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Jeeraga Samba Chicken Pilau

 Seeraga Samba Chicken Pilau

I like to use the tiny-grained seeraga samba rice for cookinng briyanis and pilaus. The rice grain got its name “seeraga” from its resemblance to cumin. This expensive rice is mostly grown in the south of India. When cooked, it will be fluffy and loose. You can buy this type of rice from any shops selling Indian grocery.

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 5

500 g seeraga samba rice or basmati rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes

5 chicken drumsticks, skinned

60 g ginger-garlic paste

120 g natural yoghurt

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoons meat curry powder or briyani powder

2 tablespoons Thirumala Ghee

5 cm cinnamon stick

1 star anise

6 cardamoms

6 cloves

3 bay leaves

2 pieces mace

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

2 medium onions, finely chopped

4 green chillies, slit lengthwise

50 g finely chopped coriander leaves

50 g finely chopped mint leaves

½ teaspoon black peppercorns

1000 ml chicken stock or water

1 ½ teaspoons salt


  1. Wash the rice and soak it for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Place drumsticks, ginger-garlic paste, yoghurt, turmeric powder, meat curry powder or briyani powder and salt in a bowl. Combine together and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat Thirumala Ghee in a heavy bottomed pot. Fry the cinnamon, star anise, cardamoms, cloves, bay leaves, mace and cumin seeds for 2 minutes until aromatic.
  4. Add in the chopped onions and chillies and sauté for 3 minutes until it becomes golden brown.
  5. Add in the marinated chicken pieces and stir fry for 5 minutes.
  6. Drain the rice and add into pot. Add the coriander leaves, mint leaves, peppercorns, water and salt and bring to a boil.
  7. Cook covered for 15 minutes until rice and chicken is cooked.
  8. Serve with pickle or chutney.

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