It is a rich combination of rice, chicken/beef/mutton broth and aromatic spices. Palao has pieces of chicken or meat in it. The rice tastes almost like Arabian Mandi. In Pakistan, the most famous palaos are from Rawalpindi and Multan. In other countries its also known as Pilaf or Pilav.



  • 1 kg chicken or mutton, cut into medium-sized pieces
  • 4 cups basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup oil or ghee
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 4-5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6-8 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 cups water
  • Fresh coriander leaves and fried onions for garnish


  1. In a large pot or pressure cooker, heat the oil or ghee and fry the sliced onions until they are golden brown. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, add the garlic, ginger, bay leaves, green cardamom pods, black cardamom pod, cinnamon stick, cloves, and cumin seeds. Fry for a few seconds until fragrant.
  3. Add the chicken or mutton to the pot and cook until it’s browned on all sides.
  4. Add the coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, and salt. Mix well and cook for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant.
  5. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and cook over medium heat until the meat is fully cooked and tender.
  6. Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the pot and set aside.
  7. Add the soaked rice to the pot and stir gently. Cover the pot and cook over low heat until the rice is fully cooked and all the water has been absorbed.
  8. Once the rice is cooked, add the cooked meat back to the pot and mix gently. Cover the pot and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  9. Garnish with fried onions and fresh coriander leaves. Serve hot with raita or salad.

Enjoy your delicious and flavorful Chicken Palao!

Where to Eat or Drink

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