Pilau rice is a staple side dish of Indian food. It's a quick and easy side dish that makes the most of some plain rice and some basic spices. And it's so much better to make your own rather than buy it or get a takeaway.
There are so many different versions of pilau rice, so I set about to make a simple version that is quick and easy to cook and has a simple ingredient list that we can get from Aldi. The goal for pilau rice is golden turmeric spiced rice with light fluffy grains that separate easily. It goes perfectly with this coconut chicken curry, the Moroccan lamb tagine and this slow cooker chicken korma.
This version of pilau rice is made with basmati. It's nutty, rich and fragrant. Basmati rice undergoes a 2-year drying process to concentrate the flavours. It also helps to make sure that the grains of rice are light and fluffy once their cooked.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- It's so much better than any pilau rice that you will buy.
- Pilau rice doesn't take any longer than cooking regular rice.
- It goes with so many dishes that you probably already make and dresses up plain white rice.
- It's very adaptable and you can make it your own by playing around with the spice mix.
- basmati rice
- vegetable stock
- onion and garlic
- spices- turmeric, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cumin, ground coriander, and cloves
See the recipe card for quantities.
Step By Step Instructions
- Start by softening the onions and garlic in some butter. Add in some thyme leaves (you can use dried here) and continue to cook until the onions and garlic are fragrant, soft and translucent. Add in the spices and the bay leaf.
- Mix in the basmati rice and stir well to get all the grains coated in the spices. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and turn it down to low heat. Continue to cook for about 11-15 minutes, until the rice is tender and all the stock has been absorbed.
- Fluff the rice with a fork and let stand for about 5 minutes with the lid back on. Once the 5 minutes have passed, remove the lid and take out the bay leaf and the cloves.
Hint: To make the absorption method of cooking rice work really well, it's important to have a pan with a tight-fitting lid.
Rinsing or soaking the rice before cooking undoes that process and leaves you with finished rice that is sticky and wet. The absolute opposite of what we’re trying to achieve. So, no. Skip the rinsing completely.
A very common method of cooking rice to place it in a pot of boiling water and drain it once it's cooked. Very much the way you would cook pasta. However, because we're relying on all the spices to bring so much flavour, we want to use the absorprion method so the rice absorbs the spices along with the stock without being diluted.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. All you need for this recipe is a pan with a tight fitting lid. This pan works so great because it has a glass lid so you can keep an eye on what's going on.
This rice stores really well for up to 2 days in the fridge or up to 2 months in the freezer.
Storing rice can be a little tricky. It's very important that it gets cooled down as quickly as possible due to the bacteria Bacillus cereus. It's a food poisoning baceria that's present in rice and grows quickly the longer cooked rice is left at room temperature. So, cool rice quickly and store for only a short period of time before reheating thoroughly. Only reheat rice once.
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The Easy 30 Minute Fragrant Pilau Rice
- 20 g salted butter
- 1 brown onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 sprigs thyme leaves picked
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- 250 g basmati rice
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- Heat the butter in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Saute the onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Mix in the thyme, and all the spices. Continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Mix in the basmati rice and mix to coat all the grains in the spices. Pour in the hot stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a very gentle simmer over very low heat and put the lid on the pan. Continue to cook for about 11 minutes until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed.
- Once the rice is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and fluff the rice with a fork and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.