Embark on a culinary journey to the heart of the Balkans with our delectable Albanian Pilaf recipe. Renowned for its rich flavors and cultural significance, Albanian Pilaf is a comforting dish that brings together fragrant rice, succulent meats, and an array of aromatic spices. As we delve into the intricacies of this time-honored recipe, you'll discover the secrets to achieving the perfect balance of textures and tastes that make Albanian Pilaf a beloved staple in Albanian households. Join us in unlocking the culinary treasures of Albania and savor the warmth and tradition that this dish brings to every table.

Albanian Pilaf Recipe:


  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 1 pound lamb or chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil or clarified butter (ghee)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


Rinse the Rice:Place the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear. This helps remove excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky.

Sear the Meat:

1-In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil or clarified butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until softened.

2-Add the lamb or chicken pieces to the pot and brown them on all sides. Season with salt, black pepper, paprika, cumin, and dried oregano.

Add Rice and Toast:Stir in the rinsed rice and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes, allowing the rice to toast slightly and absorb the flavors.

Pour in Broth and Water:Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and water. Add the bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil.

Simmer:Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Make sure not to lift the lid during this time to allow the rice to steam properly.

Fluff and Rest:Remove the pot from heat and let it rest, covered, for an additional 5-10 minutes. This allows the rice to steam and become fluffy.

Garnish and Serve:Before serving, fluff the pilaf with a fork to separate the grains. Remove the bay leaf. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley for a burst of color and freshness.

Serve Warm:Albanian Pilaf is best served warm and can be accompanied by a side of yogurt or a crisp salad.

Enjoy this authentic Albanian Pilaf, a dish that reflects the rich culinary heritage of the Balkans!

Nutritional Values:

Nutritional values can vary based on specific brands and cooking methods, but here are approximate values for the listed ingredients:

2 cups long-grain white rice:

  • Calories: 440
  • Carbohydrates: 98g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g


  • Provides a good source of carbohydrates, essential for energy.
  • Low in fat and sodium.
  • Contains small amounts of protein.

1 pound lamb or chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces:

  • Calories (lamb): 1300
  • Protein: 104g
  • Fat: 92g
  • Calories (chicken): 920
  • Protein: 176g
  • Fat: 19g


  • Excellent source of high-quality protein, crucial for muscle health.
  • Rich in essential vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and zinc.
  • Lamb provides healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids.

1 large onion, finely chopped:

  • Calories: 60
  • Carbohydrates: 14g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Fiber: 3g


  • Low in calories but high in fiber, promoting digestive health.
  • Contains antioxidants that may have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Provides vitamins C and B6, and folate.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil or clarified butter (ghee):

  • Calories: 360
  • Fat: 39g
  • Saturated Fat: 15g


  • Adds healthy fats that aid in nutrient absorption.
  • Provides a source of vitamin E, an antioxidant.
  • Can contribute to improved flavor and texture in the dis

1 teaspoon salt (approximate, as per taste):

  • Sodium: 2300mg


  • Enhances flavor and taste perception in the dish.
  • Essential for maintaining electrolyte balance in the body.

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground:

  • Calories: 3
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Fiber: 0g


  • Contains antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Enhances digestion by promoting the release of digestive enzymes.

1 teaspoon paprika:

  • Calories: 6
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Fiber: 1g


  • Rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C.
  • May have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

1 teaspoon cumin:

  • Calories: 8
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Fiber: 0g


  • Contains antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Can aid in digestion and provide a warm, earthy flavor.

1 teaspoon dried oregano:

  • Calories: 3
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Fiber: 1g


  • High in antioxidants, including vitamin K.
  • May have antimicrobial properties.
  • Adds a distinct, aromatic flavor to the dish.

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth:

  • Calories (chicken broth): 20
  • Protein: 4g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 2g


  • Provides hydration and adds depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Contains essential nutrients, including amino acids.

1 cup water:

  • Calories: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 0g


  • Essential for hydration and overall bodily functions.
  • Helps in the absorption of nutrients and digestion.

1 bay leaf:

  • Calories: 2
  • Carbohydrates: 1g
  • Fiber: 1g


  • Contains vitamins A and C, as well as folic acid.
  • Adds a subtle, aromatic flavor to the pilaf.

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (approximate):

  • Calories: 1
  • Carbohydrates: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Fiber: 0g


  • Low in calories but high in vitamins K, C, and A.
  • Adds freshness and a burst of color to the dish.
  • May have anti-inflammatory properties.

Keep in mind that these values are estimates and may vary based on the specific ingredients and brands used. Additionally, the cooking process can affect the nutritional content.


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