Sunday, January 20, 2013

Turkish-Style Rice Pilaf


I lived in Turkey for 3 ½ years, and definitely enjoyed the food.  One of the basic Turkish staples is rice pilaf, which reminds me a lot of rice-a-roni in the way it is prepared.  I cook pilaf fairly often, because it goes well with lots of dishes.  I like it with Turkish dishes like Shepherd Salad, Green Beans, and Tavas (stews).  I also like it with a zucchini and beef dish that I make, and in La Madeline’s Tomato Basil Soup. 


Ingredients for Rice Pilaf

1 cup Uncle Ben’s converted rice, long grain

1 cup medium grain rice, such as Hindoe

5 cups water

1/3 cup small pasta

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

Chicken bouillon powder or paste



1.  Pour olive oil in large pot, like a Dutch oven.  Heat over medium high until hot. 

2.  Add pasta, like Mexican fideo, ½” pieces of spaghetti, tiny stars, orzo, or other small pasta. 

3.  Stir frequently to prevent burning.  When pasta starts to brown, add butter.  Don’t add butter too soon, as it burns easily.  The pilaf would be fantastic with the pasta cooked exclusively in butter, but that would be tricky to accomplish.  Cook pasta until browned. 

4.  Measure and rinse rice.  I do not use a strainer, so some water remains.  I like the texture of the medium grain rice, but the pilaf tends to get gummy if using only medium grain.  The long grain Uncle Ben’s rice helps prevent the pilaf from getting gummy. 

5.  Add rice, water, and chicken bouillon to pasta. 

6.  Cover and cook on medium for 25 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Best not to peek, which I would not do until at least 20 minutes.  If rice is still “wet”, cover and continue to cook over slightly lowered heat.  When cook time is complete, stir to fluff. 




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