Instant Pot Indian Chicken Pulao
Instant Pot Indian Chicken Pulao is a lighter cousin of chicken biryani, a great gateway dish for someone new to Indian food. Similar to a rice pilaf only with chicken and aromatic spices.
Instant Pot Chicken Pulao
Chicken Pulao is also much lighter than chicken biryani, and it’s absolutely delicious! If you’re a fan of chicken and rice, you will love this less popular one-pot Indian dish. And bonus, thanks to the pressure cooker it takes about 30 minutes start to finish! You can see more Instant Pot recipes here.
Guys, I love Indian food! I eat it every chance I can. So when I got my hands on the Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook (affil link) I was all in! This cookbook has so many great Indian recipes for the Instant Pot, including chicken biryani. But I wanted to try something different, something with ingredients that were easy to find and was so happy to make this.
I did slightly adapt it for my taste, I used less liquid, less ghee and less chile peppers but I’ll be honest, I’ve made this quite a few times because it’s really quite delicious. Although they recommend this for 4 servings, I made it for 5 because the portions were really large.
The great thing about chicken pulao is that it’s easy to adapt – you can make it as spicy or mild as you wish, and use whatever spices you prefer. The cilantro and squeeze of lemon at the end is a must, it really brightens the whole dish. And pictured above on the side is a simple beet raita which is a mix of cooked beets and yogurt.
More Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
- Chicken Dal Curry
- Red Lentil Soup with Spinach
- Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
Instant Pot Indian Chicken and Rice Pulao
- 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces and patted dry
- 1 tablespoon ghee , or butter or even oil to make dairy free
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 green cardamom pods, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2- inch cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 hot green chiles, sliced (optional)
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Measure the rice into a wire-mesh strainer, then rinse under running water for 10 seconds, swishing it around. Repeat once more, then drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of the salt.
- Add the chicken and turn to coat. Set aside, or cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
- Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the ghee.
- Add the cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves and sauté until the spices are aromatic, about 30 seconds.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it softens and browns, about 5 minutes.
- Cover the pot with a glass lid (or other non-locking lid) that fits to speed up the process.
- Add the chicken and its marinade, the chiles, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt to the pot and stir until the chicken is coated with the spices.
- Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot.
- Add the rice and water and stir well with a wooden spoon, nudging loose any browned bits from the pot bottom. Scrape down the sides of the pot to make sure that most of the rice is submerged in the water.
- Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 6 minutes on high pressure.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam.
- Press the cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Open the pot, sprinkle in the cilantro, and gently fluff the rice with a fork.
- Use a rice paddle to scoop the rice out of the pot into individual plates, then serve with the lemon wedges on the side.
Photo credit: Jess Larson