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Beef Pilau with Cashew nuts

Beef Pilau

Pilau is a rice dish that is considered a delicacy in East Africa. This beef pilau recipe is one of the many variations of this dish. Other variations would include goat meat, mutton and chicken.

Pilau is considered a must have at any kenyan event e.g weddings and family gatherings. However, it is proficiently prepared by communities along the Kenyan coast where it is believed to have originated from.

Beef pilau.


  • 500g diced beef.
  • 1 red  onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • 10 black pepper corns
  • 6 cloves
  • 5 cardamoms
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick  (1″)
  • 2-4 potatoes
  • 2 cups of basmati rice
  • Roasted cashew nuts
  • Salt to taste

Let’s Cook!

Take the diced beef and place in a sauce pan with water to boil. In the sauce pan, add two crushed cloves of garlic and ½” of the ginger root, crushed too.

While the beef is boiling, crush the spices using a motar and pestle. Usually, I don’t obliterate the spices, but just break them down a little bit. Once you can get a whiff of the pleasant aroma (which presents almost immediately) , you may stop pounding. You may opt to roast the spices too, to bring out their flavours.

When the beef is ready, set it aside and drain the stock. Set the stock aside as we shall use it later.

In a separate sauce pan, add some vegetable oil and when hot, pour in the diced onions. Cook the onions until they are caramelized and brown.

Next, add the crushed spices and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Quick Tip

To avoid the onions burning, and the spices just after the onions have softened and began to get aromatic. This is because, as the spices cook, the onions are cooking too! 😉

Okay, so the spices are cooking and the kitchen is beginning to smell promising. Now is the time to add the potatoes. Allow to cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Cover the sauce pan.

In the meantime, wash the rice. Also, boil some water in the kettle.

After five minutes are up, take the beef and pour into the pan with the potatoes. Increase the heat at this point and mix well.

Take the rice and include it in with the beef. Mix well.

Remember the stock that we set aside from boiling the beef? Yup, this is where it comes in. Using the same size cup that you used to measure the rice, use it to pour in the stock into the sauce pan.

When the stock runs out, use the hot water in the kettle. I use 5 cups of fluid  (stock included). At this point, burst open the pack of cashews and pour in a handfull of nuts into the pot. From this point on, just cook as you would a decent pot of rice 😊

As the pilau is doing its thing over at the stove, whip up a quick salsa of diced onions and tomatoes with a dash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt.

Serve this beef pilau with the salsa and some banana discs. There is something about pilau and banana…yin and yang…sweet and savory…a must try!

Beef Pilau

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