Chicken with Tomato Pilaf

For this chicken with tomato pilaf, chunks of boneless chicken breasts are sauteed in oil and butter until golden brown and served alongside a rice pilaf of tomato, chicken broth, butter, salt and pepper.A sprinkle of lemon or sumac finishes the dish.

Plate of sauteed chicken breast on top of tomato pilaf, sumac served alongside

Sauteed chicken kebabs are more tender and juicy than the grilled ones on skewers that are served in kebab houses. Accompany these with tomato pilaf and a quick cucumber-and-yogurt salad. The dark, wine-red spice called sumac lends a sharp lemony taste to the chicken.–Claudia Roden

Chicken with Tomato Pilaf

  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4
4.5/5 - 2 reviews
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  • For the tomato pilaf
  • 1 1/2 cups basmati or long-grain rice
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
  • For the chicken
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken pieces, breasts or thighs
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • For the garnish
  • 1 lemon, quartered; or sumac


  • Make the pilaf
  • 1. If using basmati, wash the rice by pouring cold water over it in a bowl, stir well, and leave to soak for a few minutes, then strain and rinse under cold water. If using a another long-grain rice, prepare according to package directions.
  • 2. Quarter the tomatoes, remove the hard white bits near the stem end, then liquefy the tomatoes in the food processor. Measure the resulting tomato juice and add enough water to make it up to 2 2/3 cups. Pour it into a pan, add the crumbled stock cube, the sugar, and a little salt and pepper, and bring to the boil.
  • 3. Add the rice and stir well. Simmer, covered, over low heat, for 18 to 20 minutes, until the rice is tender and the liquid absorbed. (Some brands that claim not to be parboiled or precooked now take as little as 8 to 10 minutes, so read the information on the package.) Do not stir during the cooking, but add a little extra water if it becomes too dry. Fold in the butter pieces. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Make the chicken
  • 4. While the rice is cooking, cut the chicken into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet and saute the chicken for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned, adding salt and pepper, turning the pieces over once.
  • 5. Sprinkle the chicken with parsley and serve with lemon quarters or with sumac to sprinkle over, accompanied by the rice.

Recipe Testers Reviews

If you need a quick and easy dish to make for supper, this is a pretty good one. I made this recipe twice. The first time I used store-bought tomatoes, and the second time I used tomatoes from my garden. The flavor is more intense with homegrown tomatoes, and pretty bland with the ones from the store. You also need to salt and pepper the rice and chicken generously. The little ones loved the chicken, and even some non-tomato-loving adults liked the rice. I guess it was because there were no chunks of tomato to be seen but they still got the flavor. I will make this recipe again, and I might add some peppers and onions in with the chicken for a little variety.


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  1. I made this rice as a side dish and it was soooooo good!! The use of fresh tomatoes really came through on this dish!! It was delicious!!

  2. In my ongoing endeavor to learn how to cook, I made this over the weekend. To be quite honest, it was a bit bland (although I used fresh lemon rather than sumac, so perhaps that didn’t help). Still, it was a good, hearty meal and I have enough left over for lunches for a couple of days. I am adding this to my recipe rotation and will ponder adding some flavorful spices to help liven it up a bit.

    1. It sounds as if you don’t need to endeavor to learn how to cook, Kimberley W. I think from what you said above, you already know how to cook. In my book, that means simply trying something and learning what you like and trusting how to improve upon it. Looking forward to hearing how you embellish this dish next time…

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