Kheema Pulao is a flavor-packed gluten-free meal with fragrant long grain basmati rice cooked with ground chicken and aromatic-warm whole spices like black pepper, cumin seeds, and cinnamon. A perfect one pot meal for a weeknight supper paired with a cooling raita or yogurt that is ready in just 40 minutes. Feel free to substitute ground chicken, beef, or turkey to suit your family’s taste buds.
Note: Original post published in Aug 2018 has been updated with new photos and a video.
What is Kheema?
Kheema / Keema / Queema is an Urdu word for minced meat such as chicken, lamb, beef, etc. As ground meat cooks fairly quickly, different meats can be easily substituted in this Kheema Pulao or in other recipes that call for Kheema.
Difference between Biryani and Pulao
Here are 2 basic differences between Biryani and Pulao (Pilaf)
- Biryani is made with marinated chicken that is layered with basmati rice. While Pulao does not require any marination and is cooked by mixing rice and veggies/meat together.
- Biryani uses whole as well as ground spices and is a lot more spicer than pulao. Pulao is a lighter variation using only a few whole spices.
Ingredients for Kheema Pulao
- White Rice - Iong-grain Basmati rice works best
- Whole Spices - cumin seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon & bay leaves
- Ground Spices - Kashmiri red chili powder & turmeric
- Fresh ginger & garlic paste
- Yellow onion
- Ripe tomato
- Mint & Cilantro
How to make Kheema Pulao
- Heat ghee or oil in the Instant Pot and sauté the spices and onions. Add chicken and mix well (photos 1 - 4).
- Addmint, turmeric, red chili powder, salt, and tomatoes. Add rice, and water and mix well making sure that all the rice is under the liquids (photos 5 - 8).
- Close the Instant Pot lid and pressure cook for 5 minutes followed by 5 minutes natural pressure release. Garnish with cilantro and more freshly ground pepper. Note: if the rice looks uncooked on the top, just mix it with the rice under and close the Instant Pot for 5 minutes.
- Gently fluff the rice with a silicone spatula
Storing Kheema Pulao
Any leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days or frozen for longer shelf life. To reheat simply microve until heated through. Kheema Pulao is a great make ahead dish.
More Rice Recipes
Did you enjoy this one-pot meal? Check out all the Biryani Recipes and some more weeknight favorites:
- 2 tablespoons ghee
- 1 teaspoon shah jeera or cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 inch cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 tomato diced
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- handful of mint leaves chopped
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cups long grain basmati rice rinsed and drained
- 1½ cups water
- 1 lime
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper freshly ground
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and heat ghee. Add cumin seeds, black peppercorn, cinnamon and bay leaves. Saute for 30 seconds.
- Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions start to brown. Cover with a non-locking glass lid to speed up the process.
- Add ginger, garlic and chicken. Sauté, breaking the chicken and browning it for a minute. Add tomatoes, red chili powder, turmeric, mint leaves and salt. Mix well.
- Add rice and water. Gently mix making sure all the rice is under the liquids. Close the Instant Pot lid with pressure valve to sealing. Pressure cook (Hi) for 5 minutes with a 5 minute natural pressure release.
- Open the Instant Pot and gently fluff the top rice (Note, if the rice looks uncooked on the top, just mix it with the rice under and close the Instant Pot for 5 minutes)
- Add lime juice, cilantro and black pepper. Turn the Instant Pot off and take the insert out so the rice does not overcook or get mushy. Enjoy hot.
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