￼Are you one of those people who would really love to but don’t know how to prepare good Pilau?
Forget the rumors of things you need to give your pilau a good browning, just pay attention and learn how to cook tasty and well browned Pilau, unadulterated with tea leaves, coffee, soy sauce, gravy browner or burnt onions.
I learnt this recipe from Hashnunish, a Kenyan famed chef when she visited Uganda sometime back. I am sure I’ve missed or messed up a few steps from what she taught but what I share with you is what I tried and what you see are the results you should also expect.
• SWT LG Rice
• Beef stock
• Onions, sliced
• Bay leaves
• Black pepper
• Fresh ginger, crushed
• Garlic, crushed into a paste
• Cumin seeds
1. Soak the rice in cold water for about 40 minutes. Personally, I like to use SWT LG rice for this because I have tried it and I can confidently say that if you follow these steps well you will get Pilao with grains that look fine and crumbly rather than clumpy.
3. Soak the whole black pepper seeds and cloves in hot water for about 10 mins. Pour that water away rinse them again on a sieve under running cold water. (This is to rid them of the bitterness that makes them repulsive to the palates)
4. Grate the fresh ginger and garlic into a paste and have it ready.
5. Prepare your bay leaves, cardamom, cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks and have them ready.
6. When all the ingredients are ready, heat the oil on high heat until it’s starting to smock and throw in the onions.
7. When the onions have browned to the desired level (but not burnt), you add a little amount of water (like 1/4 cup) to keep them from burning while to add the other ingredients. Please note that the brownness of your Pilao is mostly determined by the brownness of your onions. But please don’t burn them. No one enjoys the taste of burnt onions in their mouth.
8. Throw in garlic-ginger paste and stir, followed by the rinsed cloves and black pepper seeds, then the cinnamon, cumin seeds, cardamons, bay leaves and keep stirring.
9. Add the beef and simmer for 3-5 mins, followed by the rice (after draining it) and salt, then the beef stock (or water) in the ratios of 3.5 cups of water (or stock) for 2 cups of rice. Stir once more and cover. DO NOT STIR AGAIN!!
10. When you listen and the rice has stopped making that boiling sound, it means the water has been fully absorbed and it’s time to transfer heat.
11. Get a wet newspaper, cover it on the top of the rice pan and transfer 2/3 of the charcoal on the inverted cover of the cooking pan with the wet news paper between the rice and the heat on top.
This helps to redistribute the heat and steam the rice better. Leave it for about 20 minutes then your Pilao will be ready to serve. The last steps are pretty easy, just transform your plate from this.