Pilau with Beef Recipe from Kenya

Pilau with beef is a traditional and iconic dish in Kenyan cuisine. It’s often served during special occasions and celebrations such as weddings, birthdays, and holidays. But we have found it to make for an amazing dinner any time of the week.

There is much to celebrate at our program in Kenya. Last year alone, we distributed over 126,000 meals to local children in need. These meals are keeping children in school, restoring families, and spreading the gospel. It’s amazing what God can do with a simple meal. 

Making this dish might not be such a life-changing experience for you, but it will be an opportunity to try some new flavors, experience Kenyan culture with your family, and could open up some great dinner table conversations.

We hope you enjoy this delicious dish and that it connects you in a deeper way with our extended Kenyan family. If you’d like to learn more about what our Christ-centered and holistic children’s program is doing in Kenya, you can do so here.

Pilau with Beef (Kenya)

Forward Edge International
Pilau with beef is a traditional and iconic dish in Kenyan cuisine, it's often served during special occasions and celebrations such as weddings, birthdays, and holidays. But we have found it to make for an amazing dinner any time of the week. Connect with our Kenya program by making this delicious dish and learn how we're helping children in Kenya at www.forwardedge.org/kenya.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 serrano chile, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp pilau masala (see recipe or purchase on Amazon or specialty store)
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound beef sirloin, cubed
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt to taste


  • Heat a stockpot on medium-high heat. Add oil and heat until hot but not smoking.
  • Add the sliced onions and fry for 10-15 minutes or until the onions start to turn golden brown (be careful not to burn).
  • Add the garlic, ginger, serrano pepper, and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add the cubed beef, pilau masala, beef stock cubes, bay leaves, cilantro, and salt to taste. Cook until the meat browns and caramelizes, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes, until the tomatoes have released their liquid.
  • Stir in the potatoes and the water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice, and cover tightly with foil (to keep the steam in). Reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes, until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed.
  • Once the rice is dry, remove the foil and fluff with a fork to ensure the seasonings are well distributed throughout the rice.


You can substitute chicken and chicken stock for the beef and beef stock cubes. You can substitute beef stock for the water and cubes. This dish is great as leftovers -- making ahead and reheating will only increase the flavor.
Keyword beef, dinner, flavorful, kenya, pilau, rice, savory, traditional
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  • 5 yrs. old


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