How to Make Ugandan Beef Pilau

UgandanbeefPilau is a traditional and fragrant rice dish that is made with many aromatic spices. These spices add an amazing depth of flavor to the rice. It can take on a sweet or savory taste according to how you spice it up. The pilau is most commonly made with beef or chicken. Let us learn how to make Ugandan beef pilau below.

What is Ugandan Pilau?

Pilau is a rice dish that is cooked with the addition of meat, spices, vegetables, and other ingredients. This dish traces its origins from South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East and has spread to different parts of the world like East Africa and Uganda in particular. It is a festive dish most especially during Eid celebrations.  This dish is made with rice cooked in a well-seasoned broth of Meat or chicken. Unlike the Asian style of cooking pilau with hot spices like curry, the Ugandan version is less spicy.

What makes the Ugandan pilau brown?

The brown color of the beef pilau is a result of caramelizing the onions, and browning the beef properly well during the cooking process.  Some pilau seasoning like pilau masala is also a contributing factor to the brown color of the pilau.

Ingredients used in making beef pilau

1 Tsp Cloves

2 tbsp Cumin seeds

1 Stick cinnamon

1/2 Tbsp black pepper seeds

12 pods Cardamom

2 cups of basmati rice

5 Irish potatoes medium – peeled and cut into quarters

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 Red onions medium – thinly sliced

4 cloves of garlic minced

2 tablespoons ginger minced

1 tablespoon of pilau masala

2 beef stock cubes

3 big tomatoes diced

500g of finely chopped beef slices

4 cups water

2 Bay leaves

Salt to taste

Step by step Instructions for making Ugandan Beef pilau

Making the Pilau Masala

It is essential for you to make your own fresh pilau masala right before you cook for the seasoning.

What is pilau masaala?

Pilau masala is the special pilau seasoning that is responsible for the unique flavor of the rice and aroma.

  1. Place the seasoning spices; cumin, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves into a dry pan.
  2. Roast the seasoning over low heat until it is warmed through and fragrant and blend until smooth. You can use a spice morter to pound them until they are finely smooth.
  3. You will need just 1 to 2 tablespoons of the pilau masaala seasoning for this recipe.

Making the Pilau

  • Heat a stockpot/ a deep based saucepan on a medium to a high heat. Add vegetable cooking oil and heat until it is hot but not smoking hot.
  • Add the sliced onions and fry for 10-15 minutes or till the onions starts to turn golden brown. Don’t let the onions to become black
  • Then add the garlic, ginger, and Cook them for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Next add the beef slices and mix well. Season the beef in the pan with pilau masala, beef stock cubes, bay leaves, and salt to taste. Cook until the meat browns and caramelizes stirring occasionally for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Now add the diced tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the tomatoes have become soft and finely cooked.
  • Stir in the diced Irish potatoes and add the water. Bring this mixture to a boil and cook it for about 10 minutes.
  • You can now stir in the rice.  Cover the cooking pot tightly with a foil paper or fitting cover to keep the steam in. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is readily cooked and all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Once the rice is dry, remove the foil paper and fluff with a fork to ensure the seasonings are well distributed all around the rice.
  • Serve hot preferably with vegetables and salads.

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