Chania pilaf with scales and chicken


A classic dish and a trademark of Crete where it is served at weddings, celebrations, baptisms, etc. When you go to a wedding there are two questions. If the bride was beautiful and if the pilaf was successful! A housewife is judged by this dish, which is why in Crete you find the most delicious pilaf.

The housewife puts all her art, the simplicity of the ingredients in the way they will be cooked, Crete the most delicious pure ingredients, it will simmer, and we have nothing but to taste, a unique dish!


  • 1 large chicken cut into portions
  • 1 kg weight (It is the animal older than one year that has given birth and weighs more than 20 kg)
  • 500 g Carolina rice (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup white dry wine
  • Lemon juice
  • Lemon zest
  • Salt Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter or cow butter


  1. Wash the meats well and salt them with coarse salt
  2. Put water in a large pot and as soon as it boils, add the meat. Once it boils, lower it and let it simmer for about 2 hours. Skim very well so that it does not have a heavy taste and does not leave bitterness.
  3. Check the scales if it has boiled with a fork. When it is ready, pour a glass of white wine and let it boil one more time. The chicken will be completely dissolved in and will give us a denser broth.
  4. Once the meat is done, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon, add salt and fresh grated pepper and cover until the pilaf is ready. Strain the broth to keep it clean without other bodies inside (bones, meat, etc.)
  5. The ratio we will use is 1 part rice, 3 parts broth.
  6. Put the broth on the fire and as soon as it boils, add the rice to which we are careful to add it, sprinkling (little by little) and not all together and at the same time stir constantly with slow movements.
  7. Lower the heat and continue to stir gently for about 20 minutes. The rice is ready when it sticks to the tooth. One minute before taking it out, add lemon juice and the zest. Remove it from the heat.
  8. Heat (do not burn) the steak in a kettle and pour over our rice. Stir and put a clean towel in the pot on top and close with the lid for 4-5 minutes.

Served hot

Throughout Crete we will find it with variations.

Some housewives put chopped onion or tomato in the broth for taste. Still others add lemon thyme at the end.

We have encountered them boiling thick spaghetti with the broth and accompanying it with grated mizithra. Still others accompany the pilaf with yogurt.

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