Chili Chicken and Mishti Pulao

My Ma came up with this winner of a combination. The sweetness of the Pulao very nicely offsets the heat from the green chilis that are used in abundance in this recipe. Of course you can reduce the number of chilis.. but it is no fun unless the heat tickles your nose and makes your eyes water a bit. When Ma first started making Chili Chicken years ago, she used to serve it with Fried Rice and Egg Drop Chicken Soup. 

Ingredients for Chili Chicken:
  • Chicken 500 gms, cut into small pieces, -preferably boneless 
  • Oil – 1tbs
  • Onions – about a cup and a half – thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp each of grated ginger and garlic
  • Green Chili – 5 or 6 chopped into thin round pieces
  • Capsicum – 1 big, thinly sliced
  • Cornflour – 1 tbs plus extra if you want thicker gravy.
  • Soy sauce – 2 tbs
  • Vinegar – 1.5 tbs
  • Salt to taste

Boil the chicken pieces in enough water to cover the pieces. Do not add salt. Once the pieces lose their pinkish tint, drain and transfer the pieces to a bowl. Reserve the liquid. Marinate the chicken pieces with the soy sauce, vinegar and cornflour, and keep it in the fridge overnight or at least for 6 hours. Add oil to the pan, and once it is hot add the sliced onions, grated ginger and garlic and fry well. To the fried onions add the capsicum, the chopped green chilies and the marinated chicken pieces. The trick here is to fry this on a medium-high heat while scraping and stirring continuously till the chicken pieces turn a darker brown. Add the reserved chicken stock to it and cook till the chicken pieces absorbs the liquid and it is now ready to be served.

Ingredients for Mishti Pulao:

  • 2 Cups of Basmati Rice
  • 3.5 Cups of Water (Warm)
  • Cinnamon Sticks – 2
  • Cloves – 4
  • Green Cardamom – 4, split open
  • Bay Leaf – 1 
  • Handful of Cashews
  • 1/4 Cup Raisins
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar – 1/2 tsp
  • Ghee or Oil – 2 tbs

Wash and dry the rice overnight. Heat a pan, add ghee to it. Fry the cashews and raisins and keep aside. Then to the remaining ghee, while it is still hot, add the bay leaf, cinnamon sticks, cloves, green cardamoms. Once the spices starts getting fragrant, add the rice to it. The key is to fry the rice very well. Make sure to keep stirring rice very gently so that the grains do not break. Add the fried cashews, raisins and the water and cover and cook till the rice gets done. The time will vary. If you are not too sure, you can always make the rice separately and then incorporate the fried cashews-raisins-spices mix to it.
Popularly, Mishti Pulao is yellow in color. If you want the quintessential Bengali Mishti Pulao (Mishti means sweet in Bengali), all you need to do is add a fat pinch of turmeric powder to the washed rice and mix well so that the rice grains are nicely coated in it. Then air dry it as you would. When my Ma serves Mishti Pulao with Chili Chicken, she makes the white version and I do the same :).

2 Replies to “Chili Chicken and Mishti Pulao”

  1. Curious.. Why boil the chicken before marination? Is this the way chilli chicken is always made? Or is this a personal variation?
    How does this affect the end result? Would it diminish the tastefulness of the dish if I made it without boiling the chicken?

    TIA! 🙂

  2. Hi Mehnaz! Thank you for reading the post 🙂
    This is how my Ma makes it and I do too. I had once skipped the boiling part and was not too happy with the result. It does not involve a lot of cooking time after the marination,pre-boiling ensures that the chicken is not undercooked.
    Also, you can fresh chicken stock from boiling the chicken pieces which enhances the flavor.
    I hope this helps!

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