Bariis Iskukaris - Spiced Somali Rice

Bariis Iskukaris Spiced Somali rice recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
576 Calories
23g Fat
66g Carbs
26g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 576
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 30%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 91mg 30%
Sodium 124mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 66g 24%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Protein 26g
Calcium 117mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This popular spiced Somali rice dish is known as bariis iskukaris. In construction, it is very similar to East African pilau rice, however, instead of using vegetable broth or water to cook the rice, this dish generally uses meat broth to add more flavor.

The following recipe is an adaptation of the vegetarian bariis found at the Somali Kitchen. It has been reproduced and adapted with permission. While many recipes incorporate a meat stock for cooking the rice, this one has used tomatoes (which is a typical ingredient for this dish in Somali cooking). 


  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 4 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter (or ghee)
  • 1 pound lamb, cut into small cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for spiced Somali rice
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Wash the rice and soak it in water until ready for use (at least 10 minutes).

    Wash the rice
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Fry the lamb for a few minutes until browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.

    Fry the lamb
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Fry the onions until lightly caramelized, about 15 minutes.

    Fry the onions
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Meanwhile, grind the dry spices add to the onions, along with the garlic. Cook for a minute, until fragrant.

    Grind spices
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until they break down into a thick sauce.

    Add spices
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Add the lamb back to the pot.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Drain the rice and add to the pot with the 2 1/2 cups water. Bring the rice to a simmer, then cover the pan with aluminum foil. Ensure the pan is well sealed.

    Drain rice
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

    Spiced Somali Rice
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  10. Fluff with a fork, and serve.

    Fluff with a fork
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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