Make your own spice mix at home with the Best Pilau Masala Spice Recipe! Pilau Masala is a spice mix that is made of cumin, cinnamon, black peppercorn seeds, and cardamom pods (basic ingredients) which are then ground and used to make Pilau Rice.
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If have been here for a while or know me, then you know how much I love my homemade spices! They are so easy to make and have no preservatives, which is great! Plus, they make for great gifts to give to loved ones. I can't tell you how many times I have made Chermoula Spice, French Fry (Chip) Seasoning, or Burger Seasoning, for my friends. I also love this homemade lemon pepper spice!
Is Pilau Masala the same as Garam Masala?
Garam Masala is a spice blend comprising cardamoms (normally green), cinnamon sticks, fennel seeds, star anise, and nutmeg. Some Garam Masala recipes also include bay leaves, for the aroma.
Pilau rice is a dish that involves cooking rice with the pilau masala spice, meat, and/or vegetables and stock. Pilau rice, which has several names such as Pilaf, Pulao, Pelau, or Palaw, has its origins in Persia. The Persian scholar Avicenna documented in his books several recipes including several pilaf recipes. He is considered the ''father'' of modern pilau or pilaf.
As you can see, the two spices are almost identical. The main difference, however, is that Pilau spice seasoning is used in making Pilaw rice while Garam Masala is used in curries, lentil dishes, and soups.
Ingredients for Pilau Masala Spice or Seasoning
You will require the following key ingredients to make this pilau masala seasoning (please see the detailed recipe card at the bottom of this page for the full measurements):
- Cumin seeds
- Cinnamon sticks
- Black peppercorn seeds
- Cardamom pods
- Cloves (whole)
How to make the spice:
This is a summary of how to make pilau masala spice. You will find the detailed instructions as well as the recipe video in the recipe card provided below.
- Place cloves, ground nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorn seeds and cardamom pods in a dry pan.
- Under low heat, roast the spices above until fragrant. Use a wooden stick to stir so the spices do not burn.
- Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the spices to a coffee grinder or spice grinder. Process until smooth.
- You can roughly process your spice mix so you still have chunky whole spices. The combination of whole and ground spice not only gives a great aroma but also enhances the flavour.
- Each pilau rice recipe requires about 1 ½ - 2 tablespoons of the pilau masala spice mix. You can however add more or less, depending on your spice tolerance.
- On a low carb diet? You can still make pilau rice if on a low carb or keto diet. Simply use the pilau masala spice mix with your caulirice or konjak rice. I assure you, it still tastes great.
- As a variation, you can add some ground ginger (ginger powder) for some extra spicyness!!
This Pilau spice seasoning mix or powder can be stored in an airtight container, in a cool and dry place, for up to 4 months. Always use a clean and dry spoon to scoop your spice mix, so as to avoid contamination.
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Best Pilau Masala Spice Recipe
- ½ cup cumin seeds (whole) approx. 100g
- 2 tablespoon cardamom pods - green approx. 30g
- 3 tablespoon black peppercorn seeds approx.90g
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tablespoon cloves (whole) approx. 30g
- Heat a pan under medium heat.
- To the pan, add the cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, black peppercorn seeds, cinnamon sticks and cloves.
- Reduce the heat to a low and roast the spices, stirring continuously until fragrant. Transfer the roasted pilau masala spice mix to a bowl and allow to cool.
- Next, transfer the now cooled spice mix to your blender, spice grinder or coffee grinder and mix until you obtain a powder. Store in an airtight container, in a cool and dry place.
- Enhance the flavour of this pilau masala mix by adding 1 tablespoon of ginger powder and ½ teaspoon of nutmeg.
- You will need about 2 tablespoons of this spice mix to make pilau rice (1 ½ cups of dry rice). Use more spice if you prefer your rice spicier.
- This pilau spice mix can be stored in an airtight container in a cool and dry place for up to 4 months.