Chicken pilaf, a simple mid week dinner dish. Marinate the chicken in yogurt and warm spicing, combine with rice, nuts and fresh herbs.
Chicken and nut pilaf is a dish all my family enjoy and one I serve regularly through the week. This simple dish of spiced chicken breast with rice and nuts is a great mid week dinner. With a little organisation it can be prepared a little ahead of time and cooked when ready to serve.
This dish requires a little time to prepare, although not too long to cook. The important thing is to marinade the chicken and set it aside for at least 2 hours, but longer if you have time. I like to get the chicken into the marinade either the night before or in the morning and then leave it in the fridge to marinate. That way it’s ready to cook quickly later when the rice is on and you’re in a rush to get dinner on the table.
Some alternative serving suggestions:
I have used a combination of cashew, pistachio and pine nuts in this dish as that’s what my family like to eat. However, you could also add flaked almonds or some dried fruits such as sultanas or apricots. This is a dish that’s easily adaptable to your families taste.
Do I have to use all the spices?
The spice list looks extensive but these are the spices I like to cook with and always have to hand. Again make this dish your own and add the spices that you like to cook with. If there’s a spice in there that you don’t like then leave it out. That’s what’s great about this type of dish, you can flavour and add to with ingredients that you already have to hand in the cupboard.
How can I adapt this recipe to suit Vegetarian and Vegan diners?
This recipe is very easily adapted for Vegetarian and Vegan diners. In place of the chicken, marinate a cauliflower instead. Break up the cauliflower into florets and place in the marinade. Before adding to the rice, roast the cauliflower on a non-stick tray in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower to the rice dish along with any cooking juices.
Furthermore substitute the chicken stock used here for vegetable stock. Remember if serving Vegan diners, opt for a suitable Vegan yogurt instead of Greek yogurt. Also ensure you omit the butter when preparing the rice.
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Other recipes to try:
If you like this recipe then try our Stir-fry Chicken & Cashew Nuts, our Butter Chicken Curry, or our Chorizo & Bean Stew with Roast Chicken. Or for something a little different our Guinea Fowl Supreme with Chicken Jus.
Looking for inspiration for feeding the family mid week, then take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Family Dinners. Full of useful hints, tips and recipes.
Chicken & Nut Pilaf
- 500 g chicken breasts - cut into small cubes
- 300 g greek yoghurt
- 1 zest & juice of lemon - finely grated
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 large pinch saffron strands
- 1 ltr good quality chicken stock
- 80 g cashew nuts - unsalted
- 80 g shelled pistachios - unsalted
- 25 g pine nuts
- 20 g butter
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 large onion - diced
- 3 cloves garlic - crushed
- 3 cardamon pods - bruised
- 350 g basmati rice
- 1 large bunch fresh parsley - chopped
- salt & pepper
- Place all the ingredients for the marinated chicken into a large bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. Ensure the chicken is completely coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for 2 hours.
- Place the saffron strands in a jug, pour over the hot chicken stock and set aside.
- Place a small non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the nuts to the pan. Roast the nuts, moving them frequently in the pan, taking care not to burn the nuts. Set aside once lightly toasted.
- Add the butter and 1 tbsp of the sunflower oil to a large, deep-sided frying pan. Over a medium heat add the onion and saute for 5 minutes taking care to cook the onions but not colour them. Add the garlic, cardamon pods and rice to the pan and cook for a further minute.
- Pour the saffron infused chicken stock over the rice mixture, bring to a simmer then turn the heat down to low and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 12-15 minutes until the rice has cooked and the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the cardamon pods.
- Meanwhile add the remaining 1 tbsp sunflower oil into a non-stick frying pan (use the pan used to roast the nuts) and heat on medium. Add the chicken pieces to the pan, along with any marinade and brown the chicken on all sides, taking care to ensure that the chicken is cooked through.
- Add the cooked chicken to the rice, along with the nuts and the freshly chopped parsley. Stir to combine, season to taste and serve immediately.
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