Cashew nut pilau

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A variety of flavoursome rice dishes can be found across Africa. West Africa is famed for its jollof rice. Other rice dishes from that region include fried rice and waakye, a Ghanaian dish similar to Caribbean rice and peas. When I lived in Botswana, I discovered a popular East African rice dish upon visiting one of my Tanzanian friends for lunch. I had never tasted anything like it. It was fragrant, tasty and filled with Asian flavours that come out of India and the Middle East. In fact, East Africa in renown for its Indian and Arab influence. The rice dish was called pilau and can be made with or without meat. I have made a cashew nut version.


1/2 cup cashew nuts
2 cups basmati rice (washed to remove starchy residue)
3 tbsp ghee
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
5 cardamom pods, seeds ground and shell discarded
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black pepper
1 400ml can coconut milk
1 to 2 vegetable or chicken stock cubes
2 cups boiling hot water


1. Dry roast the cashew nuts in a pan until toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Heat up the ghee and add the rice and onions. Fry for a couple of minutes until coated.
3. Add the spices and garlic and fry to release fragrance.
4. Add the coconut milk and stock cubes. Transfer to your rice cooker (if using) and add the boiling water.
5. Cook on a low heat and stir occasionally to prevent ingredients from gathering at the bottom of the pot.

First published at AfricaOnTheBlog.


4 thoughts on “Cashew nut pilau

  1. Looks delicious! I did something a bit like this based on our own Levi Roots recipe – it was coconut rice with red kidney beans and chilli – he said its was a variation on rice and peas – a dish i was introduced to by our Jamaican neighbours (boy that chap knows how to cook yam!)

    • Hi trixfred30! Interestingly enough, the Ghanaian “waakye” I described is almost exactly “rice and peas”, just without the coconut milk. What on earth does your neighbour do with yam? Do you have the guts to try it? I want to know! I want to know!

      • Oh I’ve tried it. He basically lights a fire in the back garden and bakes it for about three quarters of an hour. Then he rips it open and we eat. (whilst he cadges fags (cigarettes) off me). Good times!

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