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Beef Pilau

This beef pilau recipe is one that you will get right every single time you make it. The aroma from this dish is inviting and warming, and it is an extremely popular Kenyan dish. Most pilau’s often have the same method of preparing the base, so once you get that right, you have mastered the art of making any type of pilau.



2 tbsp oil
300 grams beef cubes
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium carrots, grated
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp pilau masala
2-3 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups hot water (to cook the beef)
1 1/2 cups Daawat Basmati Rice, rinsed and soaked
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bulb of garlic, cut the top off to expose the cloves of garlic
1 tsp coriander powder
3 cups hot water (to cook the rice)


Heat oil in a large pot. Add the beef in the oil in batches making sure not to over crowd the pot. You want to sear the beef so it browns and not steams. Let cook for 3-4 minutes until browned on all sides.
Add the onions and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Add the carrots, season with salt & pepper, chili powder, pilau masala and bay leaves and stir. Let cook for another 1-2 minutes or until the carrots soften.
Add hot water (to cook the beef), cover the pot with a lid and let simmer for 45 minutes-1 hour until the meat is very tender.
Layer the rice onto the meat, season with some more salt, pour in the hot water (to cook the rice) and let simmer uncovered for 10-12 minutes.
Sprinkle coriander powder onto the almost cooked rice and push the bulb of garlic into the rice making sure that the exposed cloves are submerged in the rice.
Cover and reduce the temperature and let sit for 12-15 minutes.
Remove the bulb of garlic and bay leaves from the rice, and serve the pilau immediately.
    • Alice
    • October 15, 2016

    Please post the chicken pilau recipe from your previous website. I really loved it.
    Am glad your website is back!
    Thank you

      • Pika Chakula
      • October 17, 2016

      Hi Alice,
      We shall be posting that up as well. I shall link you the post as soon as it is up. 🙂

    • Diana
    • November 8, 2016

    In grams, how much is a cup of rice? Or what capacity cup in ml are you using? I never get the recipes right because of this 🙁

      • Pika Chakula
      • December 5, 2016

      Hi Fiona, in grams a cup of rice is approximately 180 grams. Hope this helps

  1. Reply

    looks yummy

    • Carol
    • August 9, 2017

    I tried this recipe after several failed attempts at making a ‘proper’ pilau masala – and I must say I was not disappointed. It was everything a pilau should be. Perfect.

      • Pika Chakula
      • October 1, 2017

      I’m very happy it worked and you enjoyed it 🙂 Give the other recipes a try, we have a whole range of different Biryani and Pilau recipes.

  2. Reply

    I love cooking and trying out new recipes. I tried this one and it was delicious. Thanks for your yummy recipes.

      • Pika Chakula
      • December 11, 2017

      Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    • Hilda
    • January 18, 2018

    Hi. which cup is used to measure the amount of rice?

      • Pika Chakula
      • February 1, 2018

      Hi, I used the standard 1 cup measure. Roughly about 175 grams.

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