Masoor Pulao is a rich, aromatic one pot meal, where tender Chicken pieces cooked with Black Masoor dal and later layered with fragrant Basmati Rice and slow cooked further using the Dum Pukht method. The recipe is a family heirloom and an experience of a lifetime.
My Mashi (maternal aunt) learned this dish from her Muslim MIL after her marriage. It was a family favourite, we’ve grown up eating this. Mashi cooked this umpteen times for us and later teach me how to cook it. This was published in Better Homes Gardens Of India’s Festive special issue last month (October 2017). Below is a step-by-step recipe on how to cook this Mughlai delicacy. I hope you would love to give this a try, and if you do, please let me know your experience. 🙂
- Black Masoor Dal- 125g
- Chicken- 1 kg (medium sized pieces with bone)
- Curd- 200g
- Onion- 4 Medium sized (chopped)
- Potatoes- 3 Medium sized
- Green chillies- 5 (slitted)
- Garlic paste- 1 ½ tbsp
- Ginger paste- 1 ½ tbsp
- Kashmiri mirch powder- 1 tsp
- Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
- Black pepper powder- ½ tsp
- Garam masala powder
- Nutmeg powder- ¼ tsp
- Coriander powder- 2 ½ tbsp
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Vegetable oil- 120 ml
- Milk- 80 ml
- Ghee/Clarified butter (melted)
- Rose water- ½ tsp
- Keora water- ½ tsp
- Dry red chillies- 2
- Green cardamom- 4 (lightly crushed)
- Cinnamon stick- 1″ three pieces
- Cloves- 4
- Bay leaf- 3
- Basmati Rice- 500g
- Green cardamom- 3 (lightly crushed)
- Star anise- 1
- Cinnamon stick- 1″ two pieces
- Cloves- 3
- Salt- 1 tbsp
Cut each potato horizontally into halves, boil them and keep aside.
Wash Black Masoor Dal 2-3 times, after that soak the dal with 2 cups of water for 2-3 hours. Drain, in a deep frying pan/kadai add dal and ½ tsp of salt. Now add water into this, the water level should be ½” up than the level of the dal. Cook dal on medium heat for 15 minutes or until the lentils are just cooked but completely retain their shape. The water will be all absorbed by the dal, and there will be no water in the kadai except cooked dal. Keep aside.
Marinate the chicken with ginger-garlic paste and black pepper powder. Keep aside for 1 hour.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan/kadai. Fry the boiled potatoes with ½ tsp of salt and a pinch of turmeric powder until golden. Remove and keep aside.
Now in the same oil, temper with the ingredients mentioned ‘for tempering’. Add onion, sauté on medium heat until light brown in colour. Add marinated chicken, green chillies, coriander powder, kashmiri mirch powder and turmeric powder. Mix, cover and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, keep stirring in between. Next to add ½ cup of water and salt. Mix well, cover and cook until the chicken cooked thoroughly. Add ½ tsp of garam masala powder and nutmeg powder, mix well. Next to add yogurt, lemon juice and boiled masoor dal. Mix well and cook uncovered on low heat for 5-6 minutes. Check salt and remove from heat.
Keep the rice ready while the chicken is cooking. Add washed rice, salt, whole spices along with plenty of water in a deep bottomed pan. Cook uncovered, until done. Drain and keep aside uncovered. Rice should not be overcooked.
To make the pulao grease a deep bottomed pan with ghee. Add a layer of rice at the bottom of the pan by using 60% of rice. Next add the potatoes, place them in a circle on top of the rice by giving some gap between each piece of potato. Now add a layer of Chicken pieces along with the gravy. Add gravy carefully, in small quantity at a time. You can keep rest of the gravy (if left) to serve it along with the pulao later. Now add rest of the rice on top of the chicken layer. Spread the rice evenly, sprinkle milk, keora water and rose water on top. Add 4 tbsp of ghee around the edges of the pan, and add 3 tbsp of ghee on the top. Sprinkle garam masala powder on top of the rice.
Seal the top of the pan with aluminium foil. Heat an iron tawa on medium heat for 10 minutes, lower the heat. Now place the pulao pan on top of the tawa and keep it on dum for 25 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Serve hot Masoor Pulao with raita, green chutney and a few slices of onion rings.