Festive Pilau

A simple, colourful and aromatic pilau. There are many variations on the pilau theme, some with uncoloured rice and some with meat. More elaborate pilaus are called biranis. These have more ghee and the meat is double the quantity of rice, and they are usually coloured with saffron or turmeric as is festive pilau.

Prep Time: 1 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 lb (455g) parma rice
  • 5 tbsp ghee
  • 2 onions, medium, finely chopped
  • 6 cardamoms, whole
  • 2” (5 cm) cinnamon stick, splintered
  • 4 cloves, whole
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron
  • 1 tsp. turmeric, ground
  • 5 cups (1140 ml) yakhni stock
  • salt to taste
  • 2 oz (55g) sultanas
  • 1 oz almonds, split, flaked, fried
  • silver or gold leaf (vark)


Wash rice and soak for 1 hour, drain thoroughly.

Melt ghee in pan. Fry onions and spices until onions are golden.

Fry rice for 5 minutes, stirring well.

Add yakhni stock, sultanas and salt to taste, lightly cover and cook for about 20 minutes over low heat. Do not disturb during this time. The rice should absorb all the stock.

Remove from heat, uncover and let stand for a few minutes.

Optional: mix in meat pieces from the yakhni preparation.

Garnish with almonds and vark (optional).