Recipes > Pilau Rice

Pilau Rice


Fluffy white rice is cooked with coconut milk and finished with green onions, cilantro and crispy fried onions.
  • Serves: 4
  • Active Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Views: 81,538
  • Success Rating: 94% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Preparing the Rice

Preparing the Rice
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup basmati or jasmine rice
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 cup green onions (approx. 3)
  • 3/4 cup crispy-fried onions


To start the rice, heat up a rice cooker and then add the oil, followed by the diced onions. Saute until translucent.

Add the rice and sauté for a few minutes or until the rice is coated in the oil and is slightly translucent. Add the cold water, coconut milk, salt and pepper. Place the lid on the rice cooker (making sure the rice cooker is still on, and has not switched to the warm setting). Let cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until it switches off indicating that the rice is done.

Roughly chop the cilantro and green onions. Fold them into the rice, along with the crispy fried onions.

Chef's Notes

Pilau Rice with Crispy Fried Onions is proof that plain white rice need never be dull. This is a wonderful way to eat rice any day of the week.

When making this rice, just be sure to add the cilantro, green onions and crispy fried onions right before serving.

You can use any kind of long grain white rice but basmati or jasmine have a natural fragrance that helps make this Pilau Rice so fantastic.

Also, you can make crispy fried onions yourself, but we prefer to buy them because they’re inexpensive, cooked to perfection and have a long shelf life.


  • Lisa N
    Lisa N
    I put a full cup of coconut milk in this...i LOVE coconut milk so figured it would taste even better! Well i was wrong. the rice looked super gross and the coconut taste was way too perfumey. c'est la vie. the onions kick ass tho!
  • Wendy ann M
    Wendy ann M
    I have tried all reciepes and I don't think I can live without rouxbe again, I'm hooked for life. Please send some reciepes with lamb, veal chops, sqid and calamaries. Everything is so detailed and easy to understand, wonderful keep up the good work and keep us happy cooking with new reciepes. I'll keep the friendship list coming. Wendy
  • Sharifah  S
    Sharifah S
    i have tried this recipe it is so delicious i have change the coconut milk to fresh milk the spring onions to mints leaves it is totally different taste it is so nice try out Sharifah
  • Steven E
    Steven E
    This really turned out well. Next time I plan to try it with flat leaf parsley rather than cilantro as I'm not the biggest cilantro fan in the world. I made this with the pancetta wrapped halibut. excellent meal.
  • Tomoko Y
    Tomoko Y
    Hi, we tried to cook this great recipe. it was very tasty! I cant forget this taste. Regrettably, rice was very soft. maybe... we misunderstood quantity of water. we should try it again soon!!
  • Azman J
    Azman J
    cook and cook
  • Jeanine J
    Jeanine J
    This was a very tasty recipe, fun mix of textures, easy to make and all around great stuff.
  • Antigoni P
    Antigoni P
    easy to make in a very ruchy day..
  • Sean D
    Sean D
    An easy way to add colour to rice is to put in a half teaspoon of turmeric. Just add it to the rice while it cooks, and you'll get a nice yellow colour. A lot of people like the added colour. I am a big rice buff, and to me rice is rice (I love it anyway). But if you want it to look really yummy, try the turmeric trick.
  • Farissa E
    Farissa E
    Is there a recipe for these?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Hi Farissa, You can follow the same process for making crispy fried onions by referring to this recipe for Fried Shallots. Whichever onion you choose to fry, whether it is a red onion, yellow onion or shallot, just make sure the slices are very thin and all of the same size so they cook evenly. Hope this helps.
  • Farissa E
    Farissa E
    Thanks Kimberley I will try it...=)
  • Marsel N
    Marsel N
    In Cartagena de Indias , Colombia we always as atypical dish brown coconut rice and I am now doing it with crispy onions,it is just delicius. thanks Dawn
  • Dean O
    Dean O
    Great dish ! the coconut milk in it is superb. I made it with my own crispy onions ... next time i will buy. For sure it will upgarde it.
  • Divina C
    Divina C
    I love this rice. I haven't made it in a long time. It's time to use those coconuts in the garden for some fresh coconut milk. This is very good. Very sexy voice too.
  • Jacqueline B
    Jacqueline B
    I want to make this tomorrow night for friends. Do you think I could use the lite coconut milk with the same results? Thanks
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    You can use lite coconut milk, the rice will just not be quite as rich but it will still be delicious. Cheers!
  • Geni P
    Geni P
    I just made this following my first foray into home made coconut milk. It was wonderful! Realizing that fresh coconut is not nearly as sweet as commercial I added a packet of Stevia and it turned out wonderfully. I also added about 1/4 package of frozen peas and some leftover shrimps from last night's dinner. All I can say in Yum! I will definitely be making this rice again.
  • Jacqueline B
    Jacqueline B
    Hi There: I made this a while back and used "lite" coconut milk and it was, okay. I made it tonight following the recipe to a tee and it was just great. I will make again and for my guests, just delicious and easy. Thank you Rouxbe!
  • George S
    George S
    Did it today with some chicken and deglazed the chicken pan with white wine, some roux and tadaaa, great dinner!
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Great to hear George! Keep up the good work. Cheers!
  • Bryan L
    Bryan L
    Tried this with Tilapia bathed in Tarragon butter with just a hint of lemon zest; the wife went nuts. Or, maybe it was the Savignon Blanc. In any case, we both enjoyed it tremendously. The heavenly lightness of the fish with a nice crisp wine really went well with the slightly sweet flavor of this rice.
  • Denise P
    Denise P
    Dear dawn. Am I correct to say it will turn out the same if I cook it in a pot? I do not have a rice cooker
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    You are correct Denise, you will get relatively the same results if you cook the rice in a pot. Cheers!
  • Marilyn
    My rice turned out sticky. What caused this? Yours looks so fluffy.
  • Marilyn
    I didn't use a rice cooker. My rice came out sticky, what could I have done wrong?
  • Christina A
    Christina A
    It's hard to say exactly why your rice turned out sticky as there are so many variables. For instance, was the rice soaked before hand? Was the heat too high? Was there too much liquid added? Did you rest the rice after it was cooked? Some rice - even the same type of rice - sometimes calls for different measurements, so it's a good idea to refer to the package. However, with that said, the package is not always right. This is where you need to experiment to tweak the amount of liquid to the rice. To help you learn, it is best to experiment with the same rice—only next time just use a bit less water and be sure to let the rice rest afterwards. Hope that helps. Review the lesson on "Making Pilau Rice" for a bit more information and tips on cooking rice. Bon Appetit!
  • Ann K
    Ann K
    What are your thoughts on freezing cooked rice?
  • Christina A
    Christina A
    Freezing cooked rice is a great way to cut your cooking time down for future recipes. After you have cooked your rice be sure to spread it out on a baking sheet and allow it to cool and dry out a little before freezing it. This will help eliminate any moisture that may cause ice crystals in the freezing process. I find the best types of rice to freeze in order to keep great texture, are short grain brown rice and wild rice. Hope that helps. Bon Appetit!
  • Marilyn
    I think the problem was the heat, i made it again and it turned out much better. Practice makes perfect, so I will practice.
  • Bryan L
    Bryan L
    Way late on a reply, but if you're still out there, it may be caused by a lack of oil or not sautéing until the rice is fully opaque - or both. That's what happen to me my first few attempts at rice pilaf. The recipe is spot on in my opinion, so maybe sauté a bit longer to reach the necessary opacity. Best of luck. You can do it!
  • Cathy L
    Cathy L
    Are the directions any different if not using a rice cooker?
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Cathy, when you make pilaf/pulau/pilau in a pan on the stovetop, the procedure is basically the same. Pay attention to the rice to liquid ratio for your rice. Then, cook the rice, with a lid, on moderate heat. Finding the best heat setting may take a little practice depending on your burner. Then, cook the rice until it's done. And, consider checking it midway through the process to make sure everything is OK.
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Cathy, when you make pilaf/pulau/pilau in a pan on the stovetop, the procedure is basically the same. Pay attention to the rice to liquid ratio for your rice. Then, cook the rice, with a lid, on moderate heat. Finding the best heat setting may take a little practice depending on your burner. Then, cook the rice until it's done. And, consider checking it midway through the process to make sure everything is OK.
  • Ingela B
    Ingela B
    Would brown jasmine rice work for this dish? Or brown long grain rice?
  • Sandy S
    Sandy S
    Hi Ingela, Brown rice could work but you would have to extend the cooking time. Some rice cookers have a "brown rice" setting, if you are using one. Otherwise, cook for about 35 minutes, if you are going manual, and check. If underdone, you can continue cooking (if there is still some liquid, otherwise add some before continuing). Hope that helps! Cheers, Sandy
  • Riaz M
    Riaz M
    Could I add an acid such as lemon juice to the cooking liquid to give some freshness to the dish?if so how much would be a good starting point in Ml/grams.thank you.
  • Demetra S Rouxbe Staff
    Demetra S
    Hi Riaz- I would suggest adding fresh lime to compliment the cilantro and coconut; a squeeze of half of a lime to finish. Then, taste and add more to taste if you desire.
  • Riaz M
    Riaz M
    Could I add sugar to balance the profile?if so how much as a starting point?thank you and much appreciated.
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Hello Riaz, If you'd like to add sugar, you may! You'll need to add it 'to taste'. Consider adding it once the rice is cooked by sprinkling on some sugar, folding it in, and tasting it. Enjoy this process of fine-tuning your palate and building your confidence! ~Eric
  • Riaz M
    Riaz M
    Thank u eric how much in grams should I use for the small onion as a blueprint?thank u.
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Hi Riaz, "small" onions vary in size, of course, but start with a handful of diced onions. Then, make changes as desired. ~Eric
  • Riaz M
    Riaz M
    What's the best way to reheat this rice according to this recipe?thank you
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hi Riaz--thanks for writing. To reheat (stove top), take the leftover rice, and add about 1-2 tablespoons of water, stir in, and re-heat until desired temperature is achieved. Enjoy! Char

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