How to Cook Pilau – A Step-by-Step Guide

Pilau is a delicious and popular dish that is enjoyed throughout the world. It is a rice dish that is typically cooked with various spices and meat or vegetables. Making pilau at home is not difficult, and with the right ingredients and method, you can create a mouth-watering dish that is sure to impress. In this article, we will show you how to cook pilau in a simple and easy way.

Ingredients for Pilau

To make pilau, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon of whole cumin seeds
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 5-6 green cardamoms
  • A small piece of cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions for preparing pilau

Step 1: Preparing the Rice

You first need to wash the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. Soak the rice for 30 minutes in cold water. After soaking, drain the water out of the rice and set it aside.

Step 2: Cooking the Onions

In a large pan or Dutch oven, heat up the vegetable oil over medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add in the finely chopped onions and saut√© them until they’re soft and browned. This should take about 8-10 minutes.

Step 3: Spicing the Rice

Next, add in the whole cumin seeds, cloves, green cardamoms, cinnamon, and bay leaf to the pan with the onions. Cook for about 30 seconds until the spices become fragrant.

Step 4: Mixing the Rice and Broth

Add the rice to the pot and stir it until it’s coated well with the onions and spices. Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth, as well as the water. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and cover the pan tightly with a lid.

Step 5: Simmering the Rice

Let the rice cook on low heat for about 20-25 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed and the rice is fluffy and cooked through.

Step 6: Serving the Pilau

Once the rice is fully cooked, remove the pan from the heat and let it sit covered for about 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork, and then serve it hot with your choice of chicken, beef, or vegetables.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pilau

Q1: Is it necessary to use basmati rice for pilau?

A: Yes, it is recommended to use basmati rice for pilau as it gives the dish a flavorful and aromatic taste.

Q2: Can I use vegetable oil instead of ghee for pilau?

A: Yes, you can use vegetable oil instead of ghee. However, using ghee gives the dish a richer and more authentic flavor.

Q3: Can I add more spices to the rice?

A: Yes, you can add more spices to the rice if you prefer a spicier taste. However, be careful not to overdo it, or the spices could overpower the taste of the dish.


Pilau is a delicious and filling dish that is perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion. With the right ingredients and method, you can easily make this flavorful dish at home. Follow our step-by-step guide on how to make pilau, and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to achieve a restaurant-quality dish. Enjoy!