Pilaf rice or pilaw is a typical dish from Indian cuisine and other parts of the Middle East. The rice is sautéed in oil before adding broth and includes vegetables, spices, and other ingredients. In an ancient Hindu book, the Mahabharata, a recipe for rice cooked with meat is mentioned and is called pulao or pallao.
There isn't a single pilaf rice recipe, but many versions. For example, with chicken, beef, fish, or just vegetables. The rice used is long-grain and spices such as ginger or curry are added. If you like rice recipes, don't miss this one - it's easy, very tasty, and suitable for vegans! On this website, we guide you step by step.
Rice in history
Scientists estimate that rice has been a staple food for about 12,000 years. The earliest dated record of its use was found in the Yangtze River valley in China, dating back 10,000 years. No records of bowls or pots for cooking rice have been found until about 7,000 years ago in the Neolithic era. This suggests that cooked rice probably emerged around or just after these utensils became available.
It's likely that pilaf rice originated in India as the word Pilaf seems to derive from the Indo term "Pula," meaning a rice and meat dish. Another theory is that it comes from the Sanskrit word "Pulāka," which translates as a portion of boiled rice. Other sources believe Pilaf might derive from ancient Persia, which bordered ancient India. The hypothesis is that rice cultivation was imported to India from there. The Greeks were conquered by the Persians and adopted the Pilaf, which they called Pilafi. Modern Greek cookbooks feature pilafi recipes that combine rice with mussels, chicken, dill, mint, or goat's yogurt.
Ingredients for Pilaf Rice for 4 people
- Long rice – 400 g
- Chicken broth (or vegetable for vegans) – 900 ml
- Grated carrot – 1 unit
- Onion – ½ unit
- Garlic cloves – 2 units
- Grated ginger – 2 teaspoons
- Raisins – 60 g
- Chopped almonds – 60 g
- Salt - to taste
- Ground saffron or coloring – ¼ teaspoon
- Extra virgin olive oil – 2 teaspoons
- Pepper – a pinch
- Curry – ¼ teaspoon
- Chopped parsley – 2 tablespoons
- Lemon juice – From one lemon
How to make the recipe Pilaf Rice
- Wash and grate the carrot and ginger, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic cloves, though leave these in larger pieces. In a pot or pan over medium heat, add the oil and sauté the vegetables with the ginger for about two minutes.
- Add the rice, reduce the heat, and sauté without adding broth for another two minutes.
- Then, add the broth, saffron or coloring, salt and pepper, curry, and some parsley. Add the raisins and chopped almonds and cook for 15 minutes on medium heat. Squeeze a lemon and add its juice to the rice, turn off the heat. Cover the container with a cloth and let it rest for five minutes.
Notes and Tips
This pilaf version is vegan-friendly, but you can make it with chicken, beef, or pork. Sauté the meat with the vegetables in fairly large pieces (so they don't dry out) and then add the rice and cook for the recommended time. Did you like the recipe? If you want, you can see other delicious rice recipes like the easy Chinese rice.