Golden Saffron and Cardamom Spiced Chicken & Rice Pilau

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins

Richly fragrant golden saffron rice pilaf (pilau) that's delicately scented with rose water & studded with pistachios, almonds, and sultanas, combined with moist, tender chunks of chicken infused with lemon, yogurt and musky spices: this is a FABULOUS one-dish meal! Inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe, from one of her cookbooks. Wonderful served warm, or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Marinate the chicken in the yogurt, lemon, cinnamon, small pinch of garam masala, and grated ginger for about 1 hour. Soak the saffron threads in the chicken stock.
  2. Shake the excess marinade off the chicken. In a large Dutch oven or Le Creuset over medium-high heat, fry the meat with a spoonful or so of oil (do this in batches so that the chicken becomes nicely golden in color). Remove chicken and browned bits to a plate, cover with aluminum foil to keep warm and set aside.
  3. In the same pan, melt the butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil and add the rice, stirring to coat until glossy. Pour in the saffron and chicken stock, add the sultanas, cardamom pods, rose water, lemon juice and zest and bring the pan to the boil, then clamp on the lid and turn the heat down to very low. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, by which time the rice should have absorbed the liquid and be cooked through.
  4. Add the chicken and the browned bits to the rice, stirring gently to combine.
  5. Toast the almonds by shaking them in a dry frying pan over a medium heat until they color and begin to give off their fragrance, then add to the pilaf along with the chopped parsley. Pile everything onto a plate and add a fabulously green sprinkling of slivered or roughly chopped pistachios.


Most Helpful

This was a very tasty, and very different Indian dish. There are so many different flavors here, but they all combine perfectly. I loved the marinade on the chicken especially. The list of ingredients is long, but does not take long to prepare (although my brown rice took far longer to cook).

rpgaymer February 10, 2014

What a lovely recipe BecR. It has the best flavors and textures. Yummm, so good, tasty and filling. Really easy to make with terrific results, well worth the extra effort. Made exactly as written and wouldn't change a thing. Kudos on a recipe that I will make again, I have put this into my best of Cookbook for 2013.

Baby Kato January 03, 2013

WOW, so good! this is a wonderful blending of of flavors. Nothing stole the show by it's self but all of the seasonings worked together to make both the chicken and the rice a true pleasure. Not a lot of work either, something that I always love. I wish I could give this recipe more than 5 stars. Made for Na/Me forum's visit to Morocco Dec 2012

Annacia December 14, 2012

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