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East African Pilau – Kenyan pilau

East African Pilau is a traditional, beautiful fragrant rice dish made with many aromatic spices that adds an amazing depth of flavor to the rice. It can be made with either beef or chicken.

Kenyan Beef and Potato Pilau

PILAU

Pilau has a wonderful balance of flavors. It is a festive dish, which is never missing during special occasions or events. It’s made with rice cooked in a well-seasoned broth of Meat or chicken. Unlike the Indian pilau, the East African version does not use curry and it’s less spicy.

Rice is, without a doubt, one of my favorite food in the world. Not only is it my to-go dish when I need to prepare a quick meal, but it can easily be turned into an elegant dish for special occasions.

With the right combination of spices, plain rice can be turned into the main attraction like this Rice Pilau or the West African jollof rice, my go-to one-pot chicken and rice, and much more!

Rice pilau - fragrant tasty one-pot dish made with caramelized beef with rice and potato cooked in a rich and delicious meat or chicken broth.

Pelau is delicious on its own and can be served as a stand-alone meal, however, if you want a full Kenyan experience simply pair with Kachumbari – a cool and refreshing salad made with tomatoes, red onions, cilantro and a spicy pepper like serrano chili pepper. 

HOW TO MAKE THE EAST AFRICAN RICE PILAU

  1. Toast and blend the pilau masala: In a medium saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Brown the onions by frying it in oil until it caramelizes. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the Garlic, ginger and serrano pepper.
  3. Add the meat stock cubes, pilau masala, cilantro, bay leaves, and salt to taste and brown the meat for about 
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and cook till it dissolves. Then stir in the potatoes.
  5. Add water and bring everything to a rolling boil and leave the potatoes to cook for about 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the rice then cover tightly. You can use an aluminum foil to cover it first, this will help keep the steam in. Then place the lid over it and leave to cook on a low heat for 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.
  7.  Serve hot! You can sprinkle the rice pilaf with some chopped cilantro, then fluff with a fork. Enjoy.

Step by step picture process of how to make Rice and Potato pilau

What is rice pilau?

Rice pilau is a fragrant tasty one-pot dish made with caramelized beef with rice and potato cooked in a rich and delicious meat or chicken broth. 

It is considered a special rice dish that is often served at weddings, during festive seasons or when an important guests arrive.

what makes pilau brown?

The brown color of the pilau comes from caramelizing the onions, browning the meat until it becomes really browned.

The pilau seasoning or pilau masala also adds a bit of color to the rice as well as a unique flavor.

Notes:

  1. I used beef in this recipe, but chicken or any other type of meat can also be used.
  2. 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.
  3. For even cooking, I seal my pot with aluminum foil during the cooking process so as to have well-separated rice grains after cooking.
  4. It’s also best to cook on low heat. 
  5. I love to use freshly ground spices that’s why I choose to grind my spices myself it imparts so much flavor!

Other delicious rice recipes  you might want to try:

Kenyan Beef and Potato Pilau

East African Pilau

East African Pilau is a traditional, beautiful fragrant rice dish made with many aromatic spices that adds an amazing depth of flavor to the rice. It can be made with either beef or chicken.
4.79 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: African
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 550kcal

Ingredients

PILAU MASALA - PILAU SPICES

  • 1 Tsp Cloves
  • 2 tbsp Cumin seeds
  • 1 Stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tbsp black peppercorn seeds
  • 12 pods Cardamon

RICE PILAU

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 5 potatoes medium - peeled and cut into quarters
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 Red onions medium - thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger minced
  • 1 serrano chile finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon pilau masala
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 lb beef sirloin cubed
  • 3 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

MAKE THE PILAU MASALA:

  • Place the cumin, coriander, black peppers, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves in a dry pan.
  • Roast over low heat until warmed through and fragrant and blend (I used a coffee grinder) until smooth.
  • You need just 1 to 11/2 tablespoons for this recipe (depending on how fragrant you want the rice to be). Feel free to store the leftover spice powder in an airtight container for up to 3 months, or refrigerate for up to 6 months.

MAKE THE RICE PILAU

  • Heat a stockpot on medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until hot but not smoking.
  • Add the sliced onions and fry for 10-15 minutes or till the onions starts to turn golden brown (be careful not to burn it).
  • Add the garlic, ginger, serrano pepper, Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add the cubed beef, pilau masala, beef stock cubes, bay leaves, cilantro, and salt to taste. Cook until the meat browns and caramelizes stirring occasionally about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the tomatoes have released their liquid.
  • Stir in the potatoes and the water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice, and cover tightly with a foil paper (to keep the steam in) if necessary. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
  • Once the rice is dry, remove the foil paper and fluff with a fork to ensure the seasonings are well distributed all around the rice.
  • Serve hot with fresh Kachumbari – salsa. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • I used beef in this recipe, but chicken or any other type of meat can also be used.
  • 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.
  • For even cooking, I seal my pot with aluminum foil during the cooking process so as to have well-separated rice grains after cooking.
  • It’s also best to cook on low heat.
  • I love to use freshly ground spices that’s why I choose to grind my spices myself it imparts so much flavor!

Nutrition

Calories: 550kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 402mg | Potassium: 1291mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 338IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 10mg

Let’s Connect.

You can find me on Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with all of you!

If you make this  East African Pilau, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram or Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen

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