Recipe for tasty beef pilau

Now thatEid al-Adha is almost here, here is a recipe that will enable you to make the perfect beef pilau for you and your guests.


  1. Beef marinade:
    1. 1 kg beef, cubed or more depending on how many people you are cooking for
    1. 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
    1. 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
    1. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    1. 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1. Salt to taste
    1. Juice of 1 lemon
  2. Rice preparation:
    1. 3 cups basmati rice or more depending on the number of people you are cooking for.
    1. Water for soaking
  3. Cooking ingredients:
    1. 4 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee
    1. 2 large onions, finely sliced
    1. 2 large tomatoes, chopped
    1. 3-4 cloves
    1. 3-4 cardamom pods
    1. 2 cinnamon sticks
    1. 2 bay leaves
    1. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
    1. 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
    1. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1. 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1. 1 teaspoon ground cloves
    1. 1 teaspoon paprika
    1. 1 teaspoon black pepper
    1. 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1. 4 cups beef broth or water
    1. 1 cup coconut milk (optional)
    1. Fresh coriander leaves, chopped (for garnish)
    1. Fresh mint leaves, chopped (for garnish)
    1. Salt to taste


  1. Marinate the beef:
    1. In a large bowl, mix the yoghurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, salt, and lemon juice.
    1. Add the beef cubes and coat well with the marinade.
    1. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight for best results.
  2. Prepare the rice:
    1. Rinse the basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
  3. Cook the beef:
    1. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or ghee in a large pot over medium-high heat.
    1. Add the marinated beef and cook until browned on all sides. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
    1. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
  4. Prepare the pilau base:
    1. In the same pot, add the remaining oil or ghee.
    1. Add the sliced onions and cook until golden brown and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.
    1. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook until they soften and blend into the onions.
    1. Add the whole spices (cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cumin seeds, black peppercorns) to the onion-tomato mixture and sauté for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
    1. Add the ground spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, paprika, black pepper, nutmeg) and mix well.
  5. Combine beef and spices:
    1. Return the browned beef to the pot and mix well with the spices.
    1. Add the beef broth or water and bring to a boil.
    1. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the beef is tender.
  6. Add the rice:
    1. Add the soaked and drained rice to the pot.
    1. Pour in the coconut milk (if using) and add enough water or broth to cover the rice and meat mixture by about 1 inch.
    1. Stir gently to combine, taste, and adjust salt if needed.
  7. Cook the pilau:
    1. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
    1. Cover the pot tightly and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked and all the liquid is absorbed.
    1. Avoid lifting the lid frequently to ensure the rice cooks evenly.
    1. Once the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and let the pilau sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes.
    1. Fluff the pilau with a fork.
  8. Garnish and serve:
  • Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and mint leaves.
  • Serve hot with a side of chapati, kachumbari (tomato and onion salad), or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Enjoy your delicious beef pilau and have a wonderful celebration during Eid.


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