“Pilaf” is a dish in which Rice is cooked with vegetables and meat, to create an “all in one pot” meal.
There are many different versions of this dish all over the Middle East, Turkey, Greece, Armenia, Uzbekistan, India and more. Each version comes with its different spices, types of meat and vegetables used.
The following is a pilaf that I have prepared for a client of mine, who wanted a lower fat version of a traditional Armenian Lamb Pilaf. I have used chicken instead of lamb, and the result it tasty and fragrant, and at the same time much lighter than the original. The dish is great for entertaining, with a simple green salad on the side.
* Do not be tempted to use chicken breast instead of the thighs, as the result will be too dry.
* I’ve used McCormick’s’ Garam Masala Spice Mix, which contains coriander, black pepper, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon. If you prefer not to use the mix, use these spices instead, or any other combination you prefer.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
1.6 oz (750 grams) boneless and skinless chicken thighs
1 Tbs Garam Masala spice mix
1 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp hot paprika
1 large onion
3 large carrots
¼ cup safflower oil, or light olive oil
1 cup Basmati Rice
½ cup dried currants
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1. Clean the chicken thighs and cut into medium size cubes. Place in a bowl, add the spices and mix. Keep at room temperature for 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, peel and dice the onion into small cubes, and peel and cut the carrots into 2” (5 cm) sticks.
3. Mix the oil and onion cubes in a large wide pot, and cook on medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes, mixing gently occasionally. Add the carrot sticks and mix to coat with the oil. Cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add the rice and salt and mix gently to coat the rice with oil. Add the dried currants, water and salt. Mix gently and bring to a boil. Taste the liquid and adjust seasoning.
5. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for 25 minutes, or until all the liquids have evaporated. Turn off the heat and keep covered for ten minutes before serving.