just as there isn't one theory of the origin of this dish, there is not one method of cooking it either. some recipes will add raw rice to the cooked chicken, adding water and cooking in one pot, some advise you partially cook the rice then bake it all in the oven, and some will cook the rice with some spices and layer in with the cooked meat - which is what i did. i can't say that i've tried the other methods and judge what's best but i like cooking the rice separately as i find this the best way to get my rice:water ratio spot on, without having to factor in bits of meat and other things!
this recipe uses chicken, but lamb or vegetables are common too. given it's quite a dry dish, this is often the centre piece of a meal that is accompanied by a daal and a cooling yoghurt / raita. i love the fragrance of this dish, with the cardamom, cloves, ginger, saffron amongst other things! cook for friends, family ... and enjoy!