East African Pilau Rice

Are you even Somali if you don’t have a rice dish at least once a week? This dish is a super easy one and it goes well with just about any side that you can think of!

The lightly spiced rice combined with the sweetness of the raisins is an amazing combination. If you’re not a fan of raisins, feel free to leave them out. I just highly suggest you try it at least once. It’s really that good!

This Bariis is lightly seasoned, for a more intense flavor, add 1 tablespoon of curry powder, and a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne!

Bariis – East African Pilau

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  • 1 1/2 tbsp Cumin
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Coriander
  • 2 tbsp Chicken Bouillon
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 8 pieces Cloves
  • 8 pieces Cardamom (or 1 tbsp powdered cardamom)
  • 1 Stick Cinnamon (or 1 tsp powdered cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp Red or Orange Food Coloring
  • 1/4 cup Golden Raisins
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 large Onion
  • 2 Medium Shallots Finely Sliced
  • 3 cups Basmati Rice
  • 4 1/2 cups Water
  • 5 tbsp Oil


  • Soak your rice in cold water for 30 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, rinse out the starches in the rice until the water runs clear
  • Dice your onions and chop the shallots into thin long strips
  • In a mortar and pestle, pound together the cilantro and garlic into a paste
  • In a pot heat your oil
  • Add in the onions and cook them until they are translucent
  • Add in all your spices
  • Add in the cilantro + garlic mix
  • Add in your rice and lightly toast it. Make sure you do not burn the rice or the spices
  • Add in the water
  • Once it gets to a boil, reduce the heat down to the lowest setting and cover the pot with a tight lid. Do not uncover the pot for at least 20-25 minutes.
  • Once the rice is fully cooked, lightly fluff it with a fork
  • Add in your raisins and gently incorporate them into the rice. The heat of the rice will soften them
  • Add in the food coloring and gently mix it in
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One Comment

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