What I used: Serves 4/5
2 cups basmati rice
4 cups hot water
2lb/1 kg boned chicken cut into 2 inch serving
1tsp Whole Garam masala (1/2 inch cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 4 cloves, 1 bay leaf)
1tsp somph (fennel seeds)
2tsp ginger garlic paste
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup lime juice
Salt to taste
To grind: 1tsp garam masala powder, 3 sticks of fresh cilantro, 15 small green hot chilies (Use more or less, as you choose), ½ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp black pepper
To marinate: 2Tbsp yogurt, 1/2tsp turmeric and salt to taste
First, soak the raw rice in cold water. Set aside for 30 minutes. Marinate the raw chicken with the mentioned ingredients. Set aside.
Add oil into a large, hollow saucepan or skillet. Over medium-high heat, add the whole garam masala, and fennel seeds. Stir in 1 cup of onions and fry to a golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste, and chopped tomato. Cook on low till they are soft and pulpy. About 5-7 minutes.
In the meantime, grind the green chilies, ½ cup onion, black pepper seeds, turmeric, cilantro and garam masala powder. Add just a little water if needed. Stir the paste into the cooking mixture. Cook 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the marinated chicken into this pan and let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
Add in 4 cups of hot water (lesser if you like your pilaf flaky, more if you like it soft and mushy) and bring to a boil. Now drain the soaked rice and add it into the bubbling mixture slowly. Let is simmer on high for 3 minutes.
Add in the lime juice, then, cover the simmering mixture on low heat for the next 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally, very gently. All the liquid will evaporate. Test to see if the rice is cooked. If it is watery, let it stay on low heat for a few more minutes. The chicken should peel easily, and the rice should be soft and greasy. Turn off the heat.
Smear the top of the pilaf with 1tsp ghee just before it is served. Serve hot with some raw onion rings, a slice of lime and some cool yogurt salad!