Chicken Yakhni Pulao -Light and Slow-Cooked Kashmiri Pulao Recipe

“Yakhni is basically the broth resulting from cooking meat with various spices.”

Chicken Yakhni Pulao

Kashmiri cuisine is known for its various meat preparations, cooked meticulously using a range of spices and flavoring agents. Yakhni is a light curry or broth made using yogurt and saffron among other ingredients. Yakhni, the silky smooth curry with falling-off-the-bone meat is an absolute treat for non-vegetarians especially when cooked with rice in a Pulao style recipe, set yourself ready to take an honest ride to food heaven.

But, I’m being very honest while writing about this recipe. Last Sunday, my dad was terribly sick and was recovering from corona virus, since it was a weekend and my turn to cook something for the family, I decided to cook Yakhni Pulao, a very light and delicious simple rice recipe albeit I was a bit skeptic about this dish being liked by my family, since Indian families are very fond of Indian masalas and gravy, Yakhni Pulao on the other hand is totally different and has this very special and unique recipe, but Oh My God, my family surprised me especially my mom, they just totally adored this delicious royal rice recipe cooked with minimal ingredients in a very unique style that I am about to share with you’all. Also I got some exclusive information about this particular cuisine for better understanding and explanation from a different source on the internet that I’m sharing with you all.

Chicken Yakhni Pulao

Introduction : Yakhni Pulao is a famous slow-cooked Kashmiri cuisine introduced by the Mughuls. Succulent pieces of chicken are infused with fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves and a host of other spices and balanced out in a thick yogurt based gravy to give it a smooth silky texture and later covered and cooked with parboiled basmati rice in the broth along with the chicken pieces to prepare a delectable meal for weekend’s lunch that you are sure to never forget in your lifetime. You need to labour a little before being able to relish the slow-cooked dish but that’s the power this dish holds even with its subtle flavoring. In other regions of India, this recipe is also referred to as Yakhni Biryani and served commonly with a side of raita. This Kashmiri Yakhni Pulao is sure to impress you’all with its subtle but aromatic flavors.

While originally Yakhni meant a light curry made with lamb meat, over the years it has gone on to include chicken and even vegetarian versions like Paneer Yakhni. So, how is yakhni made? The meat is first cooked/boiled along with a handful of spices to acquire an aromatic broth, then the pieces are removed and curd is added and left to simmer. The meat pieces are again added back to the broth and it is slow-cooked for some more time to finally acquire the smooth texture with delicate meat. The spices that are commonly added are fennel seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, among others.

It is said that the Yakhni came to be known in Kashmir during Akbar’s rule. Yoghurt-based meat curries were part of Persian cuisine , and the Emperor introduced this style of cooking to his new state when he annexed it in 1586. Akhbar in fact influenced various regional cuisines in northern India, which have now evolved to become exclusives cuisines by their own right. Yakhni dishes are also seen in Greek and Turkish cuisines, but what sets the Kashmiri Yakhni apart is the absence of tomatoes. Certain recipes also avoid onions and garlic since the Kashmiri pundits didn’t use those ingredients in their cooking. At a time when almost all Indian curry recipes includes turmeric, onions and tomatoes as base ingredients, Yakhni was a class apart sans their addition.

Source and Information :

Time To Cook : 25-30 minutes

Taste : Mild

Course : Main

*Main Ingredients*

Pulao Ingredients :

Basmati Rice1 large bowl
Bone-In Boiled Chicken1 kg
Onions Slices2 large
Cinnamon1 inch
Green Cardamom4
Black Cardamom1
Shahi Cumin1/2 tsp
Black Peppercorn8-9
Bay Leaf1
Ginger Shreds/Paste1 tbsp
Garlic Shreds/Paste1 tbsp
Nutmeg Powder1/2 tsp
Curd1 teacup
Green Chilies4-5
Yakhni BrothPreviously Prepared Full
SaltAs Per Taste
Sugar1 tsp
Ghee4-5 tbsp
Fried Onions (Optional)For Garnish

For Yakhni Broth Ingredients :

Bone-In Chicken1 kg
Onions Chopped Medium1 large
Ginger Chopped1 whole
Garlic Cloves8-9
Fennel Seeds1 tsp
Coriander Seeds1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds1 tsp
Bay Leaf1
Cinnamon1 inch
Black Cardamom1
Green Cardamom5
Star Anise1-2
Black Peppercorns9-10
Salt1 tbsp

How To Make Yakhni Broth/Preparation :

  • Step 1 : In a large pot, add chicken, ginger, garlic, onion, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves, cloves, black peppercorns, cinnamon, green cardamom, black cardamom, star anise, salt and water. Cover and cook for 30-35 minutes on high heat with lid on. Bring it to a boil.

Pro Tip: To save time, instead of using a pot, pour everything in the pressure cooker and cook on a high flame till one whistle. Remove the pressure cooker lid as soon as it’s done, or else the chicken will be over cooked and extremely soft. If the chicken in this step becomes over-soft, it will be difficult to cook with the other ingredients in the later stage and will not give you the exact results.

  • Step 2 : Transfer the chicken pieces to a separate bowl and strain out the Yakhni broth into another large bowl to use it for later. Discard the remaining ingredients.

Note/Pro Tip : We have pre-boiled our plain basmati rice in a pressure cooker to 50% before adding the rice in the pulao ingredients later. This makes the rice cook faster and avoids being saggy when added and cooked in the Yakhni broth.

How To Cook Yakhni Pulao :

  • Step 1 : In a large pot, heat 2-3 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp butter, add shahi cumin seeds, green cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns, bay leaf, mace, ginger paste and garlic paste. Stir the ingredients till they are fried/cooked over medium-high flame for 5-7 minutes.
  • Step 2 : Add in the sliced onions, saute until brown for another 7-8 minutes over a high flame.
  • Step 3 : Add in the pre-boiled chicken pieces from earlier, sprinkle 1/4 nutmeg powder, sugar, and plain whisked curd. Mix well and cook for 5-6 minutes over a high flame.
  • Step 4 : Pour in the reserved yakhni broth, green chilies, add salt as per taste, cook for 5 minutes over a high flame and add 50% partially cooked basmati rice. Pour 4-5 tbsp ghee evenly over the top. (Do not mix anything) Cover with a lid.
  • Step 5 : Over a high flame, cook until water is reduced and soaked by the rice for 6-8 minutes. Check in between to avoid sticking . Check for salt, add if required and mix well.
  • Step 6 : Turn off the flame and mix the Yakhni Pulao carefully from the bottom.
  • Step 7 : Serve hot with raita and ring onions.
Chicken Yakhni Pulao

So, add some fire to your weekend cooking by trying this ‘Yakhni Pulao’ recipes. You do need to put in a little effort, but trust us, once the dish is done, it will do more than make up for your efforts. Happy cooking!

Chicken Yakhni Pulao

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. For more information click here:
    I’m not that much of an internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BonGappétit says:

      Thankyou so much!


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