Seafood Pilau

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.
Holiday pilau

Holiday Pilau

Pilau la sikukuu

Traditionally, we start to sauté onions, then garlic, and ginger, then pilau masala then Rise, but, it uses a lot of oil; to help use less oil, I have started with rice first and onions.


  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup Onions (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp crushed ginger
  • 2 tbsp Pilau masala
  • 1 cup Cashew nuts
  • 1 cup Sultanas/raisins.
  • ½ tsp Saffron (can be replaced with ¼ tsp turmeric)
  • 2 to 3 cups Boiling plain chicken broth or (chicken flavor cube mix in 2 cups of water)
  • ¼ – ½ cup Coconut milk (canned or the first(heavy) discharge of fresh prepared coconut milk
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Crushed Cilantro/Coriander leaves/dhania
  • Vegetable oil


  1. Heat oil on medium heat. Then, add rice and onions. Stir until the translucent color of rice starts to turn white.
  2. Add garlic, ginger and pilau masala. Continue to stir until the garlic is cooked. Then add saffron. Stir for a minute.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix boiling coconut milk with ½ cup of hot chicken broth.
  4. Add the coconut mixture to the rice.
  5. Cover the pot and turn heat to medium-low settings. Cook until the liquid is absorbed. Taste to see if you need to add salt.
  6. (Now you can tranfer to a baking dish if you are going to bake the rice).
  7. Then Add the rest of chicken broth, add cashew nuts, raisins/sultanas and cilantro/coriander leaves, mix well, cover or put in 350F oven to dry or until cooked.
  8. Serve hot with Kachumbari

I first post this in December 2011 at