5 minutes with the lid on, then fluff it up with a fork. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

You don't need to use ghee, 2 tbsp of vegetable oil will work.
You can use shop bought ginger/garlic paste and ground spices if you'd prefer.
This halves well, to serve 2-4. The recipe above is for 6-8.

Aromatic Chicken Pilau in a Cast Iron Pan on top of a Tea Towel

Rick Stein India has a range of intricate recipes but also the simple and easy. It’s the book that I’ve most used in my collection. The British Raj is my favourite curry in the book and veggies you will love the Potato and Pea Curry. There’s very few recipes left to cook from this book!

Have you made this Aromatic Chicken Pilau before? Would you give it a go? Let me know in the comments,


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P.S. Recipe from Rick Stein’s India. Not an affiliate link in any way, I wanted to share my love for this book.


  • Reply Lubka Henry January 24, 2018 at 11:02 am

    The herbs and spices are so important for Indian cuisine. This recipe looks very delicious.

    • Reply MissPond January 24, 2018 at 8:24 pm

      I most definitely agree 🙂 The recipe was seriously tasty!

  • Reply Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too January 24, 2018 at 10:09 am

    This sounds like such a comforting dish, one to whip up on cold blustery days like today

    • Reply MissPond January 24, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      It really is like a hug in a bowl 🙂 Perfect for wintry days x

  • Reply Chloe January 24, 2018 at 9:26 am

    I love this book – his passanda is AMAZING!


    • Reply MissPond January 24, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      I’ve still not made that yet – I’m going to have to move it up my ‘to make’ list now!

  • Reply Michelle January 24, 2018 at 8:19 am

    I’d definitely give it a go! there’s something about “aromatic” recipes that I really enjoy, and you made this one sound so easy, I might as well just try to make it.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Reply MissPond January 24, 2018 at 8:24 am

      No worries – it really is very simple 🙂 and it’s super tasty too!

  • Reply Nafisah Atcha January 24, 2018 at 8:11 am

    Not a big fan of chicken but would swap it out for a tonne of veggies!

    • Reply MissPond January 24, 2018 at 8:23 am

      Just be careful what veggies you use as it could take longer to cook!

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