Chicken keema pulao or pilaf

Chicken keema pulao or pilaf is that one pot meal you absolutely must make at least once in your life. A beautiful smorgasbord of flavors all seamlessly coming together in a gorgeous plate of food that is warming and filling at the same time. Invite family and friends over, put the pot on and just dig in!! 

chicken keema pulao
Today is a Sunday. Its usually the day I slack all day long. I wake up a little later than I usually do, which might mean at 7:30 instead of the usual 6:30 but boy does that extra snooze time feel good!! After a late and leisurely breakfast we usually chill out. I catch up on some chores, clean up the house and usually cook something simple for lunch.  Chicken keema pulao or pilaf is the very definition of that. Simple, fuss free Sunday lunch. Or perfect for weeknight dinner. Or even great as a “I am not in the mood to cook” leftover food.

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So this Chicken keema pulao or pilaf is really simple to prepare and just way too good to enjoy. Its a full blown love affair that I have been having with pilafs for the longest time. Chicken keema pulao or pilaf is delicious and lip smacking. Served hot off the pot with some cooling baghara (tempered) pomegranate raita, this is one bowl of deliciousness. Chicken keema pulao or pilaf is easy and quick to make.

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I am writing this post while watching the cricket match between India and South Africa. So this is going to be a short one.  Sorry, saving the story for some other time. For now, lets talk about chicken keema pulao or pilaf.

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So this Chicken keema pulao or pilaf is basically a ramped up version of the basic Indian pulao or pilaf. The keema here is chicken. So its extremely quick to make. And the masala is easy to make and basically of staple pantry ingredients. Loads of onions, beautifully tender and spicy chicken keema, a simple masala, fragrant and long grained Basmati redolent of saffron and cardamom, and a boiled egg to top it all. To make matters even better, I serve this with my signature baghaara raita with pomegranate arils. Trust me when I saw this, this Chicken keema pulao or pilaf might just make you quit biriyani. Its that easy, no painful and long marination time needed for this and just amazing when had the next day. It even makes a great lunchbox dish.

keema pulao

If you were to ask me, I would say this Chicken keema pulao or pilaf is the wonder woman of all pilafs in the world! Go on, make this and swoon!!

You can of course switch the chicken with lamb or mutton, although remember that the cooking time is different for other meat. For an even healthier option, switch chicken with ground turkey also.



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PS: If you are looking for more pilaf inspirations, take a look at these! All are our house favorites and absolutely delicious.

Chicken keema pulao or pilaf

A delicious and easy one pot pilaf made with minced chicken. It makes for a great dish to serve friends and family and the leftovers taste great too!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4


  • 1 cup Basmati rice , long grained, best quality
  • 2 chicken breasts or thigh meat cleaned and minced
  • 4 medium onions sliced thin
  • 10 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 inch ginger minced
  • 2 green chiliies chopped
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi
  • 2 whole eggs , boiled and peeled
  • 1 tbsp Shahi Biriyani Masala , i use readymade masala from Everest.
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
  • salt as per taste

Whole spices

  • 4-5 whole green cardamoms
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 8 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 whole star anise


  • 2 1/2 cups water to boil the rice
  • 1 tbsp ghee ,use organic ghee
  • 1 pinch saffron


  1. Start by par boiling the rice in salted water till its about 80% done. 

    Mince the chicken well. 

    Heat oil in a large dutch oven and fry the chicken mince till done. Add salt, turmeric and garam masala and stir fry for 6-7 mins till the chicken is done. Remove and set aside. 

    In a separate pan, add oil and slowly cook about 2 thinly sliced onions till brown. 

    While that's happening, get started on the keema. At the same time I also boil the eggs on another burner. 

    For the pulao: 

    Start by heating the oil in the large Dutch oven. Add the whole spices and let it fry till fragrant. Add the cumin seeds and wait till it splutters. Add the ginger-garlic-chillie mince and saute for 1 min on medium low flame till done. Dont brown it!! 

    Next add the remaining two onions, thinly sliced and saute for 3-4 mins till the onions are soft and translucent. Next add the masala powders (red chili, biriyani masala, turmeric (a pinch) and saute. Once fragrant, add the yogurt and kasuri methi and cook for another min. Then add the cooked chicken mince to the masala and cook covered on low heat for 5-6 mins. 

    Next add the rice to the masala, drizzle the ghee, saffron soaked in 2 tbsp of warm milk, the slow cooked onion and lots of chopped fresh coriander and some mint too. 

    Cover and cook for another 10-15 mins on low heat. Turn off the flame and let it rest for 15 minutes. 

    Open, mix it all and serve topped with more fried onion, herbs and boiled egg. 

    Serve with a simple cold raita of choice. 

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