Pilau: How to Cook Vegeterian Pilau, Pilau Masala, Pork Pilau, Goat Pilau

  • Most Kenyans like to have pilau, though it is not always what they get in terms of the authentic taste.

    Many a time, they are usually served with rice just  coloured in the style of pilau, with some ingredients such as meat spotted in the dish and an inviting aroma that is usually associated with it.

    For some, cooking pilau is a task full of hurdles.

    This article will ensure that you are able to make your own authentic pilau every single time and enjoy the bursting and delicious flavour that all of us yearn for in the dish.

    Everything you need to know about Pilau

    Pilau is one of the most popular rice dishes around.

    This tasty coastal dish never misses on the menu at social gatherings and is a regular in many homes.

    It is a dish of rice fried in tropical spices, from the east coast of Africa where Swahili people originate.

    It is mostly enjoyed with the local salsa known as kachumbari.

    This delicacy can be cooked with beef, mutton, and chicken among other kinds of meats. Vegetarians can also enjoy this dish since it can be made without meat.

    Pilau has a lot of similarities with Jollof rice, the most common dish in West Africa.

    The origin of the meal still stirs up a lot of debate with some people claiming that it originated from Nigeria while some have stuck with the Ghanaian origin story.

    The major difference between the two is that Pilau is made with a spice powder called Pilau Masala, which gives the rice its distinct taste and color. Other than that, all the other ingredients are similar making it an easy meal to prepare in Kenya.

    However, most pilau's often had the same method of preparing the base, so once you get that right, you have mastered the art of making any type of pilau.

    How to cook a vegetarian Pilau

    This is the simplest of all Pilaus to make.

    To begin with, make sure you have the following ingredients:

    (four people dish)

    1. 2 cups of rice

    2. ½ cup of green peas

    3. 1 cup of carrot grated

    4. 1 cup of onions, finely chopped

    5. 1 cup of green pepper, finely chopped

    6. 1 teaspoon of ginger, grated

    7. 1 teaspoon of garlic, grated

    8. 1 bay leaf

    9. 1 medium stick of cinnamon

    10. 2 green cardamoms

    11. 1/2 cup of tomato puree

    12. 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

    13. 2 tablespoons of pilau masala

    14. ½ teaspoon of turmeric

    15. 4 cups of hot water salt to taste

    Here is the procedure:

    1. Put a pan on the heat and add oil to the pan.

    2. Pour all the raw spices into the pan and let them crackle.

    3. Add the chopped onions and the grated ginger and garlic and sauté them for a while.

    4. When the onion became translucent in color, add the carrots, green pepper, and the peas into the pan and stir-fry it for another 5 to 6 minutes.

    5. Add the tomato puree and mix it well. At this stage, season the mixture with pilau masala, turmeric, and salt. Stir for the next 10 minutes.

    6. Add the rice and stir the mixture for another 2 minutes. Add water to it and cover the pan with a lid. Let it boil for another 15 to 20 minutes and ensure the rice cooks completely.

    7. After 20 minutes, transfer the pilau into a serving dish.

    How to cook Pilau Masala


    1. 1 cup of Basmati rice (You can use any type of rice you wish)

    2. 3 tbsp of vegetable oil or olive oil(if health conscious)

    3. 2 cups of chicken breast chopped

    4. ½ cup of finely chopped onions

    5. ½ teaspoon of green pepper

    6. 2 green cardamoms

    7. 1 medium size cinnamon stick

    8. 1 tbsp ginger paste

    9. 1 tbsp garlic paste

    10. ½ teaspoon saffron (it can be replaced with turmeric powder)

    11. 2 to 3 cups of boiling plain chicken broth or you can also use a chicken flavor cube. Mix it in two cups of mildly hot water

    12. ¼- ½ cup of coconut milk

    13. 1 tablespoon coriander powder

    14. 2 tablespoon of pilau masala Salt to taste

    Here is the Procedure:

    1. Put a pan on the flame. Heat the oil in medium heat.

    2. Add the chopped chicken breast on the pan and stir it until the color of the chicken becomes golden-brown.

    3. Transfer the fried chicken to another vessel.

    4. In the same pan, add oil again and add the whole spices.

    5. When the whole spices start crackling, add the chopped onions and green peppers.

    6. Fry all the above ingredients until they turn golden-brown.

    7. Add the ginger and garlic paste.

    8. Stir it until the garlic smell is gone.

    9. Add the turmeric/ saffron and stir for another minute.

    10. Add the fried chicken and rice into the pan and stir it well.

    11. In a separate bowl, add the coconut milk with the 2 cups of hot chicken broth.

    12. Add the coconut mixture into the pan and stir it well.

    13. Cover the pan and turn the heat into medium and wait for 20 minutes until the rice is dry.

    14. Serve the pilau in a serving plate.

    How to cook Pork Pilau

    Cooking Pork pilau is very easy. Just follow these simple steps:


    1. 2 cups of half-cooked rice (approx. 100 grams of Basmati rice)

    2. ¼ kg of pork meat

    3. 2 tablespoons of pilau masala

    4. 2 cups of water

    5. 1 tablespoon of grated ginger

    6. 1 tablespoon of garlic paste

    7. 3 to 4 tablespoon of vegetable oil/ olive oil

    8. 1 cup grated carrot

    9. 1 cup of finely chopped onions

    10. ½ cup of chopped green pepper

    11. ½ cup of green peas

    12. 2 tablespoon of chopped coriander

    13. 4-6 cashew nuts (optional)


    Here is the procedure:

    1. Take a bowl and mix the sliced pork with pilau masala, garlic paste, grated ginger, and some oil.

    2. Place a lid on the bowl. Marinate the pork for about half an hour to an hour.

    3. Crack on the heat and place a pan on it. Put a little of the oil in the pan and sauté the marinated pork until the pork turns golden-brown in color. Remove the fried pork from the pan and keep it aside.

    4. In the same pan, add some more oil to it and add the chopped onions. Fry it for 2 minutes then add the grated carrots in with the chopped peppers. Stir-fry until it is slightly cooked.

    5. Add the fried pork, rice, and the green peas in the pan, mix it well and stir for another 2 minutes. Add the water and let it boil for nearly 30 minutes and cover the pan with a lid.

    6. Open the lid and check your meat and rice to check whether it has been cooked well or not.

    7. Serve your ready, hot, and spicy pork pilau with cashew nuts.

    How to cook goat pilau


    1. ½ kg or less Goat meat (it depends on how meaty you want your pilau to be)

    2. 1 cup of Rice (Biryani or Basmati rice)

    3. 2 onions chopped

    4. 2 potatoes peeled and chopped in 4 pieces

    5. ½ tsp of Tumeric

    6. Oil to fry

    7. 2 tsp garlic paste (½ for rice and ½ for boiling the meat)

    8. 1 tsp Chopped Coriander

    9. 1 tsp grated onion (for boiling meat)

    10. ½ tsp of Ginger

    11. A bit of pepper

    12. Whole spices

    13. 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds

    14. ½ tsp Whole Pepper

    15. 2 Cinnamon sticks

    16. 2 cloves

    17. 2 cardamom

    Here is the procedure:

    1. First, clean and wash the goat meat. Pressure cook or boil it with 4 to 5 cups of water, 1 tsp of ginger, 1 tsp garlic paste, pepper, and grated onion. If you are using a pressure cooker, the meat should be ready within 25 minutes.

    If you are using an open pan, it will take almost an hour, so you need to keep adding water to keep the meat totally immersed in water.

    2. Once the meat is ready, drain it and set aside. Reserve the soup for cooking the rice.

    Depending on how many cups of rice you are cooking, the soup should be enough to cook it.

    If the soup is too much reduce and if it is too little, compensate by adding water.

    3. Wash rice thoroughly and soak for 30 minutes.

    4. Heat a large cooking pan and heat oil.

    5. Add the whole spices; cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, cloves.

    6. Let the spices splutter in the oil (around 30 seconds) and add your chopped onions. Fry them until they are translucent stirring with a wooden stick. If you love darker goat pilau, fry the onions until they are dark and caramelised.

    7. Add the potatoes.

    8. Then add the turmeric powder.

    9. Fry this for a few minutes and add the garlic and ginger paste.

    10. Next, we will add a bit of chopped coriander

    11. Can you smell the sweet aroma? I know, delicious. Add in the boiled meat and stir together for a few minutes.

    12. Now, add the soup or stock and some salt. Let the soup simmer and taste for the salt. You should be able to feel the saltiness. Be careful not to put too much.

    13. When the water starts boiling, drain your soaked rice and add it to the stock. Stir a little and sprinkle a bit of coriander on top.

    14. Cover well and let the rice cook on low medium heat.

    15. When you find very little water left in the rice, reduce the heat to the lowest point. Cover the pan tightly and leave the rice to continue steaming for 10 minutes. Switch off.

    Enjoy your delicacy!

    Source: Foodies.co.ke