Holiday-substitute chicken pilaf

Finances feeling a bit tight? Recession starting to bite? If you’re living in Ireland or the States, I imagine you might be able to relate.

Not the Australians, I’m pretty sure the Australians don’t even know how to spell the word recession.

Chicken with coriander and spinach rice

There might be no recession in Australia, but finances are a still a wee bit tight here in Chez Yumbolicious. A large tax bill, coupled with saving for two possible trips home next year, car insurance, wedding presents, vet bills and other BORING stuff mean we’re not going on any exotic holidays this year. Oh well.

So if you’re not going to make it on that dream-trip to South America this year, fear not mes amigos, make this and bring South America to you instead.

Cumin-spiced yoghurt

It a recipe adapted from one of my very favourite books: falling cloudberries by Tessa Kiros; and I am deadly serious, it genuinely tastes like something you’d eat on your holidays in Peru or someplace fierce exotic like that. Coriander, chilli and cumin-spiced yoghurt blend together for a fiesta in your mouth. Sounds pretty good, right?!

Perfect with a cerveza in the back garden.

¡Buen viaje!

Chicken with coriander and spinach rice

Chicken with coriander and spinach rice with cumin-spiced yoghurt


Serves 4

For the pilaf:
2/3 cup of olive oil
1 whole chicken, cut into eight pieces
a small bunch of fresh coriander (or cilantro)
2 cups of firmly packed fresh spinach leaves
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 carrots, diced
2 red chillies (or as many are to your taste), sliced but not seeded
½  red pepper (or capsicum), seeded and diced
1/3 cup of fresh or frozen peas
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 ¼ cups of short grain rice

For the spiced yoghurt:
1 cup of plain Greek yoghurt
1 tsp of ground cumin
2 tsps olive oil

First off you’ll need to brown that chicken: heat half the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the chicken until it’s brown and crispy on all sides and it almost cooked through. Set the chicken aside on a plate and discard the oil.

Once the chicken is browned, you can make the ‘sauce’ by blending together the coriander and spinach leaves in a food processer with ½ cup of water.

Next, heat the remaining oil in the pan and add the garlic, once you begin to smell it, add in the carrots, pepper, chilli and peas. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are beginning to soften, then add the cayenne pepper and mix well. Add in the coriander and spinach purée and cook for 2 minutes before adding in the chicken. Season well with salt and pepper and add in 3 cups of water, once this water comes to the boil, cover and cook on a medium heat for about 15 minutes until the chicken has absorbed all of the lovely flavours and is cooked through.

Once the chicken has cooked, remove it again as it’s time to cook the rice. Add the rice to the pan with two additional cups of hot water and cook uncovered for 5-10 minutes; then decrease the heat to the absolute minimum, cover the pot and cook for a further 15 minutes or until the rice has cooked through.

To make the spiced yoghurt simply mix together the yoghurt, cumin and olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the chicken on the rice pilaf and slather over the yoghurt to serve. Garnish with some extra coriander if you’re feeling fancypants.

So good, and much cheaper than a holiday!


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7 thoughts on “Holiday-substitute chicken pilaf

  1. Oh my goodness that chicken AND the rice both look SO GOOD!! (And I just ate lunch too, but I could still put a big dent in that dish.) I love anything with cilantro and/or yogurt sauce.

  2. Pingback: Chicken Pilaf | familyrecipebooks

  3. Love the flavours, I was just wondering what to cook tomorrow night with our long weekend in NZ, think this will be on the menu, thanks

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