3 Vegetable Pilau Recipes To Spice Up Your Meals

written by Katy Fentress 2nd March 2018

Pumpkin Pilau

Ingredients 2 pax:

  • 2cups fresh pumpkin (1/2 inch cubes)
  • 1 1⁄2cups sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed. about 1 medium)
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 Large Red onion – diced
  • 2 Celery Sticks – diced
  • 6 small Kenyan garlic cloves
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1cup pishori rice
  • 1⁄2teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 stick of Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 3 crushed cardamon cloves
  • 1⁄4teaspoon salt
  •  1 bay leaf


  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees C
  • Coat pumpkin and sweet potato in oil and arrange in an even layer on a roasting pan.
  • Bake for half and hour until veggies tender and beginning to brown. Flip vegetables half way through
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion, celery and garlic; saute 3 minutes. Add spices, stir, add rice, stir and then add broth stirring well for 20 seconds.
  • Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes
  • Add half of the pumpkin and potato mixture and stir in
  • Cook for a further 5 minutes or until rice is done. Remove from heat and cover with tea towel leaving to steam for another five minutes.
  • Remove cover, label out food and arrange remaining pumpkin mixture to individual plates.
Onion and Lentil Pilau

Ingredients 2 Pax:

  • 3 tbsp ghee/ vegetable oil
  • 1 large red onion – sliced
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 cup pishori rice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 4 dried curry leaves, optional
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Parsley for garnish


  • In a large heavy-based saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion slices, and sauté until softened and deep golden brown. Remove half the onions and set aside.
  • Reduce heat and add turmeric, cumin, coriander, cloves, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add salt, and season with black pepper to taste.
  • Combine lentils and rice in a fine-meshed sieve, and rinse well with cold water. Drain, then add to pan. Add 4 cups stock, raise heat, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to very low, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Water should be completely absorbed; if not, remove pan from heat, remove lid and cover pan with a kitchen towel, then replace lid and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  • To serve, fluff with a fork. Garnish with reserved onions and chopped parsley
Cauliflower Mushroom Pilau


  • 400g basmati rice
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil (or half oil half ghee)
  • 2 medium red onions – chopped
  • 50g white mushrooms – roughly chopped
  • 75g green beans
  • 150g cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100g peas, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods – crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • Sea salt
  • 850ml water
  • 30g raisins
  • 30g pistachio nuts – toasted and chopped


  • Rinse the rice in water and leave it to soak in a bowl for a minimum of 15 minutes
  • Heat half oil in a wide, heavy-based pan and add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves and star anise.
  • Fry for a minute until spices 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 remaining oil or ghee, a pinch of salt and all the vegetables to the pan.
  • Saute’ for 3-4 mins then tip in the drained rice and stir well.
  • Warm a medium pan and then add the drained rice, stirring well until it begins to dry out
  • Pour in the water and the raising
  • Bring to a boil and then cook for 15 minutes or until water has been absorbed
  • Turn off the heat, quickly remove the lid and cover with a tea cloth, return the lid and leave to steam for 5 minutes
  • Uncover, add the vegetables and fluff. Sprinkle with the toasted pistachios and serve.

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