Shule ya kupika: Pilau

Today Joyce and Mary were coming to teach us to cook pilau, Swahili style. But first, the pups needed a bigger enclosure.


Mary prepares the jiko, on which most cooking is done here (we have a gas cooker, but it’s more expensive to run than charcoal). And pilau, cooked properly, needs the jiko.


Joyce starts, pounding cumin, cinnamon and peppercorns with a pestle and mortar.


I was tasked to crush garlic to a paste with the pestle and mortar, adding tangawizi (ginger) too. Awesome smell = this is the way to prepare garlic!


Meanwhile Mary chopped tomatoes and Imelda chopped onions, then Joyce grated carrots onto the tomatoes.


Out on the jiko, nyama ya ng’ombe (beef) was boiling.


Now to cook the pilau: put a big sufuria on the jiko and add cooking oil. When hot, add the onions and stir from long range. When the onions are almost cooked, add the garlic and ginger paste.


Add the spices and meat and cook up.

Meanwhile, Meld and Mary picked over the rice.


Joyce added the tomatoes and carrots to the sufuria, covered and cooked until the tomatoes broke down.


Then she added water to the pot and boiled it up.


The rice, now washed, was added in handfuls to the soup in the sufuria.


The mix was covered and cooked for a while, then removed from the heat. Now comes the black art! The pot is covered with newspaper and the lid replaced. The hot charcoal is transferred from the jiko to the lid, and the whole lot is transferred back onto the jiko.


Gloria wears mum’s leso


Some time later, the heat has had its effect: the pilau has a crunchy top which is removed and discarded, and below is the sweetest pilau.


The pilau is served with kachumbari – a salad of sliced tomatoes, onions, cucumber, grated carrot, pili pili chillis and lemon juice.



  1. Sally says:

    Yum! (Without the beef of course)

  2. harrison says:

    Nice pilau, yam, yam:)

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