Curry chicken Pilaf In 30 Minutes Or Less

Mar 2, 2020 | Chicken and Poultry, Quick Meals, Recipes

Hello everyone and happy Monday! Today we are going to take a look at something I am super excited about; Curry Chicken Pilaf. What’s more, we are going to make it in 30 minutes from start to finish.

Before we get into this, let’s talk for a second about what exactly a pilaf is. Rice pilaf is a dish where the rice is generally sautéed in oil prior to being cooked in stock or sometimes water. Countries all around the world have versions of pilafs using localized ingredients. I think, despite its global popularity, pilaf is a technique that is underused in North America. So, I wanted to shed some light on it. With that, let’s take a look at how to make…


7:45 pm – Getting Started

First things first, get a large pan on the stove over medium-high heat.

While the pan is heating up measure out 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp grated ginger, 2 tbsp madras curry powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, and 1 tsp kosher salt into a larger mixing bowl and mix well. Add 1 pound of diced chicken thighs (you can use chicken breast) to the spice mixture and stir to coat.

7:22 pm – Chicken in the pan

Add 2 tbsp of olive oil into the pan. Add the chicken to the pan as well, spreading it out in an even layer. Leave the chicken alone to cook for about 2 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, dice 1 onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic. In total, you want about 1 cup of onion and 1 tbsp of garlic. If you have a little more or a little less of each it isn’t going to hurt anything.

7:24 pm – Flip the chicken

Flip the chicken and add the onions and garlic into the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes.

7:26 pm – Add in the rice

Add the rice into the pan and stir to coat the rice with the oil and spices. After a minute or two add in 2 cups of chicken stock and 1/2 cup of peas. Turn the heat up to high and bring the stock to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes.

7:30 pm – Raisins

One thing that really enhances the flavour of curry is a little pop of sweetness. For this sweetness, I added 1/4 cup of raisins. I seasoned the curry with a pinch of salt and pepper put the lid on the pan and turned the heat down to low. I set a 15-minute timer then tidied up for about 5 minutes.

7:35 pm – Cilantro

While the curry chicken pilaf was cooking I picked about 1/4 cup of whole cilantro leaves. I washed them, dried them, and set them aside. I still had about 10 minutes left until dinner was ready so I just chilled out and waited.

7:45 – Curry Chicken Pilaf

At 7:45 my timer went off and the curry chicken pilaf was ready. I finished it with the cilantro leaves and served it up.


First of all, I was a little concerned that I wasn’t going to have quite enough time to make this dish. My concern was misplaced. The timing worked out perfectly! The rice was cooked, the chicken stock was all absorbed, and the curry was incredible! It was flavourful, a little spicy, and actually pretty light.

Before I close this out I should say that I cheated a little. I bought bone-in chicken thighs but took the bones out to make the chicken stock for the curry. You can just use store-bought stock if you want. So, I had my chicken pre-diced. However, I think you can buy diced chicken thighs. If not you will need to dice some chicken, either thighs or breast. However, that really shouldn’t add more than a minute or two to the total cooking time.

I know that curry can be a daunting thing to make. I hope that I’ve described this in a way that you feel confident in making it. It really is worth the effort. Not only that, the actual active cooking time is only 15 minutes. The other 15 minutes is passive. You don’t have to do anything but wait. And yes, I do believe you could do this in a slow cooker.

If you have any questions about this recipe please feel free to ask me in the comments or on social media.

Have a great Monday and a great week everyone.

Curry Chicken Pilaf in 30 Minutes or Less

An incredably delicious Curry Chicken Pilaf that can be made in 30 minutes flat.
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: 30 minute meals, 30 Minutes or less, Chicken curry
Author: Chef Ben Kelly


  • 1 lb diced chicken thighs
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp madras curry powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt or 1/2 tsp Table Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • ½ cup peas
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  • Combine 2 tbsp olive oil with the spices and mix.
  • Toss the chicken with the spices.
  • Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the remaining olive oil and brown the chicken on all sides.
  • Add in the onion and garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the rice into the pot and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the Chicken stock and peas, bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for about 2 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, add in the peas, put a lid on the pot, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat garnish with cilantro and serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. Heather

    This looks great and tasty! Any suggestions if you wanted to use brown rice?

  2. Chef Ben Kelly

    Thank you Heather!
    If you wanted to use brown rice I would suggest using the ratio of rice to liquid that the package instructions suggest. As for time, I would pretty much follow the time on the package instructions as well. Other than that, I would keep the recipe the same.
    I hope this helped.
    Thank you again for your question, Heather.

  3. Heather

    Thanks – looking forward to trying this.

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