Shahjehani Pilao

Shahjehan was an Indian Moghul Emperor and the rich and intense cuisine is accurately depicted in this lovely rice and boneless chicken dish, served with plenty of freshly chopped coriander and a yoghurt mint sauce.  Err! women and harems were his first love and food was the second.

Shahjehani Pilao

Print Recipe
Cuisine: Kenyan Asian Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 25 minutes


    Stage 1

  • To make stock
  • 4oz onion
  • 2 tbs whole or crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 tbs whole cumin
  • 1 tbs whole dry coriander
  • 1 tbs black peppercorns
  • 1in cassia/cinnamon
  • 2lb bonelss chicken cut into 2in pieces (wash and keep in a colander)
  • 4 mugs water
  • Stage 2

  • 1 cup oil
  • 8oz grated onion
  • 3 tsp fresh crushed ginger
  • 3 tsp fresh crushed garlic
  • 1 tbs red chillie powder (reduce for mild)
  • 2 tsp salt (reduce to taste)
  • 8oz fresh crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbs garam masala
  • Stage 3

  • 2½ mugs rice
  • 6 tbs Olive oil
  • 1oz finely sliced onion
  • 3 tsp whole cumin
  • 3½ mugs stock from above
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Stage 4

  • 2 cups VERY finely slice fresh green coriander.
  • 1 cup plain low fat yoghurt
  • salt and pepper to taste


Stage 1


Add all of the ingredients except the chicken in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, keep on a rolling boil for 7 – 10 mins.


Add the chicken pieces, return to the boil, boil for a further 5mins and switch off. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken pieces into a dish.


Strain the stock into a bowl and discard the other ingredients.

Stage 2


Place the oil in saucepan, add grated onions and fry until light brown, add ginger, garlic, salt and red chillies, mix well and add the tomatoes.


Keep stirring and cook until liquids evaporate and oil separates (bhun), add the garam masala and mix in.


Add the boneless chicken and half a cup of water, stir once, cook covered on low heat for 10 mins (dhum) and switch off.

Stage 3


Wash the rice in 2 or 3 changes of water and soak in warm water for 1 hour, or cold water for 2 hours, drain the rice and discard this liquid.


Put the oil in a medium sized saucepan, heat, add the sliced onion and fry until dark brown (the caramalised onion will determine the colour of the Pilao rice), add the cumin fry for 30 seconds and add the measured water.


Add the drained rice and the salt, boil on medium heat until ‘holes’ appear in the rice (or water is nearly dry), cover tightly with a lid or aluminium foil and cook in the oven on low heat or on lowest heat setting on stove top for 10mins.

Stage 4


Add the salt and pepper to the yoghurt (or crushed green chillies for added spice) and beat well with a fork to mix.


Wash the coriander and keep aside for serving.


Use a fish slice to remove half the rice onto the middle of a large platter, place half the chicken mixture to almost cover all the rice. Sprinkle the sliced coriander to fully circle the rice and chicken, drizzle the yoghurt mixture all around the coriander and serve immediately whilst hot.shahjehani from youtube


Repeat for re-fill as required.

Meal: Rice