Goat Pilau

One of the blessings of being married to someone from a different culture is the new foods you get to try and then learn to make. Pilau is a Kenyan favorite and made during special occasions or holidays. It is a hearty dish made with meat and rice, sometimes potatoes are added to make it stretch further. The rice used is basmati which is soaked prior to cooking, this prevents the rice from sticking.

The meat is perfectly cooked in a mixture of spices called Pilau masala. You can buy pre-made Pilau masala in Kenya but it isn’t readily available in stores from what I have seen. However, the spices used are the same used in Indian cooking so this recipe will tell you have to make the masala as well.

Preparation Time – 20 Minutes

Cook Time – 1 1/2 Hours


Goat/ Beef – 2 lbs, bone in and cut into one inch pieces

Potatoes – 3, cut approximately the same size as the meat

Basmati Rice – 3 Cups, washed, soaked for 15 minutes and drained

Water – 5 1/2 cups

Onions – 2, chopped

Garlic – 6 cloves, minced

Ginger – 3 tablespoons, minced

Green Chili – 4, chopped finely

Ghee – 1/3 cup

Salt – 3 1/2 Teaspoons or as to Taste

For the Masala:

Bay leaves – 4

Cinnamon – 4 inches

Cardamom – 10

Fenugreek – 1/8 Teaspoon

Cumin – 2 Teaspoons

Pepper – 1 Teaspoon

Coriander seeds – 2 Tablespoons

Star Anise – 2

Cloves – 6

Turmeric – 1 Teaspoon

For Garnish:

Cashews – 1/4 Cup

Raisins – 3 Tablespoons

Ghee – 2 Tablespoons


The first step is to make the Pilau Masala. Put all the masala ingredients in a coffee grinder or spice grinder, reduce to a fine powder.


In a large pot, heat the ghee and fry the onions, a 1 1/2  teaspoon of salt, garlic and ginger till golden brown. Then add your masala and fry till you smell the aroma, about 30 seconds.


Next add the tomatoes and green chillies. Cook down till the tomatoes disintigerate and the ghee starts to seperate.


Add the goat meat and another teaspoon of salt. Cook for about 45 minutes or till the meat is tender.


Now add the potatoes and cilantro mix well. Cook for about 7 minutes, we want it to be partially cooked but not all the way.


Add the rice, water and rest of the salt. You may need to add more salt now, so when you taste the water it should taste slightly salty but not very salty. This way when the rice and the potatoes are cooked the salt will be absorbed and the dish will be well seasoned. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 8 minutes. Then shut the heat off, remove from the burner and let it continue to cook in the residual heat. Wait about 10 to 15 minutes before you open and then gently mix the rice and the veggies.


To make the garnish heat the ghee in a saucepan and fry the cashews till golden and then add the raisins and fry for a minute or so. Spread the garnish on top the rice before serving. This is an optional step.


We served this with Kachumbari which is similar to a pico de gallo. Generally people don’t tend to add this much heat/chillies to the dish but we like ours with a bit of spice.

The masala for this dish is where the taste might change from family to family but the directions are generally the same. Majority of the time this is made with goat or beef but I assume you could try chicken too, just reduce the cooking time to about 20 minutes or till done. So if you are looking for a challenge and a new dish to add to your meals, try this pilau out!

Happy cooking!

Things you may need to make this recipe:



14 Comments Add yours

  1. I think this is one my kids would like (except for the goat). The masalla looks gorgeous

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne Mutisya says:

      Ha ha yeah it might be weird to them. You could do beef or chicken if they like it better. Just adjust the cooking of the meat. But the masala is a great base to have!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, yes They’d eat either of those

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Anne Mutisya says:

        Great! We are used to goat in both our cultures. Beef is good too but the goat has a better flavor but maybe gamey to the kids.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t tend to see goat on sale here (though maybe that’s because I shop in a supermarket rather than at a butcher’s). Maybe I’ll keep an eye out for it, they’re pretty good at trying new foods


      4. Anne Mutisya says:

        Yeah we get it the butchers or Chinese supermarkets. If they like to try new things definitely be fun to introduce them to it!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds delicious! 😀


  3. Stephanie says:

    This looks delicious!! I’ve tried a goat curry before and loved it! Bookmarking this recipe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne Mutisya says:

      Oh then you may like this too! If you do try it let me know how it turns out.


  4. Sarah Sen says:

    Just made the Meat Pilau. Very tasty n flavor full! Love your recipes because it’s simple and easy to follow

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne Mutisya says:

      Thank you Sarah!! Glad you liked it 🙂


  5. jenniferlynn19881 says:

    Hey Anne, I commented but I am not sure if it worked so I’m going to leave another one! 😉
    This looks so comforting and cozy! Like a bowl of hugs!! I am a huge lover of potatoes and rice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne Mutisya says:

      Thanks babe! I am a meat potatoes and rice girl so it’s comfort food for me too.

      Liked by 1 person

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