Chicken pulao with cranberries

Pulao is traditionally a north Indian dish but my recipe uses curry leaves which are primarily southern Indian so it’s a bit of a hybrid. Purists may balk but I think they’ll change their minds when they taste it.

The recipe is loosely based on Rick Stein’s sour berry pulao from his excellent India book.

Serves 3/4

For the marinade
600g boneless chicken thighs
2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
6cm fresh ginger, finely grated
4 cloves garlic, finely grated
Juice of 1 lime

For the pulao
4 tbsp vegetable oil
20g butter or ghee
20 black peppercorns
5cm cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods, bruised
12 curry leaves
2 medium onions, sliced
200g basmati rice
25g dried cranberries
375ml cold water
2 tbsp whole milk

Combine the chicken with the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and store in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large pan with a tight fitting lid and melt the butter over a medium heat. Fry the peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom and curry leaves for a few minutes to release their fragrances. Add in the sliced onions and fry until lightly golden.

Add the chicken to the pan along with any remaining marinade. Turn up the heat to high and fry for 10 minutes.

Stir in the rice and 2/3 of the cranberries. Make sure the rice is coated with the mixture and then cook for a further minute. Pour in the water, bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, on a low heat for 12 minutes.

Check the rice. It should be almost perfect. Stir in the milk and the remaining cranberries, take the pan off the heat, cover and let it steam for a final five minutes.

Serve with torn coriander and a light cucumber salad.