Life. Love. Food

Chicken Pilau with garlic sauce

Am I the only one who fears upgrading software coz of the very real possibility that you could loose everything?? After putting this off for so long, I finally upgraded my computer to windows 10. And exactly what I was afraid of happened. My computer went into shock, everything went crazy and all I could see was the white screen of death. I put everything on hold until I resolved this. I literally cried at the thought of loosing all my content. After a heart attack, long prayers, sacrificing an unblemished white lamb a short while, everything came back to normal. I realized my computer was just acting up (and I was panicking LOL) and everything was right where I left it.

After getting everything in order, I somewhat felt great that I went one full day without working on the blog. Maybe I really needed that down time to rest and reboot. And I went ahead and gave myself a three day break. As a choleric-melancholic, breaks are always much welcome since this temperament leaves us subject to burn outs. But now, allow me to treat you with something so good, it will take you to another universe.

chicken pilau and garlic sauce_how to make pilau_best food bloggers in Kenya_n=best food bloggers in Africa



2 cups of pishori rice

2  1/2 tablespoons of pilau masala

1 teaspoon of whole black pepper seeds (optional)

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

Palm size chicken breast, diced

1 red onion, diced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

For the sauce

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

1/4 cup of hot water

1/4 a teaspoon of ground mustard

1/8 teaspoon of white pepper

1/2 a cup of heavy cream

Pinch of salt


In a sufuria, add the onion, garlic and the diced chicken breast. Let this cook until the chicken has just turned white. This will take about 3-5 minutes. It will finish cooking during the entire pilau process. Chicken cooks so fast so their is no need of precooking it first before incorporating it to the pilau. However if you are using red meat, ensure it is precooked.

For the chicken pilau, cook the chicken until it has just turned

Add the tomato paste and the pilau masala, black pepper seeds and allow this to cook for about 5 minutes. I always use whole pilau masala spices withour fail. They cost around KES.70 and last quite long. I toast them for some time them grind them and store them in a jar for future use. They have a more intense flavor compared to the already ground pilau masala.

pilau masala whole spice

whole pilau spices make the best pilau since the spices are most potent and also bring out its color_chicken

I added whole black pepper seeds because I enjoy bursts of pepper while eating pilau. This is a personal preference, however if you find this too intense, you can leave these out. Also,I prefer cutting up my chicken into small pieces for my chicekn pilau as opposed to throwing in entiredrumsticks and wings. By cutting up the chicken, the overall dish is neater and allows you to have a taste of everything in a single bite.

pilau masala adds flavor but color too to the chicken pilau_kaluhiskitchen.com_how to make pilau

Add the rice together with some hot water (Remember loves, the ratio of rice:water should always be 1:2 for perfect singular rice). Mix everything, cover with a lid and allow it to cook down. After the water has totally gone down, turn down the heat to low.

kenyan food_kenyan food bloggers_cover the pilau with a lid so that it cooks evenly through out the dish_chicken pilau is a good alternative to beef

While this is going, work on the sauce. Add the minced garlic in a sufuria with the heated vegetable oil. Once the garlic has softened (not browned), add the heavy cream, salt, mustard and the hot water. Mix it all up and turn down the heat to low. Let this simmer until the entire mixture has thickened.

www.kaluhiskitchen.com_how to make garlic sauce_best kenyan food blog

how to make garlic sauce_garlic sauce with chicken

Once the rice is cooked and the sauce is done remove from the heat and serve.

While December in other countries is synonymous with  snow and eggnog, Christmas in Kenya is synonymous with blazing sunshine and pilau. While beef pilau is the most common way to cook it, chicken pilau offers a different yet just as appealing way to have this Kenyan delicacy.

african food bloggers_african foodies_kenyan food_kenyan recieps_how to make chicekn pilau by kenyan food blogger

The garlic sauce takes this pilau to stratospheric levels! Garlic goes well with anything chicken and this chicken pilau was no exception. It brings everything together; compliments the flavor of the chicken and  tempers the spices used. It is nothing short of splendid!

Pilau_Chicken Pilau_Kenyan Food_Kenyan food

This was really easy, so you have no excuse for preparing bad pilau anymore. I hope this brings plenty of happiness to your tables and palates as it did mine :))


Get the full recipe here:

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  1. Debbie

    Whoa! That pilau looks like it came from the lap of the gods… nice photography! beautiful plating. no more throwing in huge chicken pieces in pilau

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Thank you so much Debbie! Say goodbye to huge chunks of kuku in your pilau. It does make a world of difference

  2. WatyWambu

    Kaluhi, you will be the end of my healthy eating. This is a MUST TRY 😀
    Good work as always

    • kaluhiskitchen

      LOL! A little breaking of the rules never hurt anyone :))). Thank you for the compliment Waty!

  3. Dorcas

    wow looks yummy,thank you for sharing it

    • kaluhiskitchen

      You are very welcome 🙂 I do hope you try this out

  4. Linda

    This pilau recipe is exactly what I have been looking for.Amazing work.Keep it up.

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Thank you so so much Linda. I am totally sure you will enjoy this!

  5. Aziza Muriuki

    The presentation is on top…love chicken Pilau

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Thank you so much Aziza. I like my photos minimalist so that the food shines. I pray that I only get better :))

  6. adashofpepper

    Looks delicious. Definitely a recipe for Sunday afternoons.

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Yup! This is totally a sunday recipe

  7. Ayuma

    Kaluhi, u have made me queen of recipe trying and my hubby is always like wats new this week, so am definitely trying this being a luhya i just saw kuku :-).and i know i have to try this. Question did u buy the heavy cream from the supa?

    • kaluhiskitchen

      I am so glad to have added value to your life :)). I did purchase my heacy cream from a supermarket. It is always there in the dairy section

  8. Daisy

    i will definitely cook this over the weekend

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Amazing choice!!! Let me know how it goes :)))

  9. Lisa

    Hi. I’ve got a couple of questions:
    1) do you soak the rice and how long?
    2) is Pishori the same as basmati (I don’t have Pishori where I live)?
    3) how much tomato paste do you use/ what is the ratio (e.g. for 5 cups of rice?)
    4) after rice boils should I turn it on low or wait til water goes down then turn it low?
    5) how much water for 5 cups of rice? (I think 10 is too much?)
    Sorry for the many questions but I’m cooking for a huge party and I want it to be perfect. I need help! Lol

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Hey Lisa! Let me get right to it:

      1. I do not always soak my rice. But when I do, I soak it for about 30 minutes.
      2. Pishori is not the same as basmati however they have similar characteristics and make beautiful substitutes for each other. You can use basmati.
      3. For 5 cups of rice, use 4 tablespoons of tomato paste.
      4. Only turn down the heat after the water has gone down. If you do this too early, your rice will not yield the intended result.
      5. For 5 cups of rice, you have to use 10 cups of hot water. The ratio must always be 1:2. Always.

      Feel free to ask any more questions if any :)))

      • Lisa

        Thank you so much!!

        • kaluhiskitchen

          You are very welcome. Do let me know how it all goes :))

  10. Yvonne

    Cooking this for hubby tomorrow for Christmas,will post pics xx

  11. Christine

    Hi Kaluhi…whats the difference btwn pilau and bityani…i find them almost the same

    • kaluhiskitchen

      They are both spicy, but they are different in both taste and preparation. Very different. Its like kuku choma and fried chicken. The may look similar but are very different both in taste and preparation.

  12. fartun mohamed

    this looks delicious a must try..just a question though what type of heavy cream did you use?

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Must try for sure. I used the only heavy cream that exists. If I am not wrong, there is only one kind of heavy cream, right? You can find it in the dairy section in any supermarket. They are also pretty clearly labeled. I used the one by ‘Bio’ brand.

  13. gerald

    That was perfectly explained

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Thank you! I am glad the read was easy for you :))

  14. Shyleen

    Can i use stor bought black peper instead? And for heavy cream will coconut cream work?

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Yes you can use store bought black pepper. And, you cannot substitute heavy cream with coconut cream. They are totally different in both taste and composition. Just hold on until you get heavy cream.

      • Shyleen

        Also whats heavy cream then? In supermarkests what name does it go by?

        • kaluhiskitchen

          In supermarkets it is called heavy cream. Globally it is called heavy cream. That is why I wrote heavy cream. It is available in all major supermarkets in the dairy section.

  15. Annette Sana

    After the matumbo recipe I used yesterday, I’m glued to your blog like nobody’s business. ????
    Considering I don’t like cooking much, it just got interesting.

    • kaluhiskitchen

      And soon you will be hooked to the kitchen and you will be the biggest pro around!!!!

  16. Mkamburi

    Oooooh my!
    I’ve never made pilau and this was my first time
    It turned out amaaaazing
    Thanks Kaluhi you rock!

    • kaluhiskitchen

      AWESOME!!!!!!! its so easy right?! I am glad you liked this recipe :))

  17. kesh

    Am going to try this i love it

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Its so easy and it is soooo good!!!!

  18. Angel

    Hi Kaluhi,I come from quite a remote area in this country of ours,so I looked for heavy cream in all the supermarkets here,they didn’t have,they said they don’t stock it,so I was wondering if there is something I could substitute it with..

  19. Fay

    Amazing work KK….???

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Thank you! :)))

  20. Honest

    Looks yummy. I love your blog but you always have typos. Please work on that #positivecriticism.

    “I always use whole pilau masala spices withour fail.”

    • kaluhiskitchen

      Thank you! Yes, I make typos from time to time (hint: I am human) but i will reread and correct them.

  21. Kelli Winter

    I have the same fear. You put so much faith in these computers, they hold so much of our lives and sometimes they have a mind of Their Own. So glad all your content came back! I heard some people lost everything forever. Windows 10 has definitely caused a lot of problems for a lot of people.

    • kaluhiskitchen

      May God protect alll of our work, in all our drives, in our computers and in the cloud. AMEN!!!!!!!!! :DDDDD

  22. Elizabeth

    I love chicken pilau but everytime i want to have it i literally beg my best friend to make it for me
    Being a foodie i am glad i found your page
    I am totally going to try this
    Thank you for the amazing work that you are doing😊

    • kaluhiskitchen


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