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Recipe Collection

Chicken Pulao

Liam Desbois — 2021

When you want the flavours of a biryani but a slightly speedier recipe, this pulao is a game changer! Sweetness from the cranberries and crunch from the almonds, you could easily serve this alongside a couple of curries, some raita and naan. Don’t forget the ice-cold beers!

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes

Photography: Liam Desbois
Food Styling: Sonali Shah
Prop Styling: Megan Thomson

Season: Year-Round


2 Indian bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
2 large brown onions, peeled and finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
2-3 green chillies

500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs chopped into large bite-sized pieces
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
50g dried cranberries
300g rice
50g flaked almonds


  1. Blitz together the garlic, ginger and green chillies until you have a paste. Add the cranberries to a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water.

  2. Heat a wide-based non-stick saucepan over a medium heat with 2 tbsp vegetable oil. Once hot, add in the sliced onions with the whole spices and 1 tsp salt and cook for about 15 mins or until softened and caramelised. Then add in the ginger, garlic and chilli paste and fry off for 2 mins or until fragrant.

  3. Add in the chopped chicken with the spices and cook for another 6-8 min or until nicely browned all over. Drain the cranberries then add them in with the rice and 600ml water. Season generously with salt.

  4. Bring to the boil and once boiling reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 10-12 min or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice and chicken are cooked.

  5. Serve the pulao garnished with the flaked almonds.

— about the author

Sonali Shah is a North London based food stylist, recipe developer and home economist, for both TV & film. In the last few years she has worked a variety of roles including cooking for Hollywood actors on film sets, as a private chef, as well as a development chef. She now focuses on food styling and recipe development, creating dishes both flavourful and beautiful.


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