Basmati Rice Pilaf

Basmati  Rice Pilaf Recipe

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Vickie Parks


In Nepal, this dish is called Nepali Pulao. It's served at special occasions such as parties and weddings. But it's good enough to enjoy any day of the week. Basmatic rice has the best flavor for this recipe, but you can also use plain white rice as well.


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4 to 6 (Prep includes time needed to soak rice)
1 Hr
20 Min


  • 1 1/4 cups
    uncooked basmati rice (regular white rice works ok, but basmati offers the best flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp
    vegetable oil
  • 1/3 tsp
    ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground turmeric
  • 1
    bay leaf
  • 2
    whole cloves
  • 2
    black cardamom pods
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp
    fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp
    garlic, minced or finely chopped
  • 2
    green chilies, minced
  • 1 medium
    onion, chopped
  • 1/2 large
    tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup
    green peas
  • 2 1/2 cups
  • 1
    teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 Tbsp
    lemon juice, fresh squeezed if possible

How to Make Basmati Rice Pilaf


  1. Rinse rice thoroughly 2 or 3 times, then soak in cold water for about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add cumin and let heat until it just starts to change color. Add turmeric, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. Stir in the ginger, garlic and chilies, and cook over medium heat for just a minute or so.
  3. Add onion, tomato and green peas, and cook for 3 minutes more. Drain the rice and add rice to the skillet, stirring gently for a minute or until thoroughly blended. Add water, and season with salt. Cook on high heat, stirring constantly. When water is almost all absorbed, stir in lemon juice.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover skillet, and allow the rice to simmer slowly for approximately 5 to 7 minutes, or until the rice is completely cooked. Serve immediately.

Printable Recipe Card

About Basmati Rice Pilaf

Course/Dish: Rice Sides
Main Ingredient: Rice/Grains
Regional Style: Asian

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