Brown Rice Pilau

Servings : Serves 4-5

Although brown rice is a lot more nutritious than the more common white rice, many people hesitate to use it in their cooking because most find this rice a bit more temperamental during cooking, not as straight forward as the regular white rice.  But if cooked correctly, brown rice can be as tasty if not better than white rice, and with all those added benefits too!

Here’s how to make a wonderful brown rice pilau that can be served simply as I have, or enjoyed with kababs or curries.


  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 2 tbsp. oil or butter
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2-3 whole peppers
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic paste
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
  • 4 cups broth or water
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander


Washing the rice is always a good idea as it removes all impurities.  Rinse and change the water until the water runs clear.  Normally it takes about 3-5 changes of water to clean the rice thoroughly. Then soak it for 30 minutes.

Heat oil or butter in a pan, then add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and whole pepper.  When they start to splutter, add the chopped onions and fry on medium heat until onions are golden brown and fragrant.  Add the garlic paste, cumin powder and turmeric.  Give them a stir and then add the water or broth and the salt.  Immediately add the drained brown rice into the water and then allow to come to a simmer.

Lower the heat to medium and keep the pan covered, opening it occasionally to give the rice a quick stir.  As soon as the water begines to evaporate, lower the heat further and let the rice cook for about 20 more minutes until almost all the water is gone.  Then cover the pan with a tight lid and let it steam on very low heat for another 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let the pan rest for another 5-10 minutes.  Then open and fluff up the rice and serve hot, garnished with chopped coriander and with acommpaniments of your choice.  I normally serve this dish with some spinach using this Aloo Palak recipe minus the potatoes, some fresh yogurt, Lemon Pickle and sweet grapes


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