Vegetable Palav (Pilaf)

Rice and vegetables cooked in fresh herbs and spices

  1. Wash rice and drain in a colander for 30 minutes.

  2. To prepare masala: Heat oil in a small fry pan , fry onion until soft. Stir in chillies, garlic and ginger. Add coriander and mint, fry until leaves wilt. Remove from heat and then stir in garam masala. When the mixture is cool, grind to a fine paste gradually adding water, a little bit at a time. Transfer to a bowl. Wash the blender with ½ cup of water, add to masala paste. Keep aside.

  3. Heat 4 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat and add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and bay leaves. Fry until they release aroma (20-30 seconds). Add onion, sauté until translucent.

  4. Add rice; stir gently until uniformly coated with spices. Add vegetables, masala paste, 1 ½ cups water and salt. Mix well. Cover the saucepan partially, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook until all the water is absorbed (15 minutes). Turn off the heat; but do not remove the lid for 10 more minutes. Fluff up the palav gently. 

  5. Garnish with almond flakes. 

Serve with a yoghurt dish

Note: discard whole spices and bay leaves prior to serving.


Per serve: energy 1280 kJ (306 cal); protein 7 g; fat 15 g; saturated fat 2 g; cholesterol 0 mg; carbohydrate 31 g; fibre 12 g; calcium 136 mg; iron 2.5 mg; sodium 856 mg

Serves 3 


1 cup (brown) basmati rice


2 teaspoons peanut or extra virgin olive oil

½ cup diced onion

1-3 green chillies, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon chopped ginger

¼ cup chopped coriander leaves

¼ cup chopped mint leaves

1-2 teaspoons garam masala

4 teaspoons peanut or extra virgin olive oil

4 cm piece cinnamon, broken into 2 pieces

4 cloves

4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

3-4 bay leaves

½ cup sliced onion


4 cups chopped vegetables (beans, carrot, cauliflower)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons almond flakes, lightly toasted