A crowd-pleasing, bright, tasty dinner platter

This wonderfully fragrant chicken and saparagus on basmati is perfect for a summer al fresco gathering.

  • SERVES: 10
  • PREP TIME: 40 mins + overnight marinading
  • COOKING TIME: 1 hr
  • DIFFICULTY: not too tricky
  • IDEAL FOR: crowd-pleaser, friends/family weekend lunch/dinner
  • BUDGET: £-££

Fragrant chicken and asparagus on basmati

This dish is a recipe fromJeremy Lee (of Quo Vadis Restaurant and Club in Soho).

It’s a fantastic dish for a large crowd and looks impressive on a platter.

It’s bright, fragrant and really tasty, perfect for a Spring or summer get-together.

But I will let you know, it’s a little faffy in parts.

So, if you’re looking for a very easy, hands-off crowd-pleasing recipe.

Then find some inspiration, here.

However, if you have a little extra time and want something fresh and a little different.

I think this is the one for you.

Faffy or not faffy

Also, having said it’s a little faffy, it’s only because I didn’t marinade the chicken the day before, which I highly recommend for two reasons;

  1. It tenderises the chicken and you’ll get more epic flavours
  2. It’s a job done so less to do on the day

The next bit that took a little time (and again, it’s not a big deal) was soaking the basmati first for 30 mins.

Now, some say that soaking isn’t necessary.

However, others suggest it’s a good idea.


Apparently, it produces better results.

As it helps the rice absorb some water and helps the grains relax.

I’ll let you decide.

Fragrant chicken and asparagus on basmati

Do you have to use basmati or can you use white rice

Basmati rice is a type of white rice.

It is more aromatic than plain white rice, with a slight nutty perfume.

The grains are also longer than ordinary white rice.

In other words, it adds an additional delicate flavour to the dish.

I would say the main thing is, getting the cooking of the rice right.

How to cook Basmati Rice

The biggest mistake most people make which results in gluey rice is using the wrong rice-to-water ratio.

The correct rice-to-water ratio is 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of water.

Bring to boil without the lid on – this helps with even cooking before placing the lid on to steam.

10-minute rest is essential – The grains absorb the liquid while it’s resting.


  1. Place water and rice in a saucepan;
  2. Bring to simmer on medium-high without the lid;
  3. When the entire surface is bubbly and foamy, place the lid on, turn down to medium-low and cook for 12 minutes;
  4. Remove from stove and rest for 10 minutes;
  5. Fluff

Fragrant chicken and asparagus on basmati

Course Main Course
Keyword asparagus, chicken, chicken and basmati, crowd pleaser, INdian
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Marinade 1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 10 people
Cost £-££


  • 6 skinless, free-range chicken breasts

Chicken marinade

  • 2 lemons, finely grated zest and juice
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 9 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 2 5 cm pieces ginger, grated
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • large pinch of chilli
  • 1/2 tsp garam marsala
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil

Rice and vegetables

  • 500 g basmati rice
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 10 cm cinnamon stick
  • 200 g spinach
  • large bunch of mint
  • 100 g coconut cream
  • 250 g broad beans
  • 350 g peas
  • 1.5 g new potatoes, washed
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 24 asparagus spear, trimmed
  • bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
  • large bunch of mint, chopped
  • bunch flatleaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped

Yoghurt chutney

  • 100 g coriander
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 juice of a lemon
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 150 g plain yogurt


Marinade chicken (the night before if you can)

  • Cut each breast into around 5 equal strips, then put them in a wide, deep dish and add the lemon zest, juice and salt, stirring to coat.
    In a mixing bowl, add the yogurt, grated ginger, garlic and onion. Add the cumin, chilli flakes and garam masala, stir to combine until smooth, then pour the mixture over the chicken, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Yoghurt chutney

  • Put all the ingredients except the yoghurt in a blender and whizz until smooth. Add the yoghurt to a bowl then stir in the herb mixture. Cover and keep in the fridge until needed.

Rice and vegetables

  • Optional: Soak the basmati for 30 mins in cold water. Then drain it well and rinse under cold running water. Drain thoroughly in a sieve and leave for 15 minutes.
  • Melt the butter and 1 tbsp of the sunflower oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Pick the balls from the top of each clove, then crush them using your fingers or the flat of a knife blade. Add the ground clove and the cinnamon stick to the pan, fry for 30 seconds, then add the drained rice. Stir to coat in the fat, then pour in 1 litre cold water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and gently cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the rice to steam for a further 10-20 minutes (don’t lift the lid).
  • In a large frying pan, add some oil and the spinach and cook until it wilts, then add the mint, season and stir. Put this mixture into a food processor and whizz until it's a paste.
  • Return the pan to the heat, add the coconut cream and a splash of water and cook for a few minutes until liquid. Keep warm over a very low heat.
  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Plunge the podded frozen beans and peas into the boiling water and cook for 1 – 2 minutes, then lift out with a slotted spoon and set aside.
    Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook for 15 minutes or until tender, then drain with a slotted spoon and set aside separately to the peas and beans. (Keep the water over a low heat and covered to cook the asparagus just before serving)..
  • Once cooked, tip the rice into the coconut cream and add the spinach purée and salt. Mix lightly with a fork until the rice is coloured green. Put a lid on top with a slight opening.
  • In a pan over a medium-high heat add some oil and cook the chicken for 4 minutes, then turn and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to the warm dish and cover with foil to keep warm.
    Finally, bring the pan of water back up to a simmer and add the asparagus. Cook for just a few minutes until tender, then drain.
  • Serve on a large platter and dollop some yoghurt chutney over top.


Recipe Tin Eats