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The 5 Best Pilau Masala Brands in Kenya

 Pilau Masala Masala is a blend of different spices used to make pilau; which is. a spicy flavorful dish.  Pilau Masala ingredients in the mix include cumin seeds, black pepper, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and cloves. The spices are ground till uniform. In this post, we will overview the best brands you should consider buying.

Well, congratulations, by resorting to this quick Google search, you’ve just lost a  few points in the authenticity department. Yep, that’s right. If you’re aiming for an authentic pilau, you might want to skip the  pilau masala.

But hey, who really cares about authenticity all the time, right?  Sometimes we just want to get food on the table without turning it into a culinary masterpiece. 

And let’s face it, making authentic pilau can feel like a chore, especially when you have to hunt down each individual spice that goes into that  pilau masala.

Enter the savior: store-bought pilau masala. It’s like a shortcut to flavor town. Just toss a spoonful or two into your rice dish, and presto! You’ve got pilau. 

Sure, it might not be the pinnacle of culinary perfection, but it gets the job done with minimal fuss. Because let’s be real, convenience always comes with a catch, and that catch is usually quality.

Supermarket-bought  pilau masala will never compare to freshly ground spices. If you seek the finest pilau, stop reading this and head to a local Indian spice shop, particularly those in Ngara and Parklands.  

Purchase whole spices and grind them as needed. If you can’t find a local Indian spice shop, your next best option is to buy whole spices from the supermarket, usually packed in sachets, and grind them yourself.

 Another convenient option is a whole pilau mix, which contains all the necessary whole spices for pilau in pre-determined proportions.  

However, nothing beats making your own by adjusting the proportions as desired. Packaged pilau mixes often prioritize cheaper spices over the more expensive ones in terms of volumes.

What is Pilau Njeri?

Pilau Njeri
 Pilau Njeri

 Pilau Njeri simply means knockoff/ bootleg pilau, it’s not real ‘real pilau’. This means it is prepared with different ingredients and cooking styles.

Say adding tomato paste or God forbid using soy sauce, that is pilau Njeri right there my friend; as you are introducing ingredients not authentic to the Swahili way of preparing it. 

People use Soy Sauce to give their “pilau” that appealing brown color, which is a shortcut.

The real way authentic pilau rice gets the brown color, is from the seared meat pieces, using soy sauce means you are insecure about your cooking and you are fumbling around. Okay, end of rant…but please, no soy sauce, tomato paste, or Royco okay?

Read: The 3 Best Soy Sauce Brands in Kenya

So, why the name  Pilau Njeri? It’s thanks to Kenyan satire because this variation of pilau replaces meat with potatoes, and since potatoes are a beloved staple in Central Kenya, and “Njeri” is a common female name from that region, the name seems to have stuck since people from that region prepare their  Pilau that way, and notoriously add potatoes to literally everything.

This is what actual pilau should look like
This is what actual pilau should look like

And while you’re at it, here are some  pilau masala brands worth considering… but hey, no pressure. It’s your pilau, after all. 

As always, no affiliation with any of the brands, just get whatever feels right for your preferences 

5. Orleys

4. Nature’s Own

3. Royco

2. Jomus’

1. Tropical Heat

5. Orley’s

Orley's Pilau Masala
Orley’s Pilau Masala

Never tried this brand before, but I have used some of their spices, and they are remarkable that is why I can confidently recommend Orley’s  pilau masala

4. Nature’s Own

Nature's Own Pilau Masala
Nature’s Own Pilau Masala

natures own is the best option if you are on a budget, quality isn’t top notch but you pay less which is fair in my opinion, its  pilau masala is not that flavorful and intense, its just mild

3. Royco

Royco Pilau Masala
Royco Pilau Masala

Royco is the newest addition, launched in late 2023 its pilau masala is actually good, not the best one but really good, they come in oversized containers and the contents are always half-filled, so you might be spooked if you have half a jar, but the volume advertised is normally correct.

Read: The New Royco Spices and Blends Overview

2. Jomu’s

Jomu's Pilau Masala
Jomu’s  Pilau Masala Masala

Jomu is one of the excellent  pilau masala and can be the best for some, it is perfectly balanced in everything, but it is not, as intense as the first pick

1. Tropical Heat

Tropical Heat is the best well-known brand of  pilau masala it’s a little spicy and can be too spicy for some people, especially kids, it has a big percentage of pepper, but again it is the strongest pilau masala for the most intense and flavorful pilau experience.

Tropical Heat Pilau Masala
Tropical Heat Pilau Masala

Tropical Heat also has a whole version of the masala that is in a yellow container, this is unground, and grinding it before use will give you a more pleasant flavor and aroma than the pre-ground version.

If you want a less spicy, less punchy but desirable  pilau masala then I would recommend rolling back to Jomus as your next best option

Tropical Heat Pilau Masala Whole
Tropical Heat  Pilau Masala Tropical Heat Pilau Masala Masala Whole

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Spice Essentials For Your Kenyan Kitchen: A Comprehensive Guide

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