How to Cook Tasty Pilau with Pilau Masala: An Authentic Kenyan Delicacy

Create mouth-watering pilau dishes with our comprehensive guide to making homemade pilau masala. Unlock the secrets to flavorful meals that will impress your guests!

Jul 26, 2023 - 12:00
Jul 27, 2023 - 11:41
How to Cook Tasty Pilau with Pilau Masala: An Authentic Kenyan Delicacy
IMAGE CREDIT: to Cook Tasy Pilau with Pilau Masala: An Authentic Kenyan Delicacy

The flavor-rich pilau is synonymous with Kenyan culinary culture, although it has found a place in the hearts and tables of East Africans in general. Considered the Eastern counterpart to West Africa's beloved Jollof rice, pilau is often served on special occasions. And the great news? You can customize pilau to suit vegetarian and non-vegetarian palates alike! But how does one cook pilau with pilau masala? This comprehensive guide will explore four distinctive ways to create this delicious dish, starting with the vital ingredient—homemade pilau masala.

Crafting Your Pilau Masala

Creating a delicious pilau dish depends on one crucial factor—the accuracy of your spice quantities. However, it's not just about throwing in a mishmash of spices; each ingredient contributes to the unique flavor profile. I typically adhere to the following guide to prepare pilau spice mix for three cups of rice:

  • Cinnamon stick (1)
  • Cumin (1 tablespoon)
  • Cloves (6-8)
  • Cardamoms (4-5)
  • Peppers (5-6)

After assembling your spices, grind them using a mixer, mortar, and pestle to create your homemade pilau masala. If you need more time, you can opt for pre-packaged pilau masala available in the market, but nothing beats the vibrant flavor of homemade spice mix!

Cooking Pilau with Pilau Masala: Simple Chicken Pilau Recipe

For the uninitiated, cooking pilau might seem daunting. Fear not, for we bring you a step-by-step guide to concocting the best pilau ever!


  • Basmati rice (1 cup)
  • Vegetable or olive oil (3 tbsp)
  • Chicken breast chopped (2 cups)
  • Onion, finely chopped (½ cup)
  • Green pepper (½ teaspoon)
  • Cardamoms (2)
  • Cinnamon stick (medium size)
  • Ginger paste (1 tbsp)
  • Garlic paste (1 tbsp)
  • Saffron or turmeric (½ teaspoon)
  • Chicken broth or chicken flavor cube dissolved in hot water (2-3 cups)
  • Coconut milk (¼ - ½ cup)
  • Coriander powder (1 tbsp)
  • Pilau masala (2 tbsp)
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat oil over medium heat and sauté the chicken breast until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan, add oil and whole spices. Once they start crackling, add chopped onions and green peppers.
  3. Continue frying until golden brown, then add ginger and garlic paste. Stir until the raw garlic smell disappears. Follow with turmeric or saffron and stir for another minute.
  4. Return the fried chicken and rice to the pan and mix well.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine coconut milk and hot chicken broth. Pour this mixture into the pan and stir well.
  6. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes until the rice absorbs all the liquid.
  7. Serve hot, and enjoy!

Cooking Nice Pilau: Simple Beef Pilau Recipe

Beef pilau follows a similar method to the chicken recipe, with minor tweaks to accommodate the different proteins.

How to Cook Swahili Pilau

The Swahili version allows you to experiment with potatoes and different meats, such as beef, poultry, or lamb.

READ ALSO: Betika App - The Ultimate Betting App for iPhone, iPad & Android


Cooking pilau with pilau masala does not have to be intimidating. With the right ingredients and a passion for cooking, you can prepare a delightful meal that's sure to impress. The secret lies in the spices, so pay attention to your pilau masala. Whether you're preparing a simple chicken pilau, a meaty beef pilau, or a classic Swahili pilau, the result is always a tasty and satisfying dish.


What is pilau masala made of?

 Pilau masala is a spice mix made from cinnamon, cumin, cloves, cardamom, and peppers.

Can I make pilau without meat?

 Pilau can be made without meat, making it a suitable choice for vegetarians.

Can I use pre-packaged pilau masala?

 While homemade masala offers vibrant flavors, you can opt for pre-packaged pilau masala if you are short on time.

Can I use other types of rice instead of Basmati for pilau?

 While Basmati is preferred for its fragrance and long grain, you can use any choice of rice.

What can I serve with pilau?

 Pilau is typically served with accompaniments such as kachumbari (an East African tomato and onion salad), pickles, or a side of yogurt.

6. Can I store leftover pilau?

Yes, pilau can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Ensure it's properly cooled before storing, and reheat it thoroughly before consuming.

 About the author

The author is a seasoned chef and a lover of international cuisine, particularly interested in African dishes. With more than a decade of culinary experience, they have mastered the art of bringing out the best in every dish. Through their writing, they hope to help others discover the joy of cooking and the magic of spices.

What's Your Reaction?







wow stands proudly as a preeminent Publication Blog in Kenya, dedicated to delivering an unparalleled wealth of informative content across a multitude of subjects that resonate with both the Kenyan audience and the global community at large. Our unwavering commitment to quality and accuracy has made us a trusted resource for readers not only in Kenya but also in the United States and South Africa.