A lovely side dish with lots of flavour

This pilau rice is a really easy side dish that you can whip up in no time with your rice cooker. This version is vegan and really delicious. We served this as part of a finger-food medley of samosas and pakora but it could be paired with curries, any other main dish that you want to add a bit more flavour to.


  • 1 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick, split lengthways
  • ¾ tsp cumin seeds, dry-toasted in a pan and crushed (or the same amount of cumin powder)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 rice cooker measuring cups of long grain rice


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and gently cook until softened.
  2. Stir in the spices and herbs and cook for 1 minute then add the rice and stir until coated.
  3. Transfer rice and spice/onion mix to your rice cooker bowl and add cold water to the level 2 on the inner bowl. Close the lid and press start (make sure the setting is on white or long grain).
  4. Once cooked, open the lid, fluff up the rice with the spatula and remove the remaining whole pieces of spice.