Pilau Rice

Pilau rice, also known as pilaf, among other names, is a rice dish typically cooked in a seasoned broth or a mix of spices. It’s origins are said to be in India. It is said that the earliest literary references to pilau are seen in the histories of Alexander the Great.

History and legend aside, pilau is a delicious rice and very easy to make. Below is a quick guide to making pilau rice. I am making no claims on this being the dish of Alexander the Great.

The following takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook. To feed 4 people:


  1. 1 tblsp olive oil (or sunflower oil, or 25g butter/margarine)
  2. 1 cup basmati riceWP_20150624_001
  3. 1 tsp spoon ground turmeric
  4. 1 dried bay leaf
  5. 4 green cardamom pods
  6. 4 cloves
  7. 0.5 tsp fennel seeds
  8. 1.5 cups boiling water (1.5x the amount of basmati rice used)


  1. Heat the oil in a pan on low heatWP_20150624_006
  2. Stir in the rice and coat well in the oil
  3. Add all the spices and stir
  4. Add the boiling water and stir
  5. Cover and simmer on lowest heat for 15 minutes
  6. Fluff with a fork before serving

Recipe adapted from Lets Get Cooking At Home

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