‘Shahjahani’ Pilau

Servings : Serves 4-6

A flavourful and delicious pilau, topped with a spicy tender beef gravy. Garnished with eggs and fries to make a very enjoyable meal! 

Ingredients for Steak Masala

  • 1 kg cubes of boneless beef steak (boiled with a touch of salt, ginger, garlic and black pepper until tender, then drained and stock reserved for pilau)
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 700 gm tomatoes, chopped (about 3½ cups when chopped)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste/puree
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1-2 red or green chillies, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 4 large onions, sliced and fried until golden then crushed
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for Pilau

  • 4 cups basmati rice, washed 2-3 times then soaked for half an hour
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 5 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 tsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp blanched and slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • fries and boiled egg slices for garnishing
  • chopped green chillies and coriander for garnishing
  • fresh thick yoghurt for serving
  • 5 cups water or stock, warm (for every cup of rice, you will need 1 and quarter cups of liquid)


Steak Masala

First, boil the steak cubes in water seasoned with a quarter tsp each of salt, ginger and garlic pastes and black pepper powder until tender. Drain and reserve the stock which will be used for the pilau later.

Heat the oil, fry the sliced onions until golden. Remove and once they have cooled, crush them. Set aside. In the same oil, add the ginger and garlic pastes followed by the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste/puree, salt and red chilli powder. Cook until the gravy thickens and oil is released from the sides. Add the crushed fried onions and the boiled beef cubes and stir until the meat is well coated with the gravy. Add chopped green chillies and chopped coriander, and a squeeze of lemon juice.


Heat the butter and oil then add all whole spices, followed by the chopped onions. Fry until onions are translucent then add the slivered almonds and raisins …fry for a few seconds then add the reserved stock from boiling the beef. (I personally use 1 and quarter cups of stock/water for every cup of rice, but you can use as much as needed for the type of rice that you are used to).

Add the rice, let it come to a boil then add salt, cook on medium to low heat until the water dries then cover with a tight lid and steam for about 10-15 mins.

When ready to serve, fluff up the rice and serve it with the gravy on top, garnishing of choice sprinkled on and around the dish. Enjoy! 

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