Healthy Easy Pilau Rice

I don’t know about you, but having curry on Boxing Day evening has become a tradition in our household. Why? Because over the years, we’ve always had a lot of people staying around Christmas. Which also means a lot of mouths to feed. And not just any mouths, but hungry mouths of fully grown (now drunk) men, growing children and teenagers. The one year there was 17 of us. S-e-v-e-n-t-e-e-n. As much as I love Christmas, I do miss the Christmas’s when there were so many of us! It made everything that little bit more fun and alive!

Anyhow, doing a fancy rice to accompany an already home cooked curry might seem like a step too much effort. But not only does this require minimal effort, it looks the ticket too thanks to the turmeric’s golden yellow colour, so when you pop it on the table, you also get a bit of an ‘ooh!’. And we all know home made food is more impressive than shop bought or ready made!


It’s also a damn sight cheaper. And we all know how expensive Christmas can be..! Especially if you’re needing a lot of food for a lot of people. Try microwaving 10 packets of rice and getting them all out together, still hot. No. Don’t actually. That would be a monumental waste and only reward you with 10 luke warm packets of rice and several disappointed hungry people. Even if you’re getting a takeaway for the real McCoy of a curry, a home cooked rice can help reel in the pennies a little whilst still getting a treat – the best of both worlds.

So what’s so good about turmeric? It contains levels of curcumin, although not very much I admit. Hence the reason why you can find curcumin tablets on sale in health food shops like Holland and Barrett. Why? Well it holds incredibly strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So if you live in a city, an area of high pollution or you smoke, anti-oxidant rich sources are your best friend to help combat the higher levels of free radicals you will have. It can also increase levels of BDNF, a growth hormone in the brain  found to be depleted in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Curcumin is also fat soluble, so the coconut oil in the rice (and no doubt the curry) will aid its absorption. Anyway that’s just a brief skim over the nutritional benefits – the recipe is really what matters:



  • 10g coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 300g basmati rice
  • 560ml water
  • salt, to taste


  1. Get everything you need prepped and to hand: Wash the rice several times, until the water runs clear (don’t skip this part!). Slice the onion, put together the whole spices, and have the turmeric ready.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a large pan. Add the spices followed by the onion. Fry until softened and golden.
  3. Stir in the turmeric powder. Tip in the washed rice and add the water. Add enough salt to your taste. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer, and clamp a tight fitting lid on.
  4. Leave to cook for 7-8 minutes. After this, all of the water should have absorbed. Fluff up with a fork, pop the lid back on and leave for a couple of minutes before serving. You should have delicious, perfectly cooked fluffy aromatic rice.

Macros (1/6th): 201 calories, 4.5g protein, 40g carbs , 2.1g fat



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