Gordon Ramsay's vegetable pilau rice

(36 ratings)
Gordon Ramsay's vegetable pilau from Great Escape
Gordon Ramsay's vegetable pilau from Great Escape
  • Serves: 4-6

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

  • Total time:

  • Skill level: Bit of effort

  • Costs: Mid-price

This is the celeb chef's version of the classic Indian takeaway favourite, vegetable pilau rice, from the Channel 4 series, Gordon's Great Escape


  • 400g basmati rice
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp ghee or melted unsalted butter (ghee is not suitable for vegetarians)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • Sea salt
  • 50g mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • 75g green beans
  • 150g cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g peas, thawed if frozen
  • 850ml water
  • 30g raisins
  • 30g toasted pistachio nuts

In India, the fragrant rice for a pilau is usually cooked separately from the other ingredients and everything is mixed together at the end, similar to the way in which a biryani is made.


  1. Wash the rice in several changes of cold water, then leave to soak in fresh cold water for at least 30 mins. Drain well and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil and 1tbsp of ghee or butter in a wide, heavy-based pan and add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves and star anise.
  3. Fry for a minute until they begin to crackle and smell fragrant.
  4. Add the onions and fry for another 6-8 mins, stirring frequently until soft and golden brown. Stir in the turmeric, cumin, coriander and chilli powder and fry the ground spices for another minute.
  5. Add the remaining ghee or butter, a pinch of salt and all the vegetables to the pan. Sautee for 3-4 mins then tip in the drained rice and stir well.
  6. Toast the rice over a high heat for a minute then pour in the water and add the raisins. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 10 mins until the rice looks dry and the water has been absorbed.
  7. Turn off the heat and, without removing the lid, leave to steam for another 5 mins. Uncover and fork through the rice and vegetables. Sprinkle with the toasted pistachios and serve.

This recipe is taken from Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape, published by Harper Collins, priced £25, available from Amazon

Gordon's Great Escape series starts Monday 18th - 20th January 2010, on Channel 4 at 9pm

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  • 4
(36 ratings)

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Phillip Aspinall

I made this it was really nice I would put half the turmeric in though and slightly increase the other spices maybe. Soaking the rice first seemed to work the rice held up really well and the dish lasted for days in the fridge. Now its one of my staples.

Phil Morrison

I always use the one part rice and two parts water method so this recipe should work. When leaving the rice to steam place a clean tea towel over the pan which will absorb excess moisture.


It says ghee is not suitable for vegetarians. It is.


too much water in the recipe rice was mushy and no matter how i tried it remained that way, the recipe should have been light and fluffy not wet nd stodgy, tasted lovely but dont like stodgy rice, so will try other recipes and if i try this one again will cut down on the water

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