The secret to making great pilau is the “masala” or concoction of spices used in its preparation.
While using whole spices gives the pilau a stronger taste, most people are put off by the sight of the spices as well as having to rake through the pilau in order to pick out the spices. While ready-made pilau masala is available in the supermarket, the flavour is just not as good. When it comes to cooking, I’m a sucker for fresh and whole spices. However, when it comes to pilau, a compromise can be reached by making your own pilau masala powder as opposed to buying it from the store. And it’s a very simple process really. All you need is a blender grinder and your spices
8 tablespoons Cumin Seeds
4 tablespoons Black pepper
4 tablespoons Cardamon
4 tablespoons Cloves
Cinnamon sticks broken into tiny pieces as desired
Heat a medium sized non-stick pan/ iron skillet until it’s hot enough
Add your spices and roast them in the pan for a few minutes ensuring that they are properly mixed and toasted
Pour the spices into your blender grinder and grind the spices into a fine powder
NB: Pour your pilau masala into an airtight container to preserve the taste. Do not make large amounts of pilau masala especially when you don’t use it frequently to avoid your masala losing its flavour and aroma.