Pilau Musteen

Another one from my The Gate cookbook – The Gate is a restaurant in Hammersmith that my Dad took me to a while ago; it’s completely vegetarian, and really welcoming to vegan and gluten-free diets – and absolutely delicious as well. I’ve only been once, and I ordered the Thai Green Curry, but I really want to go again as it was utterly divine. My Dad bought me the cookbook after we ate there and I’ve been steadily working my way through a lot of the recipes; this one looked so appetising for me as it contains loads of my favourite things, and looked so delicate and light – perfect for warm summer evenings like this one :)

I’ve been wanting to cook this for so long (it’s even made its way onto my special Recipe To-Do List) and I’m so glad I finally did, it tasted really unusual, and both my Mum and me really loved it – there’s a small passage preceding the recipe in the book that explains the importance of sharing out the lovely caramelised food at the bottom of the pan, and explaining the recipe’s origins; it’s a traditional Afghan recipe usually served on special occasions, but I loved the idea of delicately scented roses on a day like today, so I thought I’d go for it!

Pilau Musteen


150g of brown basmati rice

A pinch of salt

One tablespoon of vegetable oil

One small potato, cut into small cubes

One teaspoon each of ground cumin and cinnamon

Crushed seeds of two cardamom cloves

One small handful of dried rose petals (I couldn’t find any in the shop so I pinched some from the rose bush in my garden!)

20g of chopped dried apricots

About 15-17g each of chopped prunes, raisins and flaked almonds


  1. Cook the rice in boiling salted water for 20-25 minutes and drain well.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat half of the oil and fry the potato for 4-5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and drizzle the base and sides with the remaining oil. Place half the cooked rice on top of the potato. Sprinkle the cumin, cinnamon, cardamom and rose petals over the rice. Cover with the remaining rice and sprinkle over the apricots, prunes, raisins and almonds.
  3. Cover the pan with a lid, and place over a gentle heat for 30-35 minutes – do not touch, stir or remove the lid. Try and share the caramelised bottom when you serve it out – you could also decorate it with more rose petals.
Serves two

My lovely garden in the sunshine


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