This morning I got up at 5.00 a.m. to write my first food blog and all I want to say is “Yum” period. Writing is hard; where do I start really; it’s 5.00; it’s already 27˚C in Grand Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire! Anyway, baby is sleeping, birds are chirping, roosters are crowing, dogs are barking and somehow it’s quite peaceful. Plus with a request of this recipe from a dear high-school friend of mine, it’s time to get it done. So here we go…

the delicious pilau

Rice is universal, the difference is in the way different people across the world choose to flavor it. Because of it’s plain taste stand-alone, it absorbs and adopts very well to different spices. Pilau Rice is a coastal dish in Kenya; eaten as a staple by the Waswahili people (they occupy the north coast strip of Kenya to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania and nearby islands like Zanzibar – my favorite, Pate and Lamu. Because Swahili cuisine, similar to the Swahili language has significant Arabic influence, pilau is quite rich in spices. This recipe is easy to make and the spice combination makes it “yum.” I finally said it! I’ve made it many times and the outcome is always a happy family and/or dinner guests.


  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 lb beef or mutton
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 tbsp pilau masala (has cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cumin & cardamom)
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cups water
  • Salt to taste



  1. Boil meat in salted water until tender.
  2. Sauté the onions until golden brown then add the pilau masala, garlic, curry powder, peppercorns and cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes.
  4. Soon as the tomatoes fall apart and become saucy, add the water and bring to a boil.
  5. Cook over low heat for another 15-20 minutes until all water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.



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