Gordon Ramsay’s vegetable pilau rice recipe

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serves: 4 - 6
Skill: medium
5-a-day: 2
Prep: 30 min
Cooking: 40 min

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


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Fry for a minute until they begin to crackle and smell fragrant.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Top tip for making Gordon Ramsay’s vegetable pilau rice

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 inwhich a biryani is made.

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