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Rice cooked with curried vegetables in one pot
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5 from 1 vote

Vegetable Pilaf

This dish is a spicy combination of rice and vegetables made the South African way
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: south african cooking, veg pilaf, vegetarian
Servings: 12



  • 3 cups long grain rice you can use Basmati if your prefer
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • salt
  • egg yellow food colouring


  • 7 cups vegetable i used green beans, carrots, peas and double/lima beans
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs curry leaf
  • Handful thyme
  • 1 tbsp ginger/garlic paste
  • Handful mint
  • 3 Roma tomatoes blanched and blended
  • 6 potatoes cut in halves
  • 100 gram butter
  • water

Whole Spices

  • 4 cinnamon stick
  • 4 bay leaf
  • 3 star aniseed
  • 2 black elachie/cardamom
  • 4 cloves
  • salt

Ground Spices

  • 2 tbsp masala
  • 1 tbsp kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tspn turmeric
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 4 tspn ground coriander
  • 1 tspn ground fennel/soomph
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil



  • Add the cinnamon sticks, cardamom and salt to the rice and cook until the rice is half cooked. Sprinkle some food colouring over, cover and set aside


  • Peel the potatoes and cut them in halves. You can boil them until it's half cooked and fry them before adding them to the Pilaf or you can add them raw. I did cook mine a little before adding it to the Pilaf but I did not fry them
  • Cut the vegetable, rinse well and set aside
  • Heat oil in a large flat pot. Add the whole spices, cinnamon, black cardamom, bay leaf, cloves and star aniseed and fry until fragrant
  • Add the onion, curry leaf and thyme and sauté until the onion is slightly brown
  • Add the ginger/garlic paste and sauté for a minute
  • Add the vegetable, excluding the potatoes and sauté for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the ground spices, masala, chilli powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, fennel and garam masala. Mix well and sauté for 5 minutes. You an add a few drops of water to prevent burning
  • Add the blended tomatoes and mint. Season with salt and simmer for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. You can add a half cup of water if liquid dries up before the veggies are cooked
  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Add the rice and potatoes once the veggies are cooked and mix well. Pour 2 cups of water over the rice and place the butter on top
  • Pop the Pilaf into the oven for an hour or until the rice and potatoes are cooked
  • After an hour if the rice and potatoes are still not completely cooked you can add another cup or 2 of water and cook for a further 30 minutes. You should have an idea as to how much cooking time is needed after an hour so add just enough liquid to allow it to finish cooking
    Rice cooked with curried vegetables in one pot


Depending on where you live the Pilaf may cook sooner than other areas. The amount of water you add to the Pilaf will depend on the cooking time. I added 5 cups of water to my Pilaf in total as the potatoes took much longer to cook at high altitude