Turkish lamb pilau

Turkish lamb pilau

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(28 ratings)

Cook: 30 mins


Serves 4

Serve up a basmati rice one pot flavoured with cinnamon, mint and apricot, studded with tender lamb

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal584
  • fat24g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs65g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre3g
  • protein32g
  • salt1.4g
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  • small handful pine nuts or flaked almonds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 large onion, halved and sliced



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half



    A fragrant spice which comes from the inner bark of a tropical tree. When dried, it curls into…

  • 500g lean lamb neck fillet, cubed



    A lamb is a sheep that is under one year old, and is known for its delicate flavour and tender…

  • 250g basmati rice
  • 1 lamb or vegetable stock cube



    A lamb is a sheep that is under one year old, and is known for its delicate flavour and tender…

  • 12 ready-to-eat dried apricots



    A relative of the peach, nectarine, plum and cherry, apricots are fragrant, with a soft, velvety…

  • handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped



    There are several types of mint, each with its own subtle difference in flavour and appearance.…


  1. Dry-fry the pine nuts or almonds in a large pan until lightly toasted, then tip onto a plate. Add the oil to the pan, then fry the onion and cinnamon together until starting to turn golden. Turn up the heat, stir in the lamb, fry until the meat changes colour, then tip in the rice and cook for 1 min, stirring all the time.

  2. Pour in 500ml boiling water, crumble in the stock cube, add the apricots, then season to taste. Turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 12 mins until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed. Toss in the pine nuts and mint and serve.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Blueeyedclare's picture
1st Feb, 2018
I used a pre cooked packet of pilau rice, but thank goodness I did, as otherwise I do not think this would have been very flavoursome at all. I would recommend making a sauce to go along side this dish. PS. The ratings show 4 stars! Yet the reviewers are not leaving any stars? Is this not registering the dissatisfaction of many people, if so, please rate this a 1 Star people, so others don’t make a similar mistake based on the headline 4 star review!
7th Nov, 2017
I thought this looked really tasty, but it’s anything but! The rice went sludgy ( I probably should have rinsed it first though?). Overall a bland , gloopy taste and texture. Not worth it at all. I’m cross I’ve wasted all that lamb!
8th Oct, 2017
I cooked this as per recipie but with 2 stock cubes and using brown basmati rice - as you would expect with brown rice, it took longer to cook. It did look rather grey but tasted fine, served with chopped tomatoes and the raita from this site (which has ginger and garam masala in it). I'd cook it again for friends to quick supper.
16th Apr, 2017
Not a good recipe. As others have said, the rice cooks to a bit of a gloopy, sticky sludge and the finished dish lacks flavour. It also doesn't look like the photo, it's much less colourful!
Cats whiskers
4th Jan, 2017
Cooked this this evening using left over shoulder of lamb. Will not bother again
27th Nov, 2016
Not sure what that photograph is of, but I followed this recipe to the letter and ended up with a grey, flavourless gruel. Only thing that worked out well was that the lamb stayed tender & juicy due to the pre-frying. Overall a waste of time and expensive lamb. Can only imagine the author never actually tried to cook this, and it's a theoretical recipe. Don't bother!
25th Oct, 2016
I'm in the process of making this using the 'tip' slow cooker method (I have the slow cooker cook book too). It's been on for 2 hours, the rice around the edges has completely lost its definition and is now just mush. The rice in the middle is hard. No liquid left. I followed the recipe exactly.... I have now stirred it and added a touch more water but worried it's just a completely waste of money.... Any suggestions? Cook book says there no need for accompaniments and will serve 4. Not my family - nowhere near enough!!
21st Mar, 2016
I also agree with some of the other reviews - it's a very bland recipe. We tried adding lemon juice, honey, salt and more cinnamon and was still really bland
21st Mar, 2016
Good little recipe. Used leftover roast lamb and a 250g pouch of microwave ready cooked rice to serve 2 people, reduced the quantity of stock accordingly because it wasn't necessary to cook the rice. Added 1 tbsp of Ras-el-hanout spice blend and used mint sauce cos I didn't have any fresh mint, added some fresh chopped parsley too. ... Thought I'd stuck pretty close to the recipe, but now I've written it down, perhaps I didn't ;-) Using to microwave pouch is 100% the way to go for a fluffy texture, the rest is up to you.
17th Apr, 2017
This popped up in a Google search for using up left-over roast leg of lamb. I pretty much did as you, but was using already cooked lamb, reducing quantities to serve 2 and adding ras-el-hanout, but I used proper Basmati rice. Had to keep adding hot water until the rice was ready. Didn't have pine nuts or flaked almonds so sliced up almonds (with their skins still on) instead & I would say that it owould have been better with pine nuts. The fresh mint was nice and over all I felt this was largely a succesful recipe for left-overs.


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14th Jun, 2018
This reads like a recipe with half the ingredients missed out. I added chopped red pepper with the onion and a small clove of garlic. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of a Turkish or Middle Eastern spice blend or make your own. Stir. Add chopped leftover lamb. Stir. Add water and stock cube. Stir. Add chopped fruit - I used a mix of dried and fresh apricots but you could use peaches or nectarines. Stir. Add a can of chicken peas. Stir. Add salt and pepper to taste plus a teaspoon of mint jelly (not the vinegary sauce). Simmer for ten minutes. CheCo seasoning and add extra spice. Simmer for another 2-5 minutes. If you have any leftover lamb gravy from a casserole or roast dinner, add a couple of tablespoons at the end. Stired so rice doesn't stick but is just going soft but not gloopy! Serve sprinkled with toasted almonds and salad or green veg. Then it is delicious!
24th Apr, 2017
I often make this dish but I always cook the rice separately in plenty of water with a stock cube - that way I can ensure that the rice does not overcook. Before cooking rice, I always rinse it thoroughly and soak it for as long as I can - up to four or five hours. The longer it soaks, the quicker it cooks and the more volume the grains gain. This is an easy recipe to play around with: - add cashew nuts instead of pine nuts - use raisins or any combination of dried fruit - add extra spices (we like chilli and garam marsala) - use chicken - add extra veg using leftovers from the fridge
21st Feb, 2015
I used Stella rice as it cooks faster the trick is to soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes before cooking. I also added Bharat dates and dried cranberries
18th Jan, 2014
I added 2 teaspoons of Sumac with the stock & used a little mint sauce to give it more body ... Absolutely delicious