Lamb Pilau Rice

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Lamb pilau rice is a savoury rice dish cooked in spiced lamb stock. It’s sort of a one-pot dish that contains comfort carbs of the rice with nutritious protein of the lamb meat.

An oval dish of Lamb pilau rice with a blue napkin on the background.

Fluffy rice with a delicious spice aroma and the savory taste from the meat stock combined with meltingly tender meat is the best to describe this lamb pilau rice. 

What is lamb pilau rice?

Lamb pilau rice is a savory rice dish cooked in spiced lamb stock. It’s sort of a one-pot dish that offers comfort carbs of the rice with nutritious protein of the lamb meat.

Allegedly, it is a dish influenced by Persian pilaf rice, which is rice cooked in aromatic spiced stock. 

Lamb pilau rice in an oval white dish with spoon and fork next to it.

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And the stock will use the main ingredient as its base. Therefore, there are so many types of pilau rice. They’re different from one another depending on the primary element of the stock.

You can find my recipes of chicken pilau rice, vegetable pilau rice, and yakhni mutton pulao rice that I’ve shared in the past. 

Now, I’m sharing the recipe for the one with the lamb.

What do you serve the pilau with?

Traditionally, pilau rice is served with curries or sides with a lot of gravy such as aloo gosht, chicken shorba, or chicken korma. 

And often, vegetable curry such as aloo palak (potato and spinach curry) will be on the menu. 

This rice dish often appears among the food spread for gatherings and celebrations. 

Key ingredients

In principle, every pilau rice dish uses similar (if not the same) spices in its stock. However, the proportion of each item makes a significant difference in the end result. And this depends on the main ingredient of your pilau stock.

For example, if you use chicken, you don’t need as many whole spices as you would need for lamb. And to make vegetable pilau, you will need even fewer spices. 

To make this pilau rice, you will need lamb, and whole spices like black peppercorns, cloves, black cardamoms, whole cumin seeds, whole coriander seeds, and cinnamon quill. You also need onions, ginger, garlic, bay leaves, and cooking oil. 

Needless to say, rice and salt will be among the items to make this rice dish.

Now, as for the rice, I strongly suggest you choose Basmati rice. Because the texture of this rice is the best for making pilau rice

If you can not get basmati rice, long-grain rice is the second-best option for this rice dish. 

A close up photo of Pakistani lamb pilau rice with blue napkin on the background.

Equipment you need

How to make delicious lamb pilau rice

In short, you have to make the lamb stock first before you cook the rice. Because the rice will be cooked in that stock.

So firstly, you chop one onion and fry it until it turns golden in color. Then you add in all other whole spices. Continue frying until the onion changes to light brown. If you want your pilau rice color to be brown, you have to fry the onion until its color becomes dark brown. But do take care so it won’t get burned.

Next, add the whole onion, ginger, garlic, and salt. Then place the meat into the spices. Fry for about 2-3 minutes until the meat browns. 

Pour over the hot boiling water from the kettle and cook the lamb at medium-high heat.

When the water reboils, you will see some impurities floating on the surface. Try to skim off and discard them. Then turn the heat to low and slowly cook the lamb to simmer for about an hour.

When the stock is ready, take the meat out of the pot and strain the stock into another large pot. Then put the rice into the stock, and cook until the liquid has all evaporated. 

Lastly, turn the heat down and put the pan lid on to let the rice steam. 

Top tip to make the best pilau rice

  • Wash, rinse, and soak the rice before cooking for at least half an hour. You can see the rice grains will turn white opaque when soaked in the water.
  • The basic ratio of rice and water when cooking basmati rice is 1 and 1.5. So, for this recipe, you will need 4.5 cups of lamb stock. Therefore, you may want to measure the stock before you use it to cook the rice. Because if you put too much liquid, your pilau rice will be sticky.
  • The longer you cook the meat broth, the better the taste of your pilau will be. 
  • Choose the part of the lamb that has enough combination of bones, meat, and fat. So the stock will be more flavorsome. I usually choose either lamb shoulder or lamb neck. 

Storing matter

You can keep and store your lamb pilau rice in the freezer for up to 2 months. Take it out of the freezer the night before serving, and leave it to thaw in the fridge/ refrigerator overnight. And reheat the rice until it is piping hot before you eat it.

Once it has thawed, you must not refreeze it. 

This heartwarming rice dish is also a good choice for keeping. You can cook it in bulk on the weekend and keep it for the meal during the week. The rice keeps well in the fridge/ refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. 

More rice recipes from the Pakistani kitchen

Thank you for checking out this lamb pilau rice recipe. I hope you’re now thinking of trying it. When you do, can you please leave a comment below (leave a reply) on how you think about it? I’ll really appreciate it.

And check out my other Pakistani rice recipes that you may like.

Last but not least, please follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Take care and all the best.

Lamb Pilau Rice recipe

An oval dish of Lamb pilau rice with a blue napkin on the background.
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4.93 from 26 votes

Lamb Pilau Rice

Lamb pilau rice is a savory rice dish cooked in spiced lamb stock. It’s sort of a one-pot dish that contains comfort carbs of the rice with nutritious protein of the lamb meat.

Author: Devy Dar
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Pakistani
Servings: 6 portion

Equipment

  • Kitchen knife
  • Chopping board
  • Mixing bowls.
  • Colander
  • Large cooking pot
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • 21.16 ounces lamb shoulder cut in chunks.
  • 2 medium onions.
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled.
  • 2 inches ginger peeled.
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds.
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons whole coriander seeds.
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves.
  • 2 inches cinnamon quill/ stick.
  • 4 black cardamoms.
  • 3 bay leaves.
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt.
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil.
  • 5 cups water.
  • 3 cups basmati rice.

Instructions

  • Wash and rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Then soak the rice in plenty of water. Set aside.
  • Peel and chop one of the onions. Heat the oil in a large cooking pan and fry the onion until it turns golden. Do take care and keep stirring so the onion cooks evenly.
  • Then add the whole cumin seeds, whole black peppercorns, whole coriander seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon quill, black cardamoms, bay leaves, ginger and garlic. Toss and stir until the spices release a delicious aroma and the onion turns golden brown. 
  • Stir the lamb pieces in and fry until the meat turns brown. 
  • Peel and cut the other onion in two. Add it to the meat along with the salt.
  • Pour the hot boiling water from the kettle and cook until it reaches boiling point. Then turn the heat down. You will see the meat impurities floating on the water's surface. Skim it off and discard as much as you can. Continue cooking the stock until the meat is tender.
  • Next, take the meat pieces out and place them into another large cooking pan.
  • Then strain the broth into the meat and discard the onion, ginger, garlic, and other spices. You now should have around 4.5 cups of meat stock. 
  • Reheat the stock until it reboils. Then drain the rice and place it in the stock. Give it a good stir and cook at medium-high heat until all the liquid evaporates. You may have to stir it every now and again to ensure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Once all the stock liquid has gone, turn the heat down and cover the pan lid with a tea towel. Put the lid on and let the rice cook at low heat until the steam comes out. 

Notes

  • You may have to measure the stock before you use it for the pilau rice. For this recipe, you need 4.5 cups/ 1.125 ltr of stock. If your stock is less than this, you can easily add some water to make up the required amount. 
  • Take care when you boil the rice. You don’t want your rice to go soft and mushy. Therefore, cook the rice at medium-high heat, so it won’t cook for too long in the liquid. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 229mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

Disclaimer

Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.

What does pilau rice contain?

Lamb pilau rice is a one-pot dish that contains comfort carbs of the rice with nutritious protein of lamb meat.

Why is my pilau rice sticky?

Because it is overcooked and has too much liquid. If you put too much liquid when cooking pilau rice, the pilau rice will be sticky.

Can I use long-grain rice instead of basmati?

Yes, if you can not get basmati rice, you can use long-grain rice as to substitute.

What do you serve pilau with?

Traditionally, pilau rice is served with curries or sides with a lot of gravy such as aloo gosht, chicken shorba, or chicken korma. 
And often, vegetable curry such as aloo palak (potato and spinach curry) will be on the menu. 

What gives pilau the brown color?

 If you want your pilau rice color to be brown, you have to fry the onion until its color becomes dark brown. But do take care so it won’t get burned.

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