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Simple Kenyan Mwea Pishori Recipe

Pishori is a medium to short-grained rice with a characteristic strong smell, extremely aromatic when cooked, and a slightly chewy taste (that is pleasant). It is grown in the region of Mwea in Central parts of Kenya. The pishori variety is native to Kenya and Tanzania so it doesn’t have an English name

Mwea pishori offers benefits such as being grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, promoting healthier ecosystems, and reducing exposure to potentially harmful chemicals compared to conventionally grown rice.

To know good pishori the first thing is the strong smell, if your rice doesn’t have an intense smell then it is probably not pure pishori, or it might be blended.

To tell pure pishori rice, aroma buyers should look out for a nice-looking slender grain. The amount of broken grains should be minimal or zero. The more broken grains the more sticky the rice gets in cooking, so you should look for rice with broken grains of less than 5%

What are the Best Brands of Pishori?

Even the branded pishori rice in supermarkets is often not the genuine article. The only way to ensure you’re getting pure pishori is to buy it directly from the source, the Mwea region.

Why are there so many fake or poor-quality pishori, and why are the genuine ones so exceptional?

To find the best pishori rice, you need to get it from where it’s grown, in Mwea.

If you can’t manage that and must rely on supermarket brands, Kenya Select Pishori is your best bet. It’s a cooperative product from the Mwea Rice Growers, which ensures its quality.

Other options include CIL, although Pearl used to be good but no longer meets the same standards.

You MUST wash Pishori Rice

Cooking pishori rice is a bit more challenging and requires more attention than basmati or jasmine rice. Pishori is highly starchy, evident from the fact that it takes at least five washes for the water to run clear.

Unlike basmati, which can be cooked without washing, skipping the washing step for pishori will result in a clumped, sticky mess due to the starch binding the grains together during cooking.

Please don’t follow this advice; skipping the washing step, especially with pishori rice, is a huge mistake. Regarding the best pishori brand, CIL is good but not the best brand in the market as they claim above.

Any other rice requires washing, basmati doesn’t require intense washing more of just a rinse to remove dirt that may have settled, long grain rice requires washing so that it does turn gummy upon cooking. The only rice you can skip on the washing part is parboiled rice which might overcook if you wash it.

To get an idea of how “dirty” pishori rice is, below are photos showing a comparison in the clarity of water between washes

Wash 1: Milky Water
Wash 2
Washing Pishori Rice
Wash 5: Clear Water,

The washing process shouldn’t be just a surface rinse using a colander. Instead, you should get your fingers in there and rub the grains against each other. This method is more effective for removing as much starch as possible.

You’ll notice the grains become less white and powdery, turning paler, which means you’ve done a thorough job. Washing up to five times is ideal, but even three washes can suffice since the water clarity doesn’t change significantly between the third and fifth washes.

The next step is soaking the rice. While optional, it is highly recommended.

Soaking is Recommended

Soaking rice reduces cooking time because the grains absorb water while soaking, meaning they need less water and therefore less time on heat to cook. Essentially, soaking allows the rice to absorb moisture and soften up.

In my experience, soaked rice tends to cook more delicately, which is why I soak it—not for the reduced cooking time, as the soaking time often exceeds the time saved in cooking.

When cooking, you don’t need to change the water. Just cook the rice in the same water it was soaked in, ensuring the water amount is correct in ratio.

You can soak your rice after adding all the ingredients ahead of time so that after the 30 or so minutes its just as easy as turning the rice cooker or stove top on

Soaking Pishori Rice
Soaking Pishori Rice
Pishori Rice

Pishori Rice Recipe

Pishori is a premium and aromatic variety of rice from the Mwea region in Central Kenya
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine KENYAN
Servings 2 people
Calories 320 kcal


  • Rice Cooker optional


  • 1 cup pishori rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf optional


  • Rinse 1 cup of pishori rice in a large bowl, rubbing the grains between your fingers and changing the water 3-5 times until it runs clear.
  • Soak the rice in fresh water for 20-30 minutes, then drain thoroughly.
  • In a medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat, add the drained rice, and stir to coat.
  • Pour in 2 cups of water, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and an optional bay leaf, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 15-20 minutes without lifting the lid.
  • After 15 minutes, check if the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender; if not, cook for an additional 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, let sit covered for 5 minutes, remove the bay leaf if used, and fluff the rice with a fork before serving.


  • Rinse the rice thoroughly under cold water to remove excess starch. This helps prevent the rice from becoming too sticky when cooked.
  • Soaking the rice for about 15-30 minutes before cooking can help the grains cook more evenly and become fluffier.
  • Use the correct water-to-rice ratio. Typically, for Pishori rice, you’ll use 1.5 to 1.75 cups of water for every cup of rice. Adjust slightly based on your preference for softer or firmer rice.

Also Read: Grocery Guide: 10 Best Rice Brands in Kenya-Ranked List

Also Read: Uncle Roger Approved Egg Fried Rice Recipe

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