Chicken & Apricot Pilaf

Pilaf

After all the excitement of this weekend and the SA BLOG AWARDS, it feels like I should be doing a lot more than just sharing my recipe for Pilaf with you. But after all, that’s why you guys love reading this blog, to get the recipes!

For someone who always claimed she doesn’t like rice, I’ve become quite adventurous with it lately. Everything from Risotto to Kedgeree and now Pilaf. Soon I’ll be attempting a proper Paella but that’s still a bit daunting for now, especially since I saw it being made on Master Chef Australia!

Pilaf, also know as Pilau, supposedly has it’s origins in Afghanistan. Now, I don’t know about you, but there’s not much about Afghanistan that I find attractive. But the fact that this gem of a dish originated there, was quite a redeeming quality for the poor Afghans.

And once again, as the case is with most rice dishes, this is incredibly versatile. Anything goes as long as you keep the fragrant spices as one of the main ingredients. I didn’t make this Pilaf too hot as I wanted my twins to be able to eat it but you could definitely taste the coriander, cumin, paprika and turmeric. Of course you can add some chopped chillies but I wouldn’t make it too hot. This isn’t a Biryani after all (although the final product is very, very similar).

I also loved how easy this is. Most of the time with rice dishes it either takes a lot of stirring and waiting around (Risotto) or a truck-load of prep and assembling (Biryani). This is as easy as sauteing the chicken and onions with the spices, adding the rice, apricots and stock and allowing it to boil for a few minutes before turning off the heat and allowing it to steam until the rice is just tender and sticky. Lovely!

Serves 4

4 large chicken breasts, cubed
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1tbsn turmeric
1tbsn ground coriander
2tsp ground cumin
2tsp paprika
1tbsn garam masala
2 cups basmati/jasmine rice
100g dried apricots, finely chopped
4 cups chicken stock
flaked almonds and fresh parsley to serve

  • In a large saucepan, fry the chicken and onions until the chicken starts to brown. Add the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the spices and stir to combine.
  • Add the rice and apricots and stir to coat the rice in the spices.
  • Add the chicken stock and turn down the heat. Allow to simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until there is only a little bit of stock left in the pot and the rice is almost cooked.
  • Turn the heat off and place a lid on the pot. Allow to steam for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked.
  • Serve with a scattering of almonds and fresh parsley.
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Alida Ryder
Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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  • http://www.yourprocontent.com Jovana

    I must admit. I’m not a fan of sweet and savoury dishes. I just can’t get myself to experiment with dishes like this. Plus my family would probably hate me =p We all believe sweet and savoury should be separated. I’d like to try it eventually… maybe when I’m living overseas by myself again.

    Amusingly enough I watched that same episode of Masterchef Australia =) It’s hard to miss though. All the cooking channels repeat, repeat, repeat…

    What would you say is the key to making a ‘fantastic’ dish? I made a rice dish the other day and while it was tasty… I found it a bit bland. I find sometimes with my dishes I either hit gold or just below medium… hmm.. whats the consistent key for making the perfect dish. I feel like I’m missing something from the cooking fairies. =/

    Just wondering and bouncing ideas… you’re the first blogger/chef that I’ve interacted with that actually replies to her visitors comments :D

    • http://www.simply-delicious-food.com Ally_R

      You know what? When I was younger I also hated savoury and sweet together. I never understood how people could eat that but I’ve started liking it more since using Sweet chilli sauce on everything about 3 years ago. I still don’t like fruit with most dishes but I chop these apricots so fine that they melt away while cooking. :)

  • Craig

    Nice and easy…

    Just something I thought I could comment on – Chicken cooks quickly and tends to go dry very quickly, using de-boned breasts will not help if you are cooking it for so long. If you are not fussy about bones, use them as they will be more tender and take longer to cook through. Elgin thighs are a good option, and they come without skin. If you prefer the breasts then brown them quickly ( don’t cook through) and then cook the rice in stock and spices and add the chicken in right at the end ( 3min) before rice is ready.

    I’m a bit fussy about dry chicken but if you are not then don’t stress. Good recipe and tasty too….

    • http://www.simply-delicious-food.com Ally_R

      Thanx for your comments Craig. I actually always forget to add that I usually coat my chicken in a bit of cornflour before browning. The Chinese always do that to ensure the Chicken stays nice and soft. I wouldn’t really leave the bones in for this, as it’s sort of a “all-in-one” meal where you don’t even need a knife so it might make it a bit hard to eat if there are bones in.

  • http://www.thecreativepot.net Marisa

    Your pilaf looks absolutely stunning Ally! Big fan of savoury & sweet combos.

    • http://www.simply-delicious-food.com Ally_R

      Thanx M! :)

  • http://whiterice.org Codi Youngers

    My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was totally right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

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