The first time I ate Pilau was in Uganda. It was a very perfumed beef pilau and I liked it. Then along the years I had it many times in various places; vegetable pilau, beef pilau, lamb pilau ( lamb not goat) or chicken pilau. I admit preferring the vegetable, lamb and chicken pilau. I find the beef in pilau always too tough for my taste. The East African Pilau has, in my opinion, a very strong Indian influence. Do serve the pilau with a side dish of Kachumbari.
Pilau is a one pot rice dish consisting of many elements. Consequently, you can find “Pilau” in many countries or culture.
Actually, riz pilaf made with a bouquet garni, butter, onion, chicken stock cooked in the oven is one of the culinary dish taught in some French cooking school. This riz pilaf cook in a 200 Celsius oven for 17 to 19 minutes. The cooking time is 11 to 14 minutes for Basmati rice.
Cooking rice in the oven does give another dimension. To be creative, I suggest cooking Chicken Pilau in the oven. Cover the pot with greaseproof paper, put on the lid and cook accordingly.
• 1 small chicken skinned (I used a 1.1 kg chicken) and cut it in 8 to 10 pieces
• 1 lime, juice only
• 2 large onions finely diced
• 2 cup of long grain rice. Wash the rice and let it stand in water until needed
• 4 cups of water for cooking the rice
• 2 tomatoes diced
• 1 green chili. I remove the seed for the little one in the house. If you like heat use it whole and slice it lengthwise.
• 1 medium size carrot diced
• 1 half cup of green peas
• 1 tbsp. of roughly minced fresh coriander
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 tbsp. of minced fresh ginger root
• 3 cloves
• 2 cardamom pods
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 medium cinnamon stick
• ½ cup of natural yoghurt
• 2 to 3 tsps. of ghee or oil
• Put the chicken in a bowl and marinate it with the lime juice, yoghurt, garlic, ginger, salt and fresh ground pepper for at least 20 minutes
• In a large pot put the ghee, heat up to medium heat and add, bay leave, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Cook, until the spices release their flavor, it will take not more than 1 minute
• Add the onions and the ground cumin and fry until nicely brown. You may have to add a little more ghee if needed
• Add the tomatoes and the carrots. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and the mixture almost become homogeneous
• Add the chicken with the marinade, chili and the fresh coriander in the pot and cook, under medium heat, for about 10 to 15 minutes. The sauce will reduce and kind of thicken and have a marvelous aroma.
• Add the rice and the green peas with four cups of water. As soon as the water boils reduce the heat to a minimum. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. The rice should be moist and not dry.