This classic Pilau rice recipe is a simple and delicious recipe that you’ll 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 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. Serve with a sweet chicken curry or spicy fish curry. Or if you want something more comforting go for a dish of Bombay potaotoes or warming vegetable curry. Make this pilau rice for a weeknight family curry night, or dazzle friends when they come over for dinner. Or you could always save money on a Friday or Saturday night takeaway by whipping this up for yourself instead of ordering in. Love Indian food? We've got loads more delicious Indian recipes here!
Watch how to make Pilau rice
- 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
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.
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.
Crush the cumin seeds lightly with the cardamom pods.
Add the cumin, cardamom, cloves and turmeric to the pan and cook for 1-2 mins.
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.
The rice may be prepared in advance. Make sure that it’s cooled very quickly after the initial cooking and then kept refrigerated. To serve, reheat thoroughly in a microwave.
Top tip for making Pilau rice
The rice may be prepared in advance and reheated in a microwave, but make sure it’s cooled very quickly after the initial cooking and then kept refrigerated before it’s reheated thoroughly.