I had a good laugh the other day when I was told my four-year old godson’s favourite dish was “Nanna’s pilao.” I couldn’t agree more.
Pilao is the staple of Tanzanian-Goan meals. There is nothing more satisfying than a hot plate of pilao accompanied with a tangy lime pickle. Add a large spoonful of sorpotel, and you’ve got yourself an award winning plate!
As a Tanzanian youth, there were many weekends living on campus in university where I craved pilao. While there are many different styles & recipes of Pilao, I want to highlight one special version; that is quick and super easy to make.
Sasa, tuta anze!
- 1 cup of Tilda basmati rice
- 2 cups of hot water
- 2 Knorr beef cubes
- 1 diced white onion
- 3 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 4 peppers
- 1 tbs of butter
- 1 tbs of vegetable oil
- 1 green chili
- 1/8 tsp of turmeric powder
Step 1: Wash the basmati rice with tap water. Let the rice soak for 10–15 minutes. While the rice is soaking, dice your onion.
Step 2: Dissolve 2 Knorr beef cubes in 1 cup of boiling water.
Step 3: Turn the stove on medium heat. Add 1 tbs of butter and 1 tbs of oil in a pot or sufuria.
Step 4: Once the butter has melted, it’s time for the spices! Add the cloves, pepper & cinnamon sticks, and let these ingredients sizzle for 1 minute.
Step 5: Add your chopped onion to the pot and stir for 1 minute. Next, drain the water from the basmati rice, and slowly add the rice to the pot. To finish, add the dissolved beef cubes, and 1 additional cup of boiling water.
Step 6: Add 1/8 tsp of turmeric powder (this gives the pilau it’s beautiful golden color). Stir for 2 mins.
Step 7: Turn oven on to 375 degrees Farenheit. Cover the pot with a lid, and place in the oven. Allow pilao to bake for 25 minutes.
Step 8: After 25 minutes, remove the pilao pot from the oven. Let the dish stand for 10 minutes before serving.
The perfect pilao is easy to make, and unbelievably delicious! Asante.