Pilau: How to Cook Vegeterian Pilau, Pilau Masala

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.

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.


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