Easy One Pot Pilau Rice

Pilau Rice

Whenever we have guests or when I want to make something quick for the weekend, pilau is the easy choice. I have never really used a recipe, since I learned from my Mum and Aunts (Coastal folks) so we mainly eyeball the spices to suit each family’s individual tastes. The only thing that is an absolute must is to choose the best quality rice you can afford. And measure your rice:liquid ratio accurately.pilau recipe tricias naturals


3 cups (mugs) well-washed rice (or grade 1 pishori rice)

1/2 kg cubed pre-boiled beef/goat/mutton

3 peeled and chopped potatoes (optional)

2 tbsp tomato paste

3 large tomatoes finely cubed or 1/2 tin of chopped Italian tomatoes

1/2 cup cooking oil

6 cups hot water, bone broth, or chicken stock

3 large onions, finely chopped

8 cloves of garlic, crushed

1/2 fist of fresh ginger, crushed or pounded

1 tbsp pilau masala mix

1 tsp turmeric powder for colour (optional)

salt to taste or 1 chicken stock cube

2 bay leavespilau


  1. Wash your rice gently and set it aside
  2. Boil your cubed meat to soften it (if it is hard use a pressure cooker)
  3. In a large pot, fry the onions in the oil until golden brown and caramelised
  4. Add the fresh crushed ginger and garlic, then quickly stir in your pilau masala (and turmeric if using.) Do not let them burn.
  5. Strain your meat and set aside the liquid
  6. Stir in the meat to the cooked spices and then add the crushed tomato and tomato paste
  7. Stir for a few minutes until well combined
  8. Put in your rice (rice should be as dry as possible)
  9. Gently fold your rice into the meaty sauce (rojo) Be careful not to break the rice
  10. When all your rice is coated (be careful not to let the bottom burn)add your boiling hot liquid. (broth/stock/water)
  11. Fold in and bring to a boil
  12. Cover and let it cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes
  13. Reduce to low heat when nearly done and cover with aluminium foil or a tight cover, or some hot coals on the lid if cooking on a jiko. Let it cook for a further 5 or 10 minutes (until the rice is dry)
  14. Fluff your rice gently and turn off the heat
  15. Serve with salsa or kachumbari salad (chopped onion, tomatoes, cilantro/dhania, seasoning, lemon juice.)


NOTE : When making chicken pilau use the same recipe but for best results use the specific Chicken pilau masala, not the generic pilau masala. No need to pre-boil your chicken unless it is free-range or kienyeji.

By Tricia Wanjala



Leave a Reply