What would a meal in Turkey without pilav? One of the most basic maintenance and comfort of all Turkish dishes. The Turkish cooking rice rather different from ours in the west. The secret is to sizzle – that gives a creamy butter and melt in your mouth texture and flavor. It’s the gastronomic equivalent of sinking in a huge armchair in front of a wood fire.
If any dish can be said to form the base, the foundation of Turkish cuisine, then pilav is. It has a fascinating history and old, and can be found throughout the country that radiate from the Middle East, with a subtle change of vowels or consonants – in Uzbek pilaf, pilau in India, Albania pilaf …
Travel in Turkey and savor its delicate flavor and texture reassuring all possible types of hotels, from the humblest of local restaurants to the most elegant restaurant in Istanbul. Lokanta eat in a town and enjoy a lot of hot steam pilav adorned with a spoonful of peas or beans juicy poured over the top – a real meal in itself. Dine in an upscale hotel, and you’ll find the humble pilav, primped and preened, but serves as a soft lining. It is the perfect staple in any Turkish food.
Turkey pilav – pure, simple and perfect.
Ingredients (serves 4):
3 cups of rice (an ordinary kitchen glass will do, about 225 or 250 ml)
3 tablespoons butter (real butter gives it flavor, is not a substitute margarine)
3 cups water or broth (chicken soup works especially well, and to evoke the authentic flavor)
2 teaspoons salt
1: Wash the rice in a colander with cold water. Put the rice in a bowl and cover with warm salt water. This position until cool. Wash thoroughly in cold water (water should be clear), then drain well.
2: Melt the butter in a saucepan until it just begins to sizzle, before it turns brown. Add rice and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
3: Pour the broth or water in the pan, bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Do not stir while cooking pilau! Cook until the rice has absorbed all the water (10-15 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.
4: Take the pan from the heat and remove lid. Place a clean kitchen towel in the pot, and then replace the lid. Leave a “brew” for 5-10 minutes. Then serve.
If you like extra fluffy rice, use a wooden spoon or a fork to stir just before serving.
A bit of plain yogurt and chopped spring onions for a delicious side.
Variations on a Theme
Pilav can be added and embellished in many different ways. You can mix the mushrooms (Mantarli pilavı), add the chickpeas (Nohutlu pilavı), or end up with rice altogether and use instead cracked wheat (bulgur pilavı). Here are a couple of tasty pilau alternatives for once you have mastered the basics.
Pilav with peas
Pilav recipe and quantities as above
Extra ingredients: 150 g peas
Boil the peas or saute in butter until tender. Follow the recipe for rice up to the point 3. When lowering the heat after boiling, add the peas, stir quickly, and then continue to follow the basic recipe.