Turkish lamb pilau

Turkish lamb pilau

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(46 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


  • 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 1 year old; between 1 and 2 years old you will find it sold as…

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



    A lamb is a sheep that is under 1 year old; between 1 and 2 years old you will find it sold as…

  • 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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Ann Cobbe's picture
Ann Cobbe
12th Jul, 2020
Found this so quick easy to make and it was so tasty. It looks lovely when served in a large dish, the pinenuts definitely finish it off. As a not adventurous cook I will definitely make again.
maggiebleksley's picture
18th Jun, 2020
I was a bit wary of trying this recipe after seeing so many moans about it, but I followed some of the excellent suggestions, adding ras el hanout, a couple of peppers and an extra stock cube and it was delicious. No gloopiness, sludginess or blandness and the colour and texture were perfect. We all enjoyed it and I'll definitely be making it again. I don't know what others did wrong to make it so awful.
16th Apr, 2020
Looked like it was going grey and on tasting was reasonably bland as commented by multiple people here so added a good spoon of ras el hanout plus some chilli powder for good luck. Used brown rice so cooked for an extra 10 mins but didn't seem any the worse for it. With my additions it was delicious!
9th May, 2019
Really easy. Very tasty. Original recipe is great. If I’ve not get quite the right ingredients I have used apricots instead of sultanas and swapped mint for parsley.
4th Mar, 2019
Lovely recipe, leave the cinnamon sticks whole and add plenty of mint at the end. Also to make it look pretty and add a pop of sweetness add pomegranate seeds.
massivemessing .'s picture
massivemessing .
5th Jan, 2019
Used up some Christmas lamb with this recipe & after 5 minutes in realised that I had no basmati rice. Found some Uncle Ben rice & some risotto rice which seemed to give better results than some in here. Also added some hot paprika, cayenne pepper & dash of lemon. Main grouse was the cinnamon sticks, had to physically remove them as we were eating, maybe should have kept them whole & removed them before serving.
4th Jan, 2019
Not impressed with this recipe ! very bland ! I wish i stuck to my own recipe ! a waste of good quality Lamb
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.


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23rd May, 2020
Recipe is missing dried spices (1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, and turmeric). I had made this dish a while back and couldn't understand why it looked nothing like the picture (mine was grey & tasteless). Came across the same recipe in BBC Slow Cooker book and spotted the spices omitted from online version).
Steve Hankin's picture
Steve Hankin
4th Nov, 2019
Use a good pinch of saffron (or maybe a tsp of ground tumeric) to add colour to the rice
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
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