Aunt Sarah’s Rice and Cabbage

Serves     8


Note: recipe is three parts –rice, cabbage, and spice mixture.

Ingredients for the rice:

2 tbsp. oil
1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
pilau masala spice mixture (see recipe below)
5-7 plum tomatoes, diced
1 tsp. salt
4 cups water
2 cups rice

Ingredients for the cabbage:

5-7 carrots, diced
3 tbsp. onion, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1 head of cabbage, shredded
salt to taste
pilau masala spice mixture

Pilau Masala

A traditional East African recipe for a classic blend of curry-style spices that is traditionally used to flavor curries and rice-based dishes.

Ingredients for Pilau Masala:

1 1/2 tbsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. cardamom seeds
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. dried piri-piri chillies (optional)


Directions for the rice:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add onions to pan and let them brown for a few minutes. Add half of the pilau masala spice mixture, tomatoes and salt. Fry the mix together. After a few minutes add water and bring to a boil. Add rice and stir only once. Cover and let rice cook thoroughly, about 20 minutes.

Directions for the cabbage:

Place diced carrots, cut onions, and cut up tomatoes in the bottom of a cold saucepan. Next place shredded cabbage on top of mixture, cover the pan and bring the pan to moderate heat. Wait 20 minutes before stirring and discard extra water that comes from the cooking cabbage. Add salt to taste and the rest of the pilau masala spice mixture. When almost all the water has cooked away, add a few tablespoons of oil and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately over rice.

Directions for Pilau Masala:

Heat a dry frying pan over moderate heat and add the cumin seeds. Fry for a minute, and then add cardamom and cloves. Continue dry frying until the spices become aromatic then tip the spices into a spice or coffee grinder along with black pepper, cinnamon and chilies. Grind to a fine powder and use immediately or keep in air tight container for several months.


Notes and Instructions

Sseko Designs is a fashion brand that seeks to hire women in Uganda to make sandals.  Through this endeavor they are able to earn money that will go directly towards their college education. Over 60 women have realized their dreams of going to university, and Sseko currently employs 50 women in Uganda from all walks of life. How cool is that!

It is common practice for employers to provide a noontime meal to all employees, and at Sseko Designs workshop Aunt Sarah’s Rice and Cabbage is a typical meal that everyone looks forward to all week.

Recipe contribution from Linda McElroy, adapted from:

Photo credit: with permission from Sseko Designs