Green Gram Pilau

Servings : Serves 4-6

Pilau is a very versatile rice dish, and I like to come up with new ways of presenting this meal so that it isn’t a boring same-old type of dish whenever I prepare it. In this version, I have incorporated green gram in the pilau and served the dish with pan-fried meatballs and cubed potatoes. As with all pilaus, the meal goes beautifully with yoghurt, tomato chutney and kachumbar.

Ingredients for the Pilau

  • 2 cups long grain basmati rice
  • 1 cup green gram
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 5 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder (freshly ground)
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder (optional)
  • 1 heaped tsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed garlic or garlic paste
  • 4 cups water or stock
  • salt to taste
  • chopped coriander

Whole Spices

  • 1 tbsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. whole black pepper
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamom


Wash and soak the green gram for 3 hours, then boil until tender and drain. This can be done even a day ahead and refrigerated.

Wash and then soak the rice for 30 minutes.

Heat oil and butter in a pan, add the whole spices, once they start to splutter, add the onions and fry until they brown but do not let them burn. Then add the garlic followed by the tomato paste and powdered spices. Stir and then add the pre-boiled green grams. Stir them in so they are well coated by all the flavours. Then add water or broth. For this pilau I use 2 cups of water for every cup of rice. For most of my other pilau and rice dishes, I usually require just 1 and a quarter cups of water per cup of rice but since this pilau has green gram in it, they will absorb some of the moisture during cooking (even though they have been pre-boiled). Allow the water/broth to come to a boil. Then add salt and the rice plus chopped coriander.

Let this cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes then reduce the heat to medium and keep cooking it whilst covered until the water diminishes, giving it a stir every now and then to make sure all the rice is cooked evenly and perfectly. Once you find there is very little water left in the rice, reduce the heat to the lowest point possible. Seal your pan by using a tight lid or wetting a kitchen towel and placing it over the pan then placing a lid on top of it.

Leave the rice to continue steaming on very low heat for a good 10 mins. Switch off, and serve with accompaniments of your choice!

Enjoy!  🙂


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