Persian Chicken Pilaf

A Pilaf normally combines meat, rice, spiced broth and herbs. The lemon adds a freshness and the almonds a finishing crunch. I used a basmati/wild rice combination for a bit more nuttiness. Use 200g of halloumi instead of the chicken along with a vegetable stock for a vegetarian version. Serves 4, about 450 calories per serving.



  • 350g chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • 2 tbsp low fat greek yoghurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp Ras El Hanout (if you don’t have it use a combination of all spice and cinnamon)
  • 6 cardamon pods, cracked
  • 1 lemon, tested/juiced
  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 200g basmati rice
  • 330ml chicken stock
  • 100g frozen peas, refreshed in some boiling water for a minute
  • Small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
  • 25g toasted flaked almonds
  • Salt & pepper

What to do 

  1. Mix the yoghurt with half of the Res El Hanout, half of the lemon juice & zest, salt, pepper and chicken. Set aside.
  2. In a deep lidded frying pan soften the onion and garlic in the butter for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rest of the spice and cardamon along with the rice and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes. Once cooked, fluff up with a fork, stir in the peas and set aside again with the lid on for 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile lay the chicken pieces on a foil covered tray and grill, turning occasionally until cooked. Cut into bit side pieces.
  5. Stir the chicken in to the rice mixture and season.
  6. Finish off with the coriander, rest of the lemon zest and almonds.

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