Forget pilau Njeri, this is how to make the real pilau

Forget pilau Njeri, this is how to make the real pilau

Many people fail at making pilau the Swahili way, with many such dishes called ‘Pilau Njeri’, meaning ‘fake pilau’ because of the way they are prepared.

This week, we learn how to make Pilau.


Ikg Rice
1kg meat
1/2kg onions
1/2 kg tomatoes sliced or blended
1/2 Kg potatoes peeled and quartered
1 bulb Garlic
1 piece fresh Ginger
2 teaspoons cummin seeds
6-8 peppercorns
6 cloves
2-4 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods
125ml cooking oil


Boil meat first.

Put all the spices in a small bowl and cover with water.

Pound the garlic and ginger together. Wash rice and keep it ready.

Fry onions in the oil until soft add the garlic and ginger and go on frying until you get a smooth mixture.  Make sure the garlic and ginger are cooked and their flavours absorbed  by the onions.

Now add meat which is cut into big pieces and mix together.

Then add the tomatoes stirring all the time. Let it cook a moderate  heat for a few minutes, then add the spice.

Put in the washed rice with water. Do not add too much water until you see the rice absorbing it.

Then go on adding warm water as required. 

Add potatoes towards the end of the cooking.

Simmer the rice until it’s ready. Cover and reduce the heat let it cook for 10 -15 minutes to separate the grains.

Serve pilau with kachumbari and fried red chilly and a banana.

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