Chicken Khao – Rice

This recipe is made as a main meal in memon homes in Kenya and two of my UK cousins make it all the time, its a mix of pilao and biryani with a strong flavour of elaichi, cumin, green chillies and coriander.  For a good result, you have to be generous with oil and onions, during preparation the quantity seems like a lot but trust me, it will all come together very well in the end.  One thing to note is that the rice in this are not supposed to be separate and fluffy, on the contrary they have to kind of stick together.


  • 2 cups oil
  • 4 cloves, 4 small sticks cinnamon, 2 tbs peppercorns – whole masalas
  • 1.5 lb onions finely chopped
  • 2 tbs ginger
  • 2 tbs garlic
  • 1 tbs fresh green chillies crushed
  • 2 cups of fresh chopped coriander
  • 2 tbs whole cumin
  • 10 small green cardamoms
  • 8oz fresh tomatoes
  • 2lb chicken cut into approx 8 pieces
  • 2.5 tsp salt (or to taste
  • 1lb potatoes cut into 2in pieces
  • 2.5 mugs Basmati rice – soaked in cold water for 2 hours and drained
  • 4 mugs water


  1. Place the oil in a large pan, add the whole masalas, when they begin to sizzle, add half a cup of water and cover with a lid for 5 mins to create steam.
  2. Add the onions to the oil and cook together until slightly brown, add the ginger, garlic and cook together for another 3 minutes. Cool the mixture. SWITCH ON OVEN TO MEDIUM HEAT.
  3. Place the cooled mixture in a blender or mixer, add the green chillies, fresh coriander, cumin and cardamoms, grind together until ingredients form a paste. Now add the tomatoes and blender together.
  4. Return this mixture to the pan, simmer on low for 10 mins or until liquids dry up. Add the chicken pieces, cook until chicken is half cooked, turn up heat on high and dry all liquids, stir from time to time.
  5. Add potatoes, mix once and add the measured water, bring to the boil, then add rice, mix once and keep on simmer. When little holes begin to form ontop of the rice, cover with a tight lid or with aluminium foil and place in the oven on low heat for 20 mins to finish off cooking dhum.
  6. Serve with plain full fat yoghurt or cucumber raita and carrot pickle.


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About Me

I am Sabiha Khokhar, born in Kenya now living in London – a busy working mother, wife, published author and passionate cook. Despite having many interests in life, my greatest joy is FOOD!

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