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.
It is very easy to make, requiring the same amount of time to cook as basmati rice.
We love this rice because it is so tasty and has a very satisfying texture.
Selecting the right rice
So what kind of rice should you use?
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. It creates 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!
How to cook baldo rice
Baldo rice absorbs more water than basmati, so use double the amount of water to rice. Use the ratio of 1:2 rice to water.
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 it
This recipe uses Orzo pasta, but you could use small strand vermicelli.
Note: vermicelli needs to roast for half the time and be careful as it burns quickly.
- Brown the orzo in the butter and oil 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.
- Stir, cover and simmer over a low flame for 10 minutes. While the rice is cooking do not remove the lid and do not stir.
- Remove from the heat and keep the lid on so it continues to steam for another 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
- 50 g orzo pasta ¼ cup
- 400 g baldo rice 2 cups, or Arborio rice, rinsed and drained
- 950 ml water 4 cups, freshly boiled or chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust according to taste if using stock
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan on low-medium heat in and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Stir in 50 g orzo pasta and cook for 1 minute till it darkens very slightly (be careful not to let it burn).
- Add 400 g baldo rice and stir till it is lightly golden and the rice is coated in butter.
- Pour in 950 ml water or liquid, add 1 teaspoon salt and stir. Cover with a lid, bring to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Do not uncover and do not stir during this time.
- Remove from heat, keep the lid on and leave it to rest for 5 mins. Fluff with a fork and serve.
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Nutritional information is calculated automatically and accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The information above is an estimate per serving.
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