Monday, 27 June 2011

Nigella's saffron scented chicken pilaf

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I am obsessed with trying out new rice recipes. Maybe its because we have rice only over the weekend, that too just for lunch, and instead of the boring plain rice I'm always looking for a variety of ways I can play around with rice. I keep getting updates from nigella.com and this recipe was updated on one of the days. I realized I had everything in hand and so made it.
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I must say that it tasted good, except I may not actually add the chicken henceforth. It would be perfect on its own, with maybe a side of chicken curry or something. I love the fact that the procedure is easy and of course Nigella just makes it a tad more exotic. I watched her video for this recipe and the first few minutes I was completely distracted by her home and kitchen. Then the next few minutes I was trying to understand why she uses so many adjectives to describe food. Seriously this is how she describes the pilaf on her website:
"The cinnamon and lemony yoghurt marinade gives the chicken a soft, perfumed tenderness; the saffron in the rice, itself studded with nuts and the musky breath of cardamom (??????), is almost lit up with gold. "

Are we describing a hunk out of Mills & Boon or just some random Pilaf??? So while I was serving the rice, I started talking like Nigella (sans the fairy lights in the background) and telling Ro, "here's a touch of the Arabian nights in sunny Greenwich ...mmm beautiful isn't it?" Ro was annoyed and said I'd soon look like a "fat" version of Nigella if I didn't stop making rich carb-high food like this. That was uncalled for, but anyways, I enjoyed making this rice and eating it too :)

Recipe adapted from here
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Skinless, boneless chicken thighs/ breasts- 250 gms, cleaned and sliced into small cubes
Yoghurt- 100 gms
Cinnamon powder- a little less than a 1/4 tsp
Pepper- to taste
Salt- to taste
Lemon juice- 1 tsp

Basmati rice- 250 gms (approx. 1 1/3rd cups)
Chicken stock- 500 ml (approx. 2 cups) I dissolved a cube of instant chicken bouillon in boiling water.
Saffron threads- 1/4 tsp
Cardamon pods- 2, bruised
Oil- 2 tbsp
Lemon zest- of half a lemon
Lemon juice- of half a lemon
Coriander leaves- to garnish
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Marinate the chicken pieces with yoghurt, cinnamon powder, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Toss well and keep aside for at least an hour or overnight. Whichever is convenient.
Soak the saffron threads in the chicken stock.
In a large pan, heat the oil and add the rice.
On medium heat, sauté till the rice turns lightly translucent/ glossy.
Add the chicken stock with the saffron followed by lemon zest, lime juice, some salt and crushed cardamom pods. Give a good stir and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Turn the heat to very low and cook for about 15 minutes, or till you have noticed that the rice is cooked, and all the water has been absorbed.
While that's taken care of, remove the chicken from the marinade and shallow fry it in a pan with little oil or like I did, grill it on high in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Once the rice is cooked, remove from the fire and fluff it with a fork.
Transfer the rice into a serving dish, arrange the fried/ grilled chicken pieces on top and garnish with some chopped coriander leaves.
I served this with some chilled cucumber raita, baby tomato salad and some glorious white wine.
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Notes: Now the original recipe calls for roasted pine nuts, cashew nuts and almond flakes. I didn't go there because for one, I don't really like the whole idea of biting into the nuts in rice and two, didn't want to add to the calories and three and most importantly, I was too lazy to dry roast it :)
Coriander leaves can be substituted with parsley leaves. I didn't have any fresh leaves and dried ones would have been bleh!
The chicken stock is salty, so watch before you add more.
The cinnamon taste in the chicken is quite obvious, so reduce or omit if you are not a big fan
Double the recipe to serve about 4 to 5 people.

45 comments:

Sarah said...

this looks gorgeous! I think I can easily gobble up a plate or 2 of this :)

Sharmilee! :) said...

Wow looks so flavourful and yummy... perfectly coked rice

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Each grain of rice looks separate and wonder color dear !! Aromatic rice with chicken sounds too good

Deepa
Hamaree Rasoi

Priti said...

Love that colour n looks so delicious ..yum

Biny Anoop said...

wow perfect and a royal treat

Rekha shoban said...

wow!!tempting n superb chicken rice!!nice colour n click!

Prathima Rao said...

I saw this one just yesterday on Nigella`s show..And now I get to enjoy this aromatic rice all over again!! The rice is cooked oh so perfectly my dear!!
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

miri goes phishing! said...

the rice looks like it is cooked to perfection nish...:)...lol...you mentioned only the adjectives....i keep noticing the amount of noises she makes while tasting something, while taking in a whiff of something, infact even when she just opens the oven door or the fridge door....Mmmmmmm...i guess she believes in food that stimulates all the senses....lol...btwn...the puttu podi comes with an expiry date...a pckt 2yrs old doesn't sound good....:)

divya said...

wow so tempting !! looks so wonderful !!

Premalatha Aravindhan said...

Wow!!! I can feel the aroma here,lovely colour...
Pls pass the bowl:)

Suja said...

Aromatic and delicious rice..lovely color..

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious looking aromatic rice looks colourful

Gayathri Ramdas Sreekanth said...

An easier substitute for biriyani..! Yummoo..Ur grains seem to be cooked to perfection and the cilantro seems to be like floating on top...Brilliant !!!

SravsCulinaryConcepts said...

wow very beautiful and lovely color !! looks so delicious !! awesome clicks !!

Shabs.. said...

nice recipe and great pics da...love the look of rice and its come out fluffy:).

Vimitha Anand said...

Looks so beautiful... Colorful and flavorful pilaf...

Cocktail Party said...

Sensational:)

Nitha said...

Looks gorgeous Nisha... I might omit the "Xtra" spices in the chicken.. Or may be as you said.. the flavoured rice with chicken curry..

ente pachakasala said...

wow yummy lovely clicks n cute presentation

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Flavorful rice with beautiful color...

Ananda Rajashekar said...

i'm bowled out Nisha, uber gorgeous pic seriously went up and down, flaky, most colourful and beautiful rice till date! Nigella, I believe she tries emotes senses in her viewers though it surpasses the basics level or sometimes it goes unnoticed! Last before pic is sure a winner!

Swathi said...

Pilaf looks awesome, each grain can be picked very nicely. Love it.

Satrupa said...

Now I am distracted .... first by the very name of the dish ( so exotic ) and then by your clicks !! The rice cooked to perfection. Got to go back to see the recipe now :)

Cheers,
Satrupa

http://satrupa-foodforthought.blogspot.com

Manju said...

ohh my ...it looks soo gorgeous!! I am so sorry to have been not around here for ages...just been busy with a ton of other things and just got back into blogging kinda regularly..you will see more of me soon :)

Priya said...

Omg, thats a delectable and absolutely irresistible pilaf, definitely flavourful..

Sushma Mallya said...

Wonderful clicks looks delicious!

Rinku Naveen said...

Loved the colour of the rice. Very nice clicks Nisha..

Kankana said...

The rice looks so fluffy and neatly presented. I really should look for saffron and try out this rice. U making me hungry !!
www.sunshineandsmile.com

schmetterlingwords said...

Perfectly cooked rice and chicken... I absolutely love all those pics... Each and every grain of rice is visible. You rock!! Some things like this rice are just to indulge.. forget diets!! :-)

VS said...

Yum! Loved the pics. I am a big fan of Nigella and her recipes are simple and straightforward.

aipi said...

Such a beautiful color n rice is cooked to perfection!
US Masala

Deepti said...

What a lovely color Nisha....Loved the tempting clicks...

http://www.panchamrutham.blogspot.com/

Sarah Naveen said...

yummy yummy Nisha..loved the color...wanna have some now

Plateful said...

This looks phenomenal, Nisha!! You make us fall in love with yellow girl. Pictures kandittum kandittum madiyavunilla, sathyam. All of them are gorgeous, the third and fourth ones even more so.

Padhu said...

Be it Veg or Non Veg I never miss your post .I enjoyed reading your write up .Even If I miss ,my daughter will never miss it.

Padhu said...

I read your comment on Radish greens. Actually I was surprised as many have tried it and have written it was very good .It will not be bitter .Chop it finely and cook well.Try adding freshly grated coconut.I used white radish for that recipe.Have a good day!

DD said...

Hello Nisha,
I found you through your guest post in "yummy food blog" that post was really awesome!!! your photography is really marvelous!!!! Immediately I bumped into your blog!!! really whole day is not enough for me to see the pics on ur blog!!! I really adore them!!!!
No doubt i'm following you!! plz stop by mine when you find time:)
Happy Blogging!!!!
Food Blog News Daily
Good Food Recipes

Shabs.. said...

Hey, Regarding ur sponge cake Sinking, do u set it in right temperature??And do u whisk eggs+sugar it for 10-12 minutes?..i always got very good sponges!!

JishasKitchen said...

wow...Nisha, that looks so beautiful, colorful and tempting...even its so easy to prepare too...loved it..

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Very appetizing.... Perfect bowl of rice..... Loved the pics.... YUM!

♥LOVE2COOK♥ said...

Craving for some rice now. Loved the color and your presentation dear. Wow!!!

Read your guestpost at Lubna's...simply amazing and helpful! ;)

ANU said...

beautiful clicks dear...awesome pilaf...

happy to follow you..

chk out my space too:

http://anuzhealthykitchen.blogspot.com/2011/06/event-july-healthy-fiber-and-protein.html

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

This sounds sooooo delicious! I also don't like nuts with rice so I prefer your version over Nigella's.

none said...

I love the look of your saffron rice, I have a couple of grams of saffron and have been thinking of what to do with it, now I know:D Thanks for sharing your recipe.

wiolwaker said...

Your recipe is really blissful for both veggie and non-veggie because we could bake it using various ingredients. I will bake my own version tonight.
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