Yakhni Pulao

Fresh Fragrant Yakhni Pulao Recipe Fragrant spiced Yakhni Pulao, a tantalizing Indian one-pot meal!

Yakhni Pulao Recipe

Often when a friend wants to show you that you are important to them, they give you a signal. In the states that might include a card, a small personal gift, or helping you in some way. In different countries the signs of true friendship often takes a different form.

It’s been 19 years since my last trip to India, but certain friends are still very close to my heart. Friends, that despite differences in culture, language, beliefs and age, were generous with their time and thoughts.

Fragrant Yakhni Pulao Recipe

I’m always amazed at how simple it is to find common connections when you are looking for them. These individuals extended a hand of friendship in many ways, but most effectively by offering sustenance.

Yakhni Pulao is an Indian dish friends serve to let you know you are an honored guest. Depending on the region of India you’re in, this recipe is called Biryani or Pulao. Both are “rice and meat” dishes, but Biryani is rice layered in a large pot with meat, potatoes, yogurt, milk and spices. Pulao is more of a pilaf-style dish, so the meat and rice are stirred in before cooking. Yakhni Pulao tends to include meat stock, dried fruit and nuts, while biryani is silky and dense due to the inclusion of yogurt and potatoes.

Making Fragrant Yakhni Pulao Recipe

Years ago, one friend explained that these dishes were always reserved for special occasions or special guests. No different than a Thanksgiving turkey or standing rib roast. They are meals you wouldn’t whip up on just any given night!

However after preparing both rice dishes, I can tell you this tradition is not due to great difficulty in the kitchen. Most likely, it has to do with cost.

Fresh Yakhni Pulao Recipe

Yakhni Pulao is a relatively quick dish and boasts vibrant flavors and textures. The aroma itself, is worth more than a bucket of saffron. I love Yakhni Pulao best with lamb, but find it more accessible (and affordable) made with chicken… Your call!

Aromatic Yakhni Pulao Recipe

The language of friendship is not words but meanings. ~Henry David Thoreau

Yakhni Pulao Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Yakhni Puloa

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Fragrant spiced Yakhni Pulao, a tantalizing Indian one-pot meal!
Servings: 4
Nutrition Facts
Yakhni Puloa
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 572 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 31%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 90mg 30%
Sodium 465mg 19%
Potassium 922mg 26%
Total Carbohydrates 60g 20%
Dietary Fiber 5g 20%
Sugars 11g
Protein 38g 76%
Vitamin A 9%
Vitamin C 8.8%
Calcium 10.2%
Iron 13.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • 1 1/4 pounds chicken breast or lamb, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pods green cardamom
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 pinch saffron (small)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 1/4 cup stock, chicken or beef
  • 1/3 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricot
  • 1/2 cup almonds or cashews
  • Salt
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. In a large stockpot heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaf, anise and saffron. Stir for 2-3 minutes, to allow the spices to release their flavor. Then add the onions.
  2. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the chicken to the pot. Salt liberally and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Next add the rice and stir to coat it in oil. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling pour the sultanas on top, cover, and reduce the heat to low.
  4. Cover and steam the rice for 15 minutes. Then remove from heat. Stir in the chopped apricots and nuts, then cover again.
  5. Allow the Yakhni Pulao to sit another 5 minutes, covered. Serve with cilantro sprinkled on top!

Share This Recipe With Friends!

Other Great Recipes

You May Also Like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

44 comments on “Yakhni Pulao

  1. Kimposted March 19, 2017 at 12:01 pm Reply

    Do we not take out all the peppercorns and cardamom pods?

    • Sommerposted March 20, 2017 at 5:27 pm Reply

      Hi Kim,

      In India they are left in dishes like this. If you prefer to spoon them out at the end, go for it! :)

  2. Beatriceposted March 19, 2017 at 11:55 am Reply

    Just a quick question. The dish looks and sounds wonderful! However at some point are these spices removed?  4 green cardamom pods
    10 whole peppercorns
    1 cinnamon stick
    1 bay leaf
    1 star anise  

    Many thanks. 

    • Sommerposted March 20, 2017 at 5:30 pm Reply

      Hi Beatrice,

      In India you wouldn’t take them out… Just eat around them. However, if you want to take them out, do so as you are fluffing the rice.

  3. evaposted October 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm Reply

    this looks amazing! do you think it could work with brown rice?

    • Sommerposted October 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm Reply

      Eva, I bet it would!

  4. The Steaming Potposted February 10, 2012 at 9:00 am Reply

    Loved this post!

    You know in Mumbai, they serve what is called “cutting chai” – chai served by the half glass. This chai is so strongly flavored that people have no more than half a shot glass in one go.

  5. Boulder Locavoreposted December 27, 2010 at 3:13 pm Reply

    These recipes look so good! I love chai but have not ever tried to make it myself. I've discovered a local brand which is very peppery and I love that so I've not tried to take the time. Now I will! Thanks for your beautiful blog!

  6. Nirmalaposted September 7, 2010 at 7:28 pm Reply

    Yes, I can attest to the specialness of briyani. It's really only served on special occasions for special people. It's a wonderful dish. It says a lot that it was served to you!

  7. Tasty Eats At Homeposted September 7, 2010 at 4:38 pm Reply

    OMG I love these two recipes. I love a good, creamy chai, and this puloa looks so good, I wish I had it for lunch today. Will have to make soon!

  8. Meganposted September 7, 2010 at 3:40 am Reply

    Tried out the Village Chai tea & liked it so much I had to write a review!! Thanks for the recipe! I made a version of it with Assam and 2% milk. Tasted great. :)

  9. A Little Yumminessposted September 6, 2010 at 6:34 pm Reply

    This looks good. Love the chai recipe. :)

  10. sangeetaposted September 6, 2010 at 4:11 am Reply

    Loved every bit of this post. The chai with added star anise and the yakhni pulao…….

    Chai is really the life blood in India.

  11. baking.serendipityposted September 6, 2010 at 2:07 am Reply

    I love chai but am guessing I've always had the watered-down American version. Definitely giving your recipe a try (with the VIP nuts)! Thanks :)

  12. Lynne @ CookandBeMerryposted September 6, 2010 at 1:34 am Reply

    I really want to make the chai..I am imagining the smell from your list of ingredients. Very heady. I love the dried apricots and almonds in the rice along with the chicken. Yum.

  13. 5 Star Foodieposted September 5, 2010 at 12:23 pm Reply

    The aroma of the chai must be incredible! And the Puloa look super delicious!

    btw, I wanted to let you know that your rss feed didn't seem to update for this post (at least for me).

  14. citronetvanilleposted September 4, 2010 at 5:58 pm Reply

    I can smell all the spices from the computer! gorgeous recipes! Love that rice filled with dried fruits, and chai tea…what to say? simply lovely…

  15. Emily Zposted September 3, 2010 at 11:11 pm Reply

    Your pictures are so gorgeous. The food is so pretty! I think I need to get a better camera than the one I have, I feel like my food pictures don't always compare to some others I see!

  16. Chef Dennisposted September 3, 2010 at 4:33 pm Reply

    Congratulations to all the winners in your great give away! Thank you so much for a wonderful post, its always nice to learn about another culture…..the chai recipe sounds delicious, and I love both rice dishes, I particularly like the almonds in it!
    Hope you have a great labor day weekend!

  17. Eileenposted September 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm Reply

    I have never had Indian food (on my to do list) but that chicken and rice looks delicious.

  18. Barbaraposted September 3, 2010 at 9:30 am Reply

    I loved this post, Sommer! About old friends, about India and about food. I have never been to India and have never had chai or pulao. I'd love to try both.

  19. [email protected]posted September 3, 2010 at 4:26 am Reply

    Divine! Can I say it louder??

  20. Maryposted September 3, 2010 at 2:40 am Reply

    The chai and rice sound delightful but I found the background story most interesting. I love the food and recipes you feature. They are just slightly outside my comfort level and force me to learn and stay on my toes. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  21. Monetposted September 2, 2010 at 6:47 pm Reply

    Some wonderful creations here! I love Indian food…and I hope one day I can visit that beautiful country. Thank you for sharing.

  22. Joudie's Mood Foodposted September 2, 2010 at 10:27 pm Reply

    How funny that this is the chai of India. I just had some tonight. My mother always makes this for me when i have a stomach ache. We are middle eastern and she used to drink this also when she was young. We also call this 'shai'. Its great to see where things have come from and gone to! Great post and very tasty!

  23. Magic of Spiceposted September 2, 2010 at 9:42 pm Reply

    That is such a wonderful rice dish…love these flavors. And the chai is beautiful :) And I am so excited to be one of your winners :) I can't wait to play with those goodies, thank you so much…

  24. Stellaposted September 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm Reply

    Hey Sommer! Your chai looks so fragrant and wonderful. And, frankly, so does your pulao. I haven't made a nice pulao for a while, but now I want to (smile)…
    Oh, and congrats to all of the winners-that's really nice & fun!
    p.s. I double dare, ya;)!

  25. Julianaposted September 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm Reply

    Yummie, the rice dish looks awesome…so tasty, so colorful.

  26. lauraposted September 2, 2010 at 7:59 pm Reply

    What wonderful memories, Sommer! ( : I'm so excited about these authentic recipes!

  27. Meganposted September 2, 2010 at 7:39 pm Reply

    Indian Chai sounds really good! I usually don't like the American version as much…but this sounds delightful! AND YAY! YAY! YAY! So glad I got to be a winner in your contest! I am super excited about the hot sauce. I will def. be using that one soon! :)

  28. Katerinaposted September 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm Reply

    They are all so exotic. Very nice pictures.

  29. Rosa's Yummy Yumsposted September 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm Reply

    That chai looks divine and so does the pulao! I am a big Basmati rice fan.



  30. Kristenposted September 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm Reply

    I am completely in love with that rice dish. It looks like all of the the things I love rolled onto one plate.

  31. Tanviposted September 2, 2010 at 4:56 pm Reply

    You know what… its kinda funny when the menu board says "chai tea" in the american coffeeshops.Coz both these are the same thing! "Chai " is hindi for tea. :):)
    Your village chai is what is popularly know as masala chai in India.And you ahve done it prefectly!
    And the Pulao is simple gorgeous.Its really good to see the use of authentic ingredients like cardamom & saffron in the pulao.

  32. Pacheco Pattyposted September 2, 2010 at 4:07 pm Reply

    Hi Sommer, Wow, can't believe I won, hooray! Maybe I should head for Vegas, could be my lucky day! Thanks and congratulations on your first give away, I would like to do one too. Your post and photos are wonderful, inspirational and as always delicious looking:-) I filled out the email form but wasn't sure how to send it so I don't know if you received it???

  33. Susiposted September 2, 2010 at 3:47 pm Reply

    Beautiful post and great pictures! Thanks for sharing :o)

  34. Jenniferposted September 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm Reply

    This looks beautiful and I can just imagine the fragrant smells coming from the kitchen. Actually makes me miss the cooking of my downstairs neighbor in Atlanta.

    I can't believe I won something. Yay!!!! Thank you so much!

  35. Belinda @zomppaposted September 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm Reply

    Hmmmmm…great chai recipe. I love pulao – never attempted to make it on my own, but maybe one day…..

  36. Angie's Recipesposted September 2, 2010 at 11:15 am Reply

    I love stir-fried rice!
    Congratulations to all the winners!

  37. Sanjeeta kkposted September 2, 2010 at 11:13 am Reply

    Lovely and tempting rice recipe.

  38. denise @ quickies on the dinner tableposted September 2, 2010 at 9:45 am Reply

    Oh wow Sommer, can I come for dinner?? Ok – so I don't live in India and I'm not Indian but I have been privileged to have close Indian friends and to have grown up with Indian neighbours. So *ahem* I feel qualified (enough) to say that you cook up a mean, and beautiful Indian meal. And that Chai! No way can any coffeeshop chain chai hold a candle to THAT!! It's remarkably close to the way I was thought to make chai by a dear Punjabi friend :)

  39. Indie.Teaposted September 2, 2010 at 9:07 am Reply

    Being of Indian background (but born and raised in California), I too find coffeehouse 'chai' laughable. Its just not thick enough. And not sweet or spicy enough.
    Your pulao looks gorgeous too!

  40. Priscilla - She's Cookin'posted September 2, 2010 at 5:03 am Reply

    I love Indian food, but it's a cuisine that I haven't attempted much in my kitchen except for curries. Can I come over? OMG I'm so excited that I won something! And it's my birthday today!

  41. Annaposted September 2, 2010 at 4:19 am Reply

    Yummy, that rice dish looks stunning, just the way I like, very colorful and aromatic. Will save this recipe for sure. Thanks for sharing.