How to cook real Pilau, Forget Pilau Njeri


Pilau is second of Kenyan’s favorite meal after Ugali. However, despite it being simple to prepare most Kenyans often end up preparing it the wrong way. How exactly does one the prepare the real pilau, with its smell and taste? Today we will learn how to cook real pilau and not Pilau Njeri.

it’s important to note the origins of this meal. Pilau is a staple food for people from the Coastal region of Kenya. Most of the time, this meal is either accompanied by Kachumbari.

How to cook real pilau

You will need a few ingredients based on the number of people that you are cooking for. For this particular recipe, we will be serving five people.


500 grams of Cubed beef – Should be without bones
3 tablespoons Oil
2 cups hot water for cooking the beef
3 Medium Onions chopped
A pinch of ground pepper – Black in color
2 cups Pishori/Basmati rice, washed and rinsed
4 cups of hot water in order to cook the rice
2 bulbs of garlic, peeled and grounded too
Salt enough to taste
2 tablespoons of pilau masala
Coriander leaves/powder – Dhania
Cumin powder
3 medium carrots grated
1 tablespoon chili – Optional
One clean Sufuria

Instructions – Estimated cooking time is 1 hour 50 minutes

  1. In the cooking pot, add the 3 tablespoons of oil and heat it up. Do not let the oil to overheat, add the meat. The main reason for doing this is to have the meat browning. Make sure that you stir the pot to ensure the meat browns on all sides. Cook for 5 minutes.
  2. After the beef has browned on all sides, add the onions and ground garlic then let them cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the spices mentioned in the ingredients. You could start off with salt, then ground pepper, cumin powder, the pilau masala, and then carrots. Cook until the carrots have softened.
  4. Remember the 2 cups of water mentioned above to cook the meat, add it. Cover the pot and let the meat cook for about 45 – 50 minutes.
  5. After the 50 minutes, add the 4 cups of hot water that was to be used to cook the rice. Then add the rice and cover it. cook for about 11 minutes.
  6. Once the rice is done, sprinkle the coriander powder. Additionally, make sure that you cover it and minimize the heat. Let it cook for the next 14 minutes
  7. Serve the pilau while still hot.

What To Serve the Pilau With

Most of the times, Pilau is served with Kachumbari. Kachumbari is basically freshly cut tomatoes and onions with coriander leaves.


Pilau is a must to try out while in Kenya before leaving the Country if you were visiting. It’s so delicious that you can add it to your bucket list if you have never yet tried it out.



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