chicken pilaf

Caramelised onion and courgette pilaf

  • serves 4
  • Easy

A jumble of courgette, tomatoes, basmati rice and gentle spices makes for a perfect pilaf. Learn how to make perfect, fluffy rice right here


Want to know how to cook rice perfectly? Follow our step-by-step guide. Also check out more courgette recipes such as our BBQ courgettescourgette curry and courgette frittata.



  • basmati rice 300g
  • butter 50g
  • onions 2, finely sliced
  • black mustard seeds 2 tsp
  • cumin seeds 2 tsp
  • garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • ginger a thumb-sized piece, finely chopped
  • courgette 1, sliced
  • tomatoes 2 ripe, diced
  • cinnamon stick 1, broken in half
  • cardamom pods 2
  • lemon 1, 2 strips of zest pared
  • chicken stock 600ml
  • mint leaves a handful, shredded
  • flat-leaf parsley a handful, finely chopped
  • raita to serve (optional)


  • Step 1

    Tip the rice into a bowl, fill with cold water and move the grains around until the water is very cloudy. Gently tip the water out, refill and repeat until the water is clear. Drain really well.

  • Step 2

    Melt the butter in a large lidded pan or casserole over a medium-high heat and cook the onions with a large pinch of salt for 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until really caramelised. Scoop out 1/3 into a small bowl. Add the seeds and cook for a minute until smelling toasty. Tip in the garlic, ginger and courgette, and cook for a few minutes until starting to soften, then add the tomatoes, spices, lemon zest and rice, and mix really well, until all the grains of rice are coated.

  • Step 3

    Pour in the stock, add lots of seasoning and bring to the boil for 1 minute, then reduce to a low heat. Put some foil over the pan with the lid on top and cook gently for 10 minutes without removing the lid. Remove from the heat and leave to steam with the lid still on for 10 minutes.

  • Step 4

    Gently fork through the mint and parsley, trying not to break the grains, top with the remaining onions, then serve with raita, if you like.

In the mood for grains? Check out our best ever rice recipes here...

Spinach Rice Pilaf Recipe with Tomatoes and Lemon


Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 409
  • Fat 12.9g
  • Saturates 7.1g
  • Carbs 57.8g
  • Sugars 5.8g
  • Fibre 4.8g
  • Protein 12.9g
  • Salt 0.7g