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
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
395 Calories
25g Fat
21g Carbs
21g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 395
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 163mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 15mg 77%
Calcium 44mg 3%
Iron 3mg 15%
Potassium 537mg 11%
*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 unsalted 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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