Pilau rice

  • Servings : 2 Generous servings
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 17m
  • Ready In : 47m

Pilau rice with no bits. This is a subtle flavoured rice dish with saffron water and lovely flecks of saffron running through it, finished with a knob of butter for added richness.

My method here differs from the usual where you end up with crunchy bits of clove and cardamom scattered through the rice.

Basically it calls for making a flavoured water with the spices then removing them before cooking the rice. The method used for the cooking is exactly the same as I use for plain basmati. It takes a little longer but it’s well worth the effort.

Please, please don’t use easy cook basmati rice it’s awful stuff, in my opinion.

As Usual I have included pictures in the slider above to help you.


  • 300gm Basmati rice (not easy cook rice)
  • 10 Cardamom pods
  • 10 Whole cloves
  • 1 Star anise
  • 3 Bayleaves (dried or fresh)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 Tablespoon salt


Step 1

Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the salt. Add the spices and bring to simmer. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes. You will notice the water will take on the fragrance of those spices.

Step 2

Make the saffron water. In a small cup or whatever you have to hand add the saffron and 1 tablespoon hot water and allow to steep for 30 minutes. The water will go a wonderful colour.

Step 3

After 30 minutes remove the spices with a slotted spoon or fork. Add the rice and stir for a minute or so. Cook for about 14-17 minutes. Meanwhile go boil a kettle full of water. Keep testing the rice during cooking, it should be cooked but slightly firm to the bite. NOT CRUNCHY OR HARD.

Step 4

Now drain the rice through a colander, pour over the water from the boiling kettle. allow some of the hot water back in the saucepan. Place the colander on the saucepan and clamp a lid on it and put it back on the cooker without heat. Leave for 5 minutes to finish draining. Sprinkle on the saffron water over the rice then fluff up gently with a fork. Finish with a knob of butter.

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