Lamb Pilaf with Dates & Cranberries

This is my summary interpretation of Pilaf (a fragrant Indian/Turkish rice dish). I cook long grain basmati rice ( I have to say Spekko is my go to rice now) until light and fluffy and toss it through fried lamb mince, spices, fresh coriander, mint, medjool dates, dried cranberries and toasted almonds. It is incredibly moreish, packed with flavour and texture. And it's even better the next day. So if you have any leftover cold rice in the fridge, this is the best thing to do with it alongside nasi goreng. Brown rice would be amazing too. This meal is so easy to prepare and is the perfect midweek pick-me-up. Hope you enjoy x
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4


  • 1 c (250 ml) long grain basmati rice, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
  • 100 g slivered almonds
  • 600 g lamb mince
  • 1 T (15 ml) olive oil
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 fat garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 t (10 ml) grated ginger
  • 2 t (10 ml) ground cumin
  • 2 t (10 ml) ground coriander
  • 1 t (5 ml) ground cinnamon
  • 6 cardamom pods squashed
  • 1 t (5 ml) dried chilli flakes
  • 6 -8 medjool dates pips removed and chopped
  • 100 g dried cranberries
  • handful of fresh coriander roughly chopped
  • handful of fresh mint leaves roughly chopped
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste


  • Bring 500 ml water to the boil in a medium pot ( I use AMC Cookware's 16 cm gourmet high), add the well-drained soaked rice and boil for 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain through a sieve and rinse well with cold water. Set aside.
  • Heat a dry deep frying pan ( I use AMC Cookware's 20 cm Gourmet Low pan) and lightly toast the almonds - keep a watchful eye. Remove and set aside.
  • In the same pan fry the mince until browned and broken up, remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Heat some olive oil in the pan and fry the onion, garlic, ginger and spices over a gentle heat until translucent and fragrant.
  • Add the mince back to the pan, followed by the dates and cranberries. Saute together for 5 minutes.
  • Add the rice and stir through the mince mixture until well combined. Saute for a further 5 -10 minutes to heat through and develop the flavours.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the herbs and almonds.
  • Serve immediately!
  • Delicious hot or cold.


Variations to try:
Serve topped with a soft sunny side up fried eggs
Add dried Turkish apricots too
Replace almonds with pine nuts or pistachios
Add a little turmeric or saffron
Add curry powder for an extra kick
Add more dried chillies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!