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Pnina’s Chicken Pilaf

July 5, 2017

by: Pnina Fine Kirchhevel, Bridges for Peace

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I grew up eating this dish almost every erev Shabbat (Friday evening). My mom learned from her mom who learned it from her mother-in-law. This recipe has been in our family ever since they left Bucharia (now known as Uzbekistan). It is traditional to cook the pilaf in a large cast iron pot but a big pot with a thick bottom will also work.


2 kg (4.4 lb) chicken legs and thighs

2 onions (chopped)

1 c. shredded carrots

3 c. rice (that has been soaked overnight)

1 c. raisins (that have been soaked overnight)

Salt and pepper to taste

Oil for sautéing onion


  1. In a large pan, Sauté onions in oil until translucent.
  2. Add chicken and cook for ½ hour. Turn them several times.
  3. When chicken is nicely browned, put the shredded carrots on top. Do not stir after adding carrots. Add water to cover and continue cooking for ½ hour.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can add cumin if desired.
  5. After ½ hour, add the rice (basmati rice is best) with 5-6 cups of boiling water. This is the time to add the raisins. Cover and cook on medium heat.
  6. After ½ hour, remove lid and make holes in the rice to let the steam come out of the bottom of the pan.
  7. Turn heat to low and cook another ½ hour.
  8. Turn off heat and let sit with the lid on for 10 minutes.
  9. Place your serving dish against the pot (you may need to use a towel) and quickly flip the pilaf into the dish so that the chicken is on top and the rice on the bottom. This might be messy but you will lick your fingers!

Serves 6 to 8

Photo Credit: Hannah Taylor/bridgesforpeace.com

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