Chicken Yakhni Pulao Recipe

Chicken yakhni pulao is a traditional pulao where chicken is cooked with long grained rice in the chicken broth. Talking of pulao and rice based dishes, I have previously shared recipes of veg pulao, navratan pulao. However I never got around to share the authentic recipe of chicken yakhni pulao. Unfortunately, yakhni pulao is not as popular as biryani, however I believe that a good yakhni pulao can compete with biryani in the simplicity of taste it offers.

What is Chicken Yakhni Pulao

Before we understand chicken yakhni, lets understand what does yakhni means. Yakhni is Persian word for stock or soup or shorba. Rice cooked with such stock is known as yakhni pulao. Yakhni is normally used in context of chicken or meat. Cooking rice along with chicken, fresh chicken stock, and spices gives yakhni chicken pulao.

Yakhni Chicken Pulao Recipe
Yakhni Chicken Pulao Recipe

Benefits of Yakhni

Yakhni itself is useful for good health. Yakhni provides immunity to anyone who has weakness for cold or cough. In many parts of remote villages, yakhni is still used for its medicinal value. Yakhni has good calcium, phosphorous and magnesium content as well as nutritional value from the bones of chicken or meat. It is is also good for improving joints.

In my family, I got Kapil, my partner, who eats non-vegetarian food and he now finds company in my daughter, Aadya. Kapil had been keen on making chicken biryani last weekend. I suggested that he should try yakhni chicken pulao. Kapil, almost looked uncertain as he had never made it. I suggested that, I will guide him and his very first question was what’s different between a biryani and yakhni pulao and normal pulao.

Yakhni Pulao vs Biryani

Rice cooked with spices to give flavour is Pulao or Pilaf. Yakhni pulao is when the rice is cooked in chicken or meat stock. The process of making yakhni pulao is very different from that of making biryani. In biryani, rice is parboiled, meat is cooked to 90% and then meat is layered between rice, and cooked in steam by sealing the lid of container. As against to this, in yakhni pulao, rice and meat / chicken is cooked together, along with the meat or chicken stock.


Yakhni pulao is as scrumptious as biryani, however is less spicy that biryani, purely based on the spices used in making yakhni pulao.

Process of making yakhni chicken can be of two types.

Type 1 : Cook chicken, rice and chicken stock together.

Type 2 : Partially cook chicken and collect chicken stock. Now cook partly cooked chicken along with rice and chicken stock.

I have used the later process, first I cooked chicken partly, collect its stock and then cooked chicken with rice and the stock.

In the former process, if you cook chicken and rice together, you have the risk that chicken may not be cooked but rice will be over cooked. If you cook chicken partly separately, you can make the chicken tender. Now you can add this tender chicken in rice, this way both chicken and rice will get done in same time.

Origin of Yakhni Pulao

Yakhni is a Persian word, hence its believed that the origin of Yakhni is from Persia. It came to India via Mughal rulers. Yakhni is more popular in Pakistan and some of the northern parts of India, such as Awadh and Kashmir region.

Chicken Yakhni Pulao Recipe
Chicken Yakhni Pulao Recipe

Method

The process is divided into two parts. First make yakhni, and then use this yakhni to make yakhni pilaf/ pulao.

Making Yakhni First

  • First of all, wash and soak rice in enough water. Now lets prepare Yakhni for the pulao. For that, wash and drain chicken in a colander. In a big pot, add chicken and sprinkle salt over them.
Adding salt on Chicken - Yakhni Pulao
Adding salt on Chicken
  • Now add chopped onions, garlic cloves, ginger piece, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, black peppercorn, star anise seed, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds to it. Add mace powder and nutmeg powder to it. Add 3.5 cup of water to it and mix well.
Making Yakhni from Chicken
Making Yakhni from Chicken
  • Keep this pot on medium high heat and bring it to boil. After the boil comes, lower down the heat to low-medium, and let it boil for 20 minutes or till the chicken pieces are tender. After that switch off the heat and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
  • Now take the chicken pieces out on a plate with the help of tongs. Strain the water into a bowl, this is our yakhni so, keep it aside and discard the rest of remaining solid masalas.

Making Chicken Yakhni Pulao

  • Now heat oil in another pan / pot over medium heat and add cumin seeds. Once they crackle, add sliced onions to it and sauté until they are golden brown. Take out half of them in a plate and keep aside.
Frying Onions and Cumin Seeds
Frying Onions and Cumin Seeds
  • Now add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black peppercorn, green cardamom, black cardamom and cloves to it and sauté. Add ginger garlic paste and fresh chillies(make a slit in centre) to the pan and sauté for a minute.
  • Now add the chicken pieces and yogurt to it. Sauté again. Now add red chilli powder, coriander powder, black pepper powder and salt to it and mix. Add chopped coriander and soaked rice to the pan.
  • Add yakhni to it now and mix everything well. Let it boil for 5 minutes. After that, cover the pan with lid and lower the heat. Let it cook for 15 minutes or till all the water is evaporated and rice are cooked properly.
  • After that, switch off the heat and spread fried onions over the cooked rice. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Open the lid and fluff the rice with fork. Serve hot and enjoy with raita or chutney of your choice.

Pro Tips

  • I have used chicken drumstick in my recipe, you can use other chicken parts, key is that you must use chicken with bone. This will yield good “yakhni”.
  • My recipe uses the process where, chicken is first boiled and stock collected. This way you are sure that when you cook half cooked / boiled chicken with rice, both rice and chicken will get cooked uniformly.
  • Do not open the lid frequently when rice are cooking, as that will tend to rice not cooked properly.
  • As always, I will insist that you should use fresh chicken for the recipe. If using frozen chicken, make sure that the chicken is defrosted properly prior to cooking.
Chicken Yakhni Recipe
Chicken Yakhni Recipe

This Chicken Yakhni

  • Is gentle on spice levels and oozing with pure flavours.
  • Much simpler as compared to making layered dum biryani.
  • Comes from the traditional Mughal cuisine and is classic example of authentic taste
  • Makes for an ideal weekend meal.

Serving suggestion

Serve this yakhni pulao with vegetable raita or on its own with juice. Idea is that some liquid is provided along with this pulao to help swallow rice and chicken, else it will be dry to eat.

Recipe Card

Chicken Yakhni Pulao Recipe

Chicken Yakhni Pulao

Chicken pieces boiled in rice along with spices to give an aromatic pulao and mouth-watering taste
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Lunch & Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Persian
Servings 6
Calories 401 kcal

Ingredients
  

For Yakhni

  • 1.25 Kg Chicken drumstick
  • 1 Onion medium size(Chopped)
  • 3-4 Garlic cloves
  • 1 inch Ginger piece
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  • 2 pieces Cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 Green Cardamom
  • 1-2 Star Anise seed
  • 1 teaspoon Whole Black peppercorn
  • 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander seeds
  • 2 pieces Black Cardamom
  • 3-4 Cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Mace
  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 3.5 Cup Water

For Pulao/Pulav/Pilaf

  • 3 Cup Basmati Rice
  • 2 Onion medium size(sliced)
  • 2-3 Fresh Chillies
  • 1 inch piece Cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Whole black peppercorn
  • 2=3 Green Cardamom
  • 2 Black Cardamom
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 4 tablespoon Oil
  • 2 tablespoon Yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon Black Pepper Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoon Fresh coriander chopped

Instructions
 

  • First of all, wash and soak rice in enough water. Now lets prepare Yakhni for the pulao. For that, wash and drain chicken drumsticks in a colander. In a big pot, add chicken drumsticks and sprinkle salt over them.
  • Now add chopped onions, garlic cloves, ginger piece, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, black peppercorn, star anise seed, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds to it. Add mace powder and nutmeg powder to it. Add 3.5 cup of water to it and mix well.
  • Keep this pot on medium high heat and bring it to boil. After the boil comes, lower down the heat to low-medium, and let it boil for 20 minutes or till the chicken pieces are tender. After that switch off the heat and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
  • Now take the chicken pieces out on a plate with the help of tongs. Strain the water into a bowl, this is our yakhni so, keep it aside and discard the rest of remaining solid masalas.
  • Now heat oil in another Pan/pot over medium heat and add cumin seeds. Once they crackle, add sliced onions to it and saute until they are golden brown. Take out half of them in a plate and keep aside.
  • Now add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, black peppercorn, green cardamom, black cardamom and cloves to it and saute.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and fresh chillies(make a slit in centre) to the pan and saute for a minute. Now add the chicken pieces and yogurt to it. Saute again. Now add red chilli powder, coriander powder, black pepper powder and salt to it and mix.
  • Add chopped coriander and soaked rice to the pan. Add yakhni to it now and mix everything well. Let it boil for 5 minutes. After that, cover the pan with lid and lower the heat. Let it cook for 15 minutes or till all the water is evaporated and rice are cooked properly.
  • After that, switch off the heat and spread fried onions over the cooked rice. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Open the lid and fluff the rice with fork. Serve hot and enjoy with raita or chutney of your choice.
    Yakhni Chicken Pulao Recipe

Notes

Key Notes:
  1. You can use any type of chicken pieces instead of drumsticks.
  2. Do not open the lid frequently when rice are cooking, as that will tend to rice not cooked properly.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Yakhni Pulao
Amount Per Serving
Calories 401 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 129mg43%
Sodium 748mg33%
Potassium 580mg17%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 107IU2%
Vitamin C 8mg10%
Calcium 110mg11%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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