Beef Pilaf

The Pilaf is one of that vast range of dishes that involve rice boiled in a savory liquid and is thus in the same class of phenomena as paella, jambalaya and risottos. The word pilaf is of Persian origin, and this one is typically south-west Asian in its use of lamb, cinnamon, allspice, dried fruits and nuts. Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients. It is actually very simple.



½ teaspoon cinnamon.

½ teaspoon allspice.

½ teaspoon ground ginger.

¼ teaspoon white pepper.

Salt to taste.

250g beef mince.

1 cup jasmine rice.

½ cup sultanas.

½ cup chopped nuts [e.g. cashews, pistachios].

½ cup chopped dried fruit [e.g. apricots, cherries, cranberries etc].

2 tablespoons tomato paste.

2 cups vegetable stock or water.

¼ cup olive oil.

2 cups fresh herbs, [e.g. spring onion, celery leaves, mint, coriander, parsley] finely chopped.



Mix the spices and the salt together and stir into the meat, mixing well. Set aside. Mix the rice, nuts, sultanas, chopped dried fruit, tomato paste and stock [or water] in a bowl, stir well to combine, and set aside. Leave sitting for a couple of hours to allow the sultanas to plump up. Chop and mix the herbs, place in a bowl and set aside.



Heat the oil in a sauté pan on a high flame and cook the meat, stirring well until fully browned. Add the rice mixture, bring to the boil, stirring to mix thoroughly, then reduce heat to a bare simmer and cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook for eighteen minutes then remove from the heat, still covered, and allow to sit for a further ten minutes; timing is critical, so use a timer.

Fluff up the rice, adding the mixed herbs, and serve on hot plates with a yoghurt nut mixture on the side.


Serves: 2.

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