A crisp cucumber and fresh herb salad makes a light yet vibrant companion to this golden dish. A squeeze of fresh lime juice and a dollop of yogurt added at the finish lends a lovely citrus tang and a touch of creaminess.
YIELD 4 servings | ACTIVE TIME 45 minutes | TOTAL TIME 45 minutes
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, halved, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 1 garlic clove, smashed
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus 8 wedges for serving (3–4 limes total)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 cup basmati rice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup plain yogurt (optional)
1 English hothouse or large standard cucumber, peeled if desired, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2″ pieces (about 2 cups)
1 cup (packed) herb leaves, such as mint, cilantro, and/or dill
1/3 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Sumac (for serving; optional)
Mix chicken, onion, turmeric, chopped garlic, lime juice, 1 Tbsp. oil, 2 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl.
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium in a heavy medium saucepan. Add rice and smashed garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted and fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Stir in cardamom, cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. salt, and remaining 1/4 tsp. cumin and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Add 1 3/4 cups water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer, covered, until water is evaporated and rice is cooked, 18–20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let sit, covered, until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high in a large skillet until very hot but not smoking. Add chicken mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in yogurt, if using, then adjust seasoning to taste. Cover to keep warm.
Gently toss cucumber, herbs, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl.
Fluff rice with a fork and divide among bowls. Spoon chicken over. Top with cucumber salad, pistachios, and sumac, if using. Generously squeeze lime wedges over.