Pulao Vs Pulao (Afghani)

How do you make Afghani Pulao in your house? I’m doing a comparison of two recipes and sharing the verdict! So let’s do this: Pulao Vs Pulao!



I had one recipe (Let’s call it Recipe A) that I was using for years. My kids loved the mild taste and the soft chicken. My husband loved the dry fruit that added an extra texture and I just loved that I had a winner recipe that worked for everyone. It was also a success because I could cook and freeze the chicken and then make fresh pulao any day I wanted by making boiled rice and mixing with the thawed chicken mix. The taste was quite mild with no Red Chillies so I used this recipe whenever I had to entertain my Caucasian friends/neighbors/colleagues.

However I was beginning to tire a bit of the same old taste so tried to look for a new recipe for Afghani Pulao. I came across one in Zubaida Tariq’s book “From Zubaida Tariq’s Kitchen”. Let’s call that recipe B.

Here are the details of both recipes and then a comparison.

Recipe A: 
I always used the recipe by Aisha Nadir from the Facebook page “Foodilicious – Cooks at Work” with a few variations of my own as below (original recipe link here)

Ingredients:

Chicken 1 kg (boneless, thigh and leg pieces)

1 onion chopped

Ginger/garlic paste 1 tablespoon

Garam masala 3 tablespoon (ground)

Salt to taste

Rice 3 cups

1 carrot chopped into thin one inch pieces

Raisins 20-25

Sugar 1/2 teaspoon

Walnuts or pine nuts 1/4 cup

Oil 1/4 cup 

How to:

1. Marinate the chicken in the ginger/garlic paste for atleast half an hr

2. Heat oil to a big pot and add the chopped onions.

3. Once onions turn brown, add the chicken and cook on high heat for 5 minutes till it changes color

4. Now add 2 tablespoon Garam masala, lower heat to medium and mix for one minute.

5. Add one cup water and let the chicken cook for 20 minutes

(You can make extra portions and freeze the chicken after step 1 to make fresh pulao on another day)

6. Boil rice separately. Add salt to taste (I use rice cooker to boil rice) and stop just before they are all done.

7. Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the carrots, nuts and raisins. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sugar on top. Fry for 2-3 minutes.

8. Now layer the rice and chicken together by starting with chicken. Add some rice on top and sprinkle the left over Garam masala (1 tablespoon). Now pour left over chicken on top. Cover and cook on very low heat for 5 minutes.

9. Mix the chicken and rice together and add the fried carrots, raisins and nuts on top.

Serve with raita (spiced yogurt)

Recipe B

This recipe is from Zubaida Tariq’s book “From Zubaida Tariq’s Kitchen”


The recipe in Urdu is as below from the book:

Here is a quick english translation along with my adaptions (I have reduced quantity to match amount for Recipe A good for 4-6 people)

Ingredients:

Chicken 1 kg (boneless, thigh and leg pieces)

1 onion chopped

Ginger/garlic paste 1 tablespoon

Garam masala 3 tablespoon (ground)

Salt to taste

Rice 3 cups

Oil 1/2 cup

Tomatoes 8 chopped

Black Cardamom 4 (ground) (original recipe uses small cardamom but I like this better)

Fresh ground pepper to taste

White vinegar 1 tablespoon

How to:

1. Marinate the chicken in the ginger/garlic paste for at least half an hour

2. Heat oil to a big pot and add the chopped onions and fry till brown

3. Blend the onions, along with the tomatoes, 1 and a half tablespoon garam masala and cardamom and put it back in the pot

4. Fry the chicken pieces separately in a frying pan till they turn brown and add to the pot

5. Put the pot on low heat and add fresh ground pepper on top of the chicken

6. Add one cup hot water and let everything cook on low heat till you get a nice gravy

7. Boil the rice separately with salt and stop just before they are done

8. Now layer the rice and chicken together by starting with chicken. Add some rice on top and sprinkle the left over Garam masala (1 and half tablespoon). Now pour left over chicken on top. Cover and cook on very low heat for 5 minutes.

9. Mix the chicken and rice together

Serve with raita (spiced yogurt)

You can make extra batch of onion and tomato (step 3) and freeze for later use.

Comparison and Verdict:

  
Both recipes are mild. Garam masala gives both afghani pulaos a subtle aroma and taste. No chillies are used. Children and people who don’t like spicy food will love it. The chicken is soft for children.

Recipe A is simple and quick to make. It also looks great and authentic with the fried carrots and dried food.

Recipe B is more complicated and takes longer to make. It has a great color due to the tomatoes. It could be simplified if you freeze the browned onion and tomatoes blend (step 3) and use for future quick prep.

Since both recipes are mild, if you like more spices you can serve with pickles or spike your yogurt with some spices. I have also cooked Recipe B (Zubaida Tariq’s) by adding Red Chilli Flakes in step 5 along with black pepper. Although that in the true sense is not afghani pulao, my husband loved the spicy taste. My children on the other hand refused to eat it and I had to rip open the chicken to feed them the inside of it.

So that was my over all experience with both recipes. Let me know if you try them! Would love to hear from you!

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