Shahi Moti Pulao (Meat Ball Pilaf)

With festival season around corner, it’s good idea to cook some fancy that’s also easy to whip up. So I thought of sharing an Mughlai rice preparation …. ‘Shahi Moti Pulao’. As the name itself portrays this rice preparation is served with ‘Moti’ (Pearl). No…no… no, not real pearl but with small meat balls which looks like ‘Moti’s. Actually these meatballs are to be coated with silver foils so that they look like real pearls. But I do not like using silver foils so I discarded that part.

Now about the ‘Motis’… traditionally it is made with chicken or mutton keema, but it has an vegetarian version too, that I will share later on. More over the process I follow (taught by my Maa) is not of Pulao (Pilaf) making, it is more of biryani or fried rice making where we precook the rice and then fry them with spices in ghee or oil and then mix them with the meat balls.

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It is a very very easy recipe and takes very less time but gives a very good meal to serve any special occasion. On the occasion of Eid I was invited in one of my friend’s house and had Lamb Kebab Biryani. Since then I was thinking of making this Pulao. Last week some guests came over for dinner and I made this ‘Shahi Moti Pulao’ and I thought of sharing this recipe with you. So not wasting any more time let’s see how to make ‘Shahi Moti Pulao’.


For making Pulao/Rice:
  • 500 gms Basmati Rice or Long Grained Rice
  • 2 (Medium – finely chopped) Onion
  • ¼ cup Cashew
  • ¼ cup Raisin
  • 2 tsps Keora Water
  • drops Yellow Food Colour or Kesar Colour – Few
  • 2 Tbsps Oil
  • 2 Tbsps Ghee
  • To taste Salt
  • 2 tsps Sugar
  • 2” Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 – 4 Green Cardamom
  • 3 – 4 Clove
  • 2 pinches Saffron – soaked in warm milk

For making Moti:

  • 200 gms Chicken/Mutton Keema (Minced Chicken or Mutton)
  • 2 Tbsps Very Finely Chopped Onion
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • ½ tsp Red Chillie Powder
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg powder – Fat
  • 2 tsps Lemon Juice
  • 1 Egg
  • To Taste Salt
  • Oil – For frying the meat balls


  1. Mix all the ingredients mentioned under for making Moti. Beat the egg and mix well. Marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Now cook the rice in a separate pot. Cooking rice for Basmati or any other long grained rice is 2:1 i.e. 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice. Drain the water and keep the rice aside. Do not over-cook the rice.
  3. Heat oil in a kadai. Make small balls from the keema mix and fry them. Take out from oil and keep them on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
  4. Add chopped onion in the kadai. Fry them till brown and crisp and keep them aside.
  5. In the same oil add cashew and raisins. Lightly fry them and keep them separately.
  6. Now add oil and ghee if required. Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cardamom and clove. Sauté till they exudes aroma. Add the boiled rice. Add salt and keora water and mix well.
  7. Now take out half of the rice from the kadai and keep them on serving plate or bowl.
  8. In the remaining rice add yellow food colour. Add saffron soaked milk (2-3 Tbsp of milk). Mix very well. Add in the fried cashew and raisins. Now spread this yellow coloured rice on the white fried rice.
  9. Garnish the rice with fried meat ball and fried onions and serve with any Chicken or Mutton Curry. I served this with Zafrani Murgh.


~ Do not add the whole egg at a time with the keema. Mix it gradually. Mixing the whole egg can make the mixture too gooey. We need a little dry mixture to make the Moti.

~ I like mix of white rice with yellow rice in Pulao. If you wish you can make the whole rice yellow or the whole rice white.

~ You may discard using of cashew and raisins too.


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