Perfect Pilao in 8 Steps!

Tanzanite Toronto
Mar 23, 2019 · 3 min read

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.

More From Medium

Also tagged Recipe

Also tagged Recipe

Top on Medium

Ed Yong
Mar 25 · 22 min read


Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade