Plain Pilau

Pilau rice from TanzaniaPilau originates from India. It taste and look very differetn from the Indian pilau. Tanzanian pilau use more spices than Indian pilau. It has become a favorite Tanzanian rice dish. Pilau has a very unique taste. Although in Tanzania it is traditionally cooked with meat and vegetables, I do not eat meat as much, I hope people like me would like this simple meatless pilau.


  • 1 cup Basimati rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup Onions
  • 1 tbsp Crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp Crushed fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp pilau-masala
  • 2 to 3 cups Chicken broth (boiling) optional.
  • 1/2 cup Coconut milk (canned)
  • Salt


  1. In a big pot, heat oil on medium heat. Then, add rice and onions. Stir until the translucent color of rice starts to turn white.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, and pilau masala. Keep stiring until the garlic is cooked.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the coconut milk with ½ cup of chicken broth.
  4. Add the coconut mixture to the rice.
  5. Cover the pot and turn heat to the lowest settings. Adding chicken broth ½ cup at a time to the rice until it is cooked.

Must serve with kachumbari.

  12 comments for “Plain Pilau

  1. Makullah Haruna
    February 4, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    This site is so helpful. Made myself some Pilau and i feel like an expert already. Thank You!! Keep adding more more. Tanzania Oyeee!! :)

  2. July 13, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Thanks for this recipe. We used this and the kachumbari recipe on World Cup of Food. The rice turned out great (we love adding a new rice preparation to the repertoire) and the salad was fresh-tasting and tangy. We look forward to trying more of your recipes.

  3. Lizz
    February 1, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    Wow i lyk ur recipe am goin to try it

  4. Diana
    November 25, 2011 at 3:01 AM

    Mbona vichwa vya habari kiswahili maelezo ya ndani kiingereza why? Wengine hatuelewi

    • November 25, 2011 at 3:29 PM

      The title of the recipe to be in Swahili also in English is to help a foreigner( someone who is not a Tanzanian. May go to Tanzania and want to order or someone to make her the same dish from Taste of Tanzania, some people who live in Tanzania may not know the dish in English. So the Swahili title will help a foreigner while in Tanzania. This site is also intended to talget Non-Tanzanians, as Majority of Tanzanians already know to prepare Tanzanian food. I am trying to Market our food abroad not only Tanzania. Let other country enjoy Tanzanian food.

      Mingi Love

  5. Louella
    November 15, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Thank you so very much for this long sought-after Tanzanian Pilau recipe!

  6. candy cruse
    September 29, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    Could there be a substitute for the coconut milk.

    • November 2, 2010 at 11:40 AM

      The substitute for the coconut is cream.

  7. penina
    August 4, 2010 at 6:06 AM

    The nice one

Comments are closed.