Turkish rice is fluffy, buttery, rich and very tasty.
My kids absolutely love this rice because it is so tasty and has a wonderful texture. It is very easy to make, requiring the same amount of time to cook as Basmati Rice.
Selecting the rice for Turkish pilav
In Turkey, pilav is most commonly made using Baldo rice. This is a plump short grain rice, similar to the Italian Arborio or risotto rice, but with a shorter cooking time. If you cannot find Baldo, Arborio rice will work just as well. It holds its shape well when cooked – also making it ideal for soups.
As Baldo rice absorbs flavours well, this is a perfect accompaniment for grilled meats, stews, vegetables (even in stuffed vegetables), salads or with yogurt.
Sauté rice in butter
Many years ago I found a tatty old Turkish cookbook which suggested sauté the rice first in butter. This gives a wonderful nutty aroma, the grains are fluffy and never stick together.
I have been using this technique ever since and it makes a perfect bowl of rice every time!
How to prepare Turkish rice
Baldo rice absorbs more water than Basmati:
For 1 cup Baldo rice, use 2 cups water
I always rinse the rice to remove the starch, as this prevents it from becoming sticky. Pilav should not be sticky.
This recipe uses Orzo pasta, but you could use small strand vermicelli (be careful as they brown quicker).
- Brown the orzo in the butter taking care not to let it burn, the add the drained rice.
- Cook the rice till it changes colour and the grains are coated in butter before adding the hot water and salt.
- Mix together, cover and simmer on a low flame for 10 minutes.
- Then remove from the heat, keeping the lid on so it continues to steam for another 5-10 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork before serving.
How to serve it
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Turkish Rice – Sehriyeli Pilav
- 1 tablespoon butter Add 1/2 tablespoon more if you like it very buttery.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup orzo pasta
- 2 cups baldo rice or Arborio rice, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups water freshly boiled or chicken stock
- salt to taste
- On low-medium heat, melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the oil. Stir in the orzo and cook for 1 minute, till it changes colour (be careful not to let it burn).
- Add the baldo rice and continue to stir till it changes colour and all the rice is coated in butter.
- Pour in the hot water or liquid, add salt and stir. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and keeping the lid on, allow to stand for 5 mins. Fluff with a fork and serve.
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