Recipe: Basmati Pilau With Toasted Pistachios and Raisins

This Ayurvedic staple is guaranteed to warm you from the inside out.

Sample Meredith’s cooking at the Find Your True Fork dinner at Wanderlust Hollywood on Thursday, August 17. Be sure to check out the Wanderlust Find Your True Fork cookbook for more Ayurvedic dishes and other recipes from various mindfully-inspired chefs. 

In Ayurvedic cuisine, food is medicine. To reap the healing benefits of food, most Ayurvedic practitioners will focus on cooked, easy-to-digest meals, and use a variety of spices to help balance the doshas. (Don’t know your dosha? We love this quiz from The Chopra Center.) And while understanding the specifics of Ayurvedic food might seem a bit intimidating, fear not. The basics are straightforward, and we’ve got a great recipe to get you started.

Similar to rice pilaf, Indian pilau is a savory rice dish combining a variety of warm and earthy flavors. This recipe uses basmati rice and ghee—a staple in any Ayurvedic kitchen and one of the lightest oils. Ghee is celebrated for it’s ability to aid in digestion, improve memory, and help carry the medicinal properties of herbs through the body tissue.  This recipe is also customizable to your particular dosha—see notes for how to create delicious, healing meal that nourishes your unique being.

Basmati Pilau With Toasted Pistachios and Raisins


1 tbsp ghee
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup white basmati rice, rinsed
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cups water
1/4 cup toasted pistachios
2 tbsp golden raisins


Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the ghee in a medium pot that has a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the rice and salt and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes.

Once the rice has finished cooking, remove the pot from the heat, add the raisins, re-cover the pot with the lid, and let steam for 5 minutes. Using a fork, stir in the toasted pistachios, fluffing the rice. Serve immediately, or keep covered and warm until you’re ready to serve.

Customizations for each dosha:

For vata balancing, substitute cashews or slivered almonds for pistachios.

For pitta balancing, omit the onion and use additional pistachios in place of the raisins.

For kapha balancing, use diced dried figs instead of raisins and substitute quinoa for rice.

Meredith Klein is an Ayurvedic whole foods chef and mindfulness teacher who is passionate about helping individuals to experience radical transformation through the practices of meditation and healthy, conscious eating/cooking. She is the founder of Pranaful, leads workshops and retreats focused on meditation and mindful eating/cooking, and prepares food for yoga retreats around the world, in addition to cooking for private clients in Los Angeles.