Pilao Rice

    1 hour 10 min

    When I grew up as a child in India, I always enjoyed this wonderful rice which was served at weddings or other special occasions. Also good with curry.

    40 people made this

    Serves: 16 

    • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads or ground turmeric
    • 1.4L boiling water
    • 100g butter
    • 2 medium onions, chopped
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 4 whole cloves
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
    • 10 cardamom pods
    • 800g basmati rice
    • 200g natural yoghurt
    • 2 teaspoons salt

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr10min 

    1. Place saffron threads into boiling water, set aside to steep.
    2. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions, and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Season with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cumin and cardamom. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes to release the flavour, stirring constantly.
    3. Pour in the rice and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the yoghurt, saffron water and salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cover pot with a cloth folded into 4 layers. Place a lid over the cloth and cook until the rice is done, about 20 minutes. Remove the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom before serving.

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    Reviews in English (22)


    This recipe got RAVE reviews from my middle eastern husband. After dinner he was eating it directly from the pot. It's the real thing for sure. I didn't have shortening so I used butter and a touch of olive oil. I was really unsure about the cloth bit but I just tried it with a doubled tea towl under the lid. I'm glad I did.  -  11 Sep 2006  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    Umm...yes! This is incredible! Did everything just as the recipe called for, except used ground cardamom in place of the seeds. It was hard to stop eating this. I served it with the Indian Tomato Chicken recipe listed on this site and me and fam (including husband and 3 little kids) were in heaven. I'm not sure what to say about folks who found it bland. I thought it was anything but. Subtle, maybe, but REALLY tasty. Eat it as a side dish to make sure you get enough "flavor" out of your dinner! (By the way, I'd cut the recipe in half next time - this is two dinners' worth of rice for a family of 5.)  -  27 Mar 2008  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    Finally an awesome Indian rice recipe! It was absolutely awesome! My husband also loved it and I'm keeping this recipe handy! I used the saffron AND the ground turmeric (the turmeric was put in with the other spices). I also added a chicken bullion cube to the spices and it turned out awesome!!!! It was good enough to eat by itself.  -  09 Apr 2007  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)