E. African Seafood Pilau

Pilau la Mboga Jamii ya Samaki

This is my favorite type of pilau. Seafood pilau does not have to use shellfish only. You can use regular fish like tilapia. Just be careful not to mash the fish when you are cooking. The best thing is to deep fry the fish first. Boneless fish is the best option.


  • 1½ cup basmati rice
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1½ tbsp minced garlic
  • 1½ tbsp minced ginger
  • 1½ pilau masala
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lb. (1/2 kg.) potatoes
  • 3½ cups plain fish stock (you can replace with water)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil or more (to sauté onions)

Seafood Ingredients
Mussels, lobster, octopus and crabmeat is optional, feel free to replace with 1 ½ to 2 lb. (0.75 kg to 1 kg.) of prawns or shrimps

  • ½ lb prawns / large shrimps or a count of 10-12
  • ½ lb mussels with shell or a count of 10 – 12
  • 1 cups lobster tails, chopped chunks
  • 1 to 2 lb Octopus chopped chunks
  • 1 cup crabmeat

Clean seafood (except mussels). Marinade with salt and set aside for 30 minutes.

  1. Clean and boil mussels until they open. Always boil more than required just in case if you need to throw away bad ones that would not open. Do not use mussels that are not open after boiling. Then separate mussels from water, and set aside.
  2. Heat oven at 300°F/150°C.
  3. In a large pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil and brown the potatoes, at medium heat, then remove the potatoes and set aside. Use more oil if needed.
  4. In the same pan, sauté onions until golden brown, then add garlic. Cook until garlic start to turn golden brown. Then add pilau masala and stir for a few seconds. Then add tomatoes and ginger. Lower heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Simmer until the tomatoes soften. Use a cooking spoon to press the tomatoes while cooking to soften them quickly.
  5. Add rice and potatoes. Stir for one minute, then add seafood and 2 cups of fish stock or water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook until the water is absorbed. Taste for salt.
  6. Add remaining fish stock or water and salt if needed, cover the pan with foil and continue to cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until the rice is soft. Alternatively, you can finish to cook on the stove, but there is a chance the rice may burn at the bottom of the pan. Add water as needed.
  7. Serve with kachumbari and any vegetable stew.

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