How to Make Pilau Rice at Home

Pilau Rice Recipe

Pilau rice is the perfect accompaniment for an Indian main meal. Quick and easy to make, this side was made for soaking up rich curries. It adds a splash of colour to your dishes as well as introduces additional flavours to your curry. One of if not the most popular rice dishes served in UK restaurants.

Although this is a more lengthy process than just plain boiled rice it is worth the effort as it looks and tastes fantastic. Can be cooked well in advance and kept in the fridge and reheated in a microwave when your main meals are ready.  



Enough for 4 portions 

300gm Basmati rice.
1 Litre water
1 x Teaspoon salt
Knob of Ghee (butter can be used)
2 Bay Leaves
2 x 1-inch Cassia Bark
4 x Green Cardamons
Red and Green food colouring (optional)



You will need a pan or a casserole dish that is suitable for the oven. 

Rinse your rice until the water runs clear.

Add the water and salt and bring the pan to a boil

Boil the rice for no longer than 6 mins 

Drain the rice and return it to the pot

Add the ghee to a frying pan and gently fry the whole spices, care must be taken to not burn these spices but they should smell aromatic.

Pour this mixture over the rice and gently fold the rice to get it coated.

Add a small amount of your food colouring in a small spot of the rice for each colour, do not allow the colouring to touch.

Put the lid on the pot or cover the top with aluminium foil and place it in a preheated oven of 100c and allow it to steam for 20 minutes.

Once cooked gently mix the rice so you get speckles of colour throughout your rice. 

Can be served immediately or allowed to cool and then microwaved as required. 


Never leave cooked rice out on the work surface for long periods, always store it in the fridge as it can attract bacteria which in turn can cause stomach upsets. 

An additional top is to add saffron to the melted ghee prior to pouring over the rice, although is a very expensive spice that adds a yellow colour to the whole dish.