Basmati Pilaf with Tikka Griddled Chicken

Basmati Pilaf with Tikka Griddled Chicken


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About this recipe: Fluffy grains of basmati rice cooked with garlic and spices and some cherry tomatoes taste great in a dish with quick marinated griddled chicken breast. Just serve with a green salad or some cooling raita. Delicious!

Jan Cutler

Serves: 4 

  • 4 small skinless chicken breast fillets, about 125g each
  • 1 fat garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tikka spice mix or mild curry powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 250g basmati rice, rinsed
  • 600ml hot vegetable or chicken stock, made with stock cubes
  • 50g raisins
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 25g toasted pine nuts
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Prep:10min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:30min 

  1. Cut each chicken breast fillet into 3-4 strips and mix with half the garlic and half the tikka spice mix or curry powder. Leave to marinate while you cook the pilaf, turning the chicken strips in the marinade after about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick pan, add the sliced onion and the remaining garlic, and cook gently for 3 minutes. Stir in the basmati rice, then sprinkle in the remaining spice powder. Mix well. Preheat the grill or a ridged griddle.
  3. Pour the hot stock into the rice with 1/2 tsp salt and the raisins. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes without lifting the lid. The liquid should have been absorbed and small steam holes should have appeared. If necessary, cover and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the coriander and tomatoes, stir through to reheat briefly then remove the pan from the heat and leave for 5 minutes. Add the pine nuts and fork through the rice gently.
  4. While the rice is cooking, grill or griddle the chicken strips for 6-8 minutes or until just firm, turning once. Spoon the pilaf into a serving dish and put the chicken on top. Serve with lemon wedges.


For chicken breasts, use salmon fillets (left whole) or lamb cutlets – they will griddle in 6-8 minutes. Make a ginger marinade for salmon or lamb by blending 1 tsp fresh root ginger, grated (or 1 tsp ginger purée) into the tikka spice mix.

To serve

If you like, make a quick raita while the rice and chicken are cooking. Finely chop 1/2 cucumber and mix with 140g plain yoghurt, 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint and 1/4 tsp ground cumin.

…another idea

All-in-one beef pilaf Omit the chicken. Cook 300g lean minced beef with the onion, all the garlic and 1 tsp grated fresh root ginger until crumbly. Add the rice, as step 2, with 2 pinches of saffron threads, all the spice mix or curry powder and 1 sliced and seeded green chilli. Increase the hot stock to 750ml, add the raisins and cook as step 3, then fork through the pine nuts and serve.

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