Turkish rice is fluffy, buttery, rich and very tasty, perfect with roasted meats and vegetables dishes.
Turkish rice is a wonderful fluffy rice with a slightly nutty flavour. It absorbs flavours well making it a perfect accompaniment for meats, stews, vegetables (including stuffed vegetables), salads and alongside Turkish yogurt, cacik.
My kids absolutely love this rice because it is so tasty and has a very satisfying 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 stirred into soup.
Sauté rice in butter
Many years ago I found a tatty old Turkish cookbook which suggested sautéing the rice first in butter. This gives a wonderful nutty aroma and the grains remain fluffy without sticking together.
I have been using this technique ever since and it makes a perfect bowl of rice every time!
Using baldo rice
Baldo rice absorbs more water than basmati, so use double the amount of water to rice.
For 1 cup Baldo rice, use 2 cups water
Turkish rice should not be sticky so rinse the rice till the water runs clear to remove the starch. This will prevent it from becoming sticky.
How to prepare
This recipe uses Orzo pasta, but you could use small strand vermicelli (be careful as they brown quickly).
- Brown the orzo in the butter taking care not to let it burn, then add the drained rice.
- Sauté the rice till it changes colour and the grains are coated in butter, then add hot water and salt.
- Mix together, cover and simmer on a low flame for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, keeping the lid on so it continues to steam for another 5-10 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork before serving.
Turkish rice will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stir into soup, mix with salads or serve warm with meat or vegetable dishes.
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Turkish Rice – Sehriyeli Pilav
- 1 tablespoon butter Add ½ tablespoon more if you like it very buttery.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ 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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