I was pretty excited when Minoo told me that Manijeh is going to share with us how to make Pilaf in the Caring Place Community Kitchen.  This will be another addition to the many rice recipes which I had blogged about in Chowtimes.com.

Manijeh shared with us that Pilaf originates from Persian around 500 BC.  Pilaf is a rice dish with meat or grain or vegetable.  It is very popular in Central America and South Asia.  Pilaf is usually spiced up with cumins, turmeric, cinammon, saffron and lots of herbs.

Manijeh also emphasized that a Persian woman is deemed as a good cook if she can cook good rice.  The rice cooking process is much longer than the way Chinese does it because the rice is cooked with meat or grain or vegetable.  Unlike Chinese who serves plain steamed rice with a few accompanying dishes.  It is the accompanying dishes which take times to prepare.


The Pilaf can be a meal by itself as it is rice, meat and lentils in it which are rich in carbohydrate, protein and fiber.  A side dish of vegetables will make it a complete meal.

This recipe is for 4 servings.


  • 250 grams ground beef (lamb or pork)
  • 2 cups long-grain or basmati rice (allocate 1/2 cup per person)
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • cooking oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Saffron (optional)



For this recipe, use a medium (about 2.5 litres or quarts) non-stick pot which has a lid.

pilaf-3-300x200Rinse the rice and lentils a few times until the water is clear.
pilaf-4-300x200Soak the rice and lentils in water for 1/2 to 2 hours depending the type of rice. The soaking will help to reduce the cooking time.  Add a couple teaspoons of salt to the soaking water to add flavour to the rice.
pilaf-6-300x200Dissolve some ground saffron with some warm water.  Set aside.
pilaf-5-300x200In a frying pan, saute the chopped onion with some cooking oil until the onion is golden brown and soft.
pilaf-7-300x200Season the onion with turmeric and black pepper.
pilaf-10-300x200Add ground beef.Break up the ground beef with a wooden spoon. Season the beef with salt and a teaspoon of saffron water. Simmer until the beef is thoroughly cook, set aside.
pilaf-16-300x200Rinse the raisins. In a small saute pan, saute the raisins with some oil until plump.
pilaf-12-300x200To cook the rice, bring a big pot of water to a boil. Season the water with generous amount of salt like cooking pasta.Add the lentil and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the rice and cook for another 15 minutes or until the rice is soften. Alternatively, you can cook both the lentil and rice together for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking together.
pilaf-13-300x200Drain the rice into a large strainer.
pilaf-14-300x200In a non-stick pot, add 1/2 tablespoons of oil and swirled to spread the oil evenly. Add enough saffron water to the pot to coat the bottom of the pot.
pilaf-15-300x200Return the rice to the pot. Use a towel to wrap the lid and cover the pot tightly with the lid.Cook the rice for 5 to 10 minutes over medium heat to get the water at the bottom of the pot to a boil and start steaming. When it starts steaming, reduce the heat to low and allow the rice to steam for another 20 minutes.
pilaf-17-300x200To serve the rice, get half a cup of the rice and mix it with some saffron water to add colour and flavour to the rice. In a large platter, layer with the rice without the saffron flavoring. Top with the saffron flavoured rice.
pilaf-19-300x200Sprinkle with raisin and top with the cooked beef.
pilaf-20-300x200The best part is the crispy rice left at the bottom of the pot. The crispy rice is called ‘ta-dig’.

Manijeh, thank you so much for sharing this Pilaf recipe.

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