Pilau rice

(108 ratings)
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  • Serves: 4-6

  • Prep time:

  • Cooking time:

  • Costs: Cheap as chips

  • Skill level: Easy peasy

  • Spice level Medium
  • Make in advance

This classic Pilau rice recipe is a simple and delicious recipe that youíll want to make time and time again. With plenty of flavour, this tasty side dish is perfect for serving the chicken tikka masala, spicy lamb or other classic Indian dishes. Naan bread on the side and fresh cinnamon sticks broken throughout, this delicious pilau rice dish is a flavoursome side that would complete any Indian banquet. This pilau rice recipe serves 4-6 people, but you can easily double up the ingredients to make more if you're feeding more people. This pilau rice recipe takes around 40 mins to prepare and cook, but you can let it cook for 30 mins while you make your main dish. Store leftover rice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Make sure you reheat thoroughly before serving.

The rice may be prepared in advance and reheated in a microwave, but make sure itís cooled very quickly after the initial cooking and then kept refrigerated before itís reheated thoroughly.


  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 4 cloves
  • 1tbsp turmeric
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks, broken


  1. Heat a large pan, which has a tight-fitting lid. Sprinkle the cumin seeds over the base and cook for 30 secs, stirring well to toast them but taking care not to burn them. Tip out of the pan into a bowl.
  2. Heat the ghee or oil in the pan. Add the onion and cook it over a medium heat for 5-7 mins, until it starts to soften.
  3. Crush the cumin seeds lightly with the cardamom pods.
  4. Add the cumin, cardamom, cloves and turmeric to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins.
  5. Rinse the rice well and add to the pan, along with 450ml boiling water, the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks and stir briefly just to mix. Bring the mixture to the boil, cover the pan and cook over a low heat for 12-15 mins, until the water is absorbed. Leave the rice in the pan but off the heat for a few mins before serving.
  6. The rice may be prepared in advance. Make sure that itís cooled very quickly after the initial cooking and then kept refrigerated. To serve, reheat thoroughly in a microwave.

Nutritional information per portion

  • Low
  • Med
  • High
  • Calories 172(kcal)
  • Fat 2.5g
  • Saturates 1.0g

This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.

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  • 3
(108 ratings)

Your comments

Ashley Sheridan

Seriously, autoplaying videos? Fuck you!

Andrea O

Thank you for posting about the black cardamon. I, too, use black cardamon. I love this so much that just a teacupfull isn't enough, though. In fact, I double this recipe so we have leftovers for the next day.

geoff rose

I have been cooking this rice for 30 + years and I use 1 tea cup of rice to 2 tea cups of water This is enough for 3 people I also only use 1/2 a tea spoon of Turmeric powder also I use black cardamons

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