My fuss-free, homemade Pilau Rice, brings an authentic taste of an Indian takeaway to your home.
Best of all, it's ready in less than 30 minutes! Serve with your favourite curry, for a delicious Indian feast.
We love a takeaway curry in this house, and pilau rice is ALWAYS requested from the kids. In an effort to save some money, I've developed this easy pilau rice recipe that you can make in the comfort of your own kitchen, bringing that authentic taste of your local Indian to your next curry night at home.
We often have an Indian night at the weekend, where I make a few different curries, including a creamy halloumi curry, mango chutney chicken curry, keema matar (beef and pea curry), a vegan chickpea and spinach curry, homemade naan bread and also this tasty pilau rice. Mango chutney is also a must!
Have you seen my easy turmeric rice? Another easy rice dish that's great with curries!
✔️ Why should you try it?
- Authentic tasting pilau rice
- Easy and quick to make
- Much healthier than pilau rice from the takeaway
- Basmati rice
- Vegetable oil
- Cumin Seeds
- Cardamom pods
- Cinnamon stick
- Bay leaf
- Vegetable stock
A large lidded pan is needed to make the rice. You will also need a heat resistant jug for the vegetable stock
The recipe card with ingredient quantities and detailed instructions can be found at the bottom of the post
One: Crack the cardamom pods with the flat edge of a knife and gently fry the cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds and turmeric in the vegetable oil for 1 minute, to release their flavours.
Two: Add the rice and coat in the spices.
Three: Pour over the stock and pop in the bay, cinnamon and season with salt. Bring to a simmer then put a lid on the pan and turn down the heat to low.
Four: Let it cook for 25 minutes. When it's ready, take the lid off and fluff up the rice with a fork before serving.
🍴 Serving suggestions
Curry and pilau rice go hand in hand, so I often serve my homemade 'yellow rice', as the kids call it, with a mildly spiced chicken curry and also a spicier vegetarian curry like my halloumi curry or sweet potato and lentil curry. Lamb tikka masala also goes well with it!
If I have time, I also make homemade naan bread, which are really simple and cheap to make (but like most other people I often end up buying them)!
Replace the olive oil with butter or ghee if you prefer.
To reduce the salt content of the rice, use boiling water in place of the vegetable stock.
The cooked pilau rice can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat the rice in the microwave until piping hot.
🧊 Suitable for freezing?
Place any leftover rice into microwaveable tubs with lids and stash them away in the freezer.
You can reheat pilau rice straight from frozen, in the microwaveable tubs. Just make sure the rice is hot all the way through before serving. I usually give it a shake in the tub and pop it back in the microwave for a few more minutes, to ensure it reaches an even temperature throughout.
Pilua rice's gorgeous yellowy colour comes from using turmeric (or sometimes saffron). It's also flavoured with other spices, including cardamom, cumin seeds, cinnamon and bay leaves.
Pilau rice and plain boiled rice are both made with white basmati rice. Pilau rice is fried with a fat (usually ghee, oil or butter) and flavoured with Indian spices such as cardamom, cloves, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and bay leaves. Boiled rice is cooked in salted water and served with no additional flavourings.
Curries, grilled meat and fish, and vegetables are all popular accompaniments to pilau rice. You could also add leftover cooked meat (tandori chicken for example) and roasted veg to the pilau rice to make it a meal in itself.
Some delicious curry recipes that could be served with the pilau rice;
- Slow Cooker Chinese Chicken Curry
- Lamb Balti
- Creamy Courgette Curry
- Halloumi Curry
- Cauliflower and Lentil Curry
- Slow Cooker Beef Curry
- Keema Matar
- Mild Chicken Curry for Kids
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🍽️ More family-friendly recipes
Homemade Pilau Rice
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil or use butter
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 2 Cloves
- 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
- 4 Cardamom pods bruised with the flat of a knife
- 250 g Basmati rice
- 500 ml Vegetable stock
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 1 Bay Leaf
- In a pan (with a lid), heat the oil and fry the turmeric, cloves, cumin seeds and cardamom pods for 1 minute, to release their flavours.
- Add the rice and stir to coat in the spices.
- Pour in the vegetable stock, give it another stir and add the cinnamon and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, season with salt, then pop the lid on. Turn the heat down to low.
- Cook for 25 minutes, then take off the heat. Remove the lid and fluff up the rice with a fork. Replace the lid until you're ready to serve.