How to prepare traditional Pilau

Hawa's Inn

The best thing about rice is that you can never run out of variations of how to cook it, and pilau is one of the ways.

 Rice pilau is a simple dish of rice flavoured with meat and spices. It is a festive dish, which is never missing during special occasions or events. With the right combination of spices, plain rice can be turned into the main attraction like this Rice Pilau.

Make sure to wash the ingredients like, potatoes, meat, coriander and chili pepper. Wash  the rice and repeat until the water runs clear.


Use cup = 240ml

  • 1 table spoon of pilau masala powder
  • 2 cups of rice
  • 5  potatoes mediam size – peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 red onions medium – thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 500gm cubed beef
  • 150gm tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander roughly chopped
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 chili pepper finely chopped
  • salt to taste

Make the rice pilau

  1. Heat cooking pot on a medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until hot.
  2. Add the sliced onions and fry for 10-15 minutes or until the onions start to caramelizes and become brown.You should stir the onions with a wooden spoon continuously to prevent burning.
  3. Add the garlic, ginger, chili pepper, Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  4. Add the cubed beef, pilau masala, beef stock cubes, bay leaves, coriander, and salt to taste. Cook until the meat browns and caramelizes stirring occasionally about 8 to 10 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Stir in the potatoes and the water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in the rice, and cover the pot by placing the lid over it. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
  8. Once the rice is dry, remove the lid and fluff with a fork to ensure the seasonings are well distributed all around the rice.
  9. Serve hot you can sprinkle rice pilau with some copped coriander.


  • Beef:I used beef in this recipe, but chicken or any other type of meat can also be used. Basically, the beef in the pilau can be substituted with other meats or replaced with vegetables like mushrooms to make it suitable for vegetarians.
  • Rice: I used basmati rice which takes about 20 minutes to cook however, your cooking time may vary depending on the type of rice you use. I recommend golden basmati to get the best rice pilau. Its appeal apart from its distinct flavour, is its ability to hold its texture during cooking; which makes it less likely to become sticky. It is also fluffy and works well in most rice dishes. If you don’t have golden basmati; then other types of basmati or long grain non-stick rice are recommended for this simple pilau recipe with meat.
  • Spices: Whole spices for pilau are roasted and ground, but I have used already ground spices.
  • Heat: It’s also best to cook on low heat.


  • Calories 588
  • Fat 17g
  • Carbs 82g
  • Fiber 3g
  • Sugar 9g
  • Protein 18g

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