Pilau Masala

One of the hidden treasures of Zanzibar is a spice blending workshop. Murtala, the workshop master lives outside the town in a small house overlooking the Indian Ocean. I attended one of his classes while in Stone Town. After 2 hours and having spent 30 USD, I learnt how to prepare my own beef/fish masala, tea masala and Zanzibari biryani masala. If you’re preparing masalas at home using below recipes, better roast your spices before grinding.


Pilau Masala (use 1 tbsp. for each ½ kg of rice)

3 big sticks of cinnamon

½ tbsp. cardamom pods

6 cloves

½ tbsp. coriander pods

¼ tbsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. cumin

1 tbsp. dried ginger


Place everything in a mortar and grind until powdered. Before using with rice, add some garlic and onion.


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