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Kenyan Chicken Pilau

An East African rice pilaf dish with chicken and spices.
Kenyan Chicken Pilau

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Servings: 4
Total Time: 1 hour
Recipe by: Frankie


4 TBSP olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
3 lbs bone-in chicken drumsticks, skin removed
1 cup uncooked basmati rice, rinsed thoroughly
2 cups chicken stock
salt & pepper


1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

2. Add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, and garlic to the pan and stir to combine.

3. Generously season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken in the onions and spices, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

4. Add the rice and 1/2 tsp of salt to the pan, stir to combine. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and scrape the bottom and sides of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to release any stuck on bits. Bring to a boil.

5. Cover the dutch oven tightly with a lid and reduce heat to low. Cook, DON"T REMOVE THE LID, on low for 20 minutes.

6. Take off the heat, DON'T REMOVE THE LID YET, and let rest 15 minutes.

7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Kenyan Chicken Pilau

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This is a great recipe, and the closest I've found to what I've eaten in Uganda.

For the rice to stock ratio, I recommend using the proportions you normally do when cooking rice. The first time I made this, I did 2 parts stock to 1 part rice and cooked for 20 minutes as suggested, and I found the rice overcooked. However, this time, I made it with 1.5 parts stock to 1 part rice and cooked it for 15 minutes (as that's how I normally cook a pot of rice), and it was perfect.

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