This method of cooking rice is present in all cuisines of the world, from India to America. Depending on the origin, rice can contain meats, vegetables or nuts. When rice is prepared with meat it is the main dish, but when it is only accompanied by vegetables or legumes it is a garnish.
In the Middle East there are several types of pilaf. The bulgur pilaf, the couscous pilaf and the rice pilaf.
History of Pilaf
Pilaf is a very old dish. The first reference to the pilaf in history has to do with Alexander the Great, in the 3rd century BC. When he visited the province of Bactria (eastern Iran), he ate pilaf at a royal banquet. Later, the soldiers of Alexander the Great, brought the pilaf preparation method to Macedonia. And that this method later spread throughout Greece.
Different pilaf preparations within Ottoman culture had ceremonial qualities, especially within palaces. Rice was served to complete the meal after soups, meat and vegetable dishes, and desserts. And this tradition still exists in some regions of Turkey. The "Sözkesen" is served after all dishes and signifies the end of the meal.
In the past, the Turks cooked rice simply, and that has not changed. The valid criterion for a good pilaf in Turkish cuisine is "grains of rice, not sticking together".
Types of Pilaf
Pilaf is enriched with beef, chicken, and even fish and shellfish. Vegetables, aromatic herbs, legumes, shellfish, and nuts increase the nutritional value of the dish. And also improve its appearance.
Pilaf, which is an indispensable complement to dishes called pot dishes or meat dishes. Kebabs especially, work great with pilaf. Fried lamb and chicken go well with pilaf too.
The most popular varieties of pilaf are Rice pilaf with noodles, Simple rice pilaf, rice pilaf with meat and chicken, Rice pilaf with chickpeas, Rice pilaf-bulgur with tomato, and Rice pilaf-bulgur with tomato and green lentils.
Although there is some pilaf that is worth mentioning due to their way of preparation or their ceremonial interest.
- İskilip Dolması: Prepared by boiling rice in a woven bag. The cooking is done in a large copper cauldron reserved for this purpose. This recipe combines rice with onion and butter.
- Perde Pilav: This is a type of stuffed rice. A toasted dough of flour, butter, milk and eggs surrounds the rice pilaf. Precooked rice can contain partridge or chicken meat, flavored with almonds and spices.
- The famous anchovy pilaf from the Black Sea region
- Pilaf made with olive oil in the Aegean region
3 cups of basmati type rice, 480 g.
½ cup angel hair noodles
¼ cup oil, 60 ml
6 cups of chicken broth, 1.5 l
½ cup black raisins
1 cup of walnuts (can be pine nuts, peanuts, walnuts, or cashews), 100 g.
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp of black pepper
1 tsp of salt
In a frying pan without any oil, place the walnuts and toast them for approximately five minutes. Stir from time to time. Place them on a plate and set them aside. The walnuts are added when the pilaf is cooked to keep them crisp.
In a non-stick pot, add all the oil and when it is bubbling, add the chopped noodles. Fry them until they are completely golden.
Then add the rice. Toast the rice in the oil for up to three minutes while stirring.
Add the chicken broth, raisins, cumin, garam masala, pepper, and salt. Cook over high heat, uncovered for about ten minutes until you see that the surface of the rice is dry.
Cover rice, lower cooking temperature to a minimum. Cook with the steam for about fifteen more minutes.
Uncover, add walnuts, and stir. Serve with some mint leaves if desired. Remember this recipe works as a side dish.