Monday, 18 November 2013

Turkish touch : Pilaf

I recently tasted a Keema Pulao at Hungry Tide, a little joint off Purna Das Road, that serves sumptuous food.The Pulao didn’t boast culinary ingenuity, though the balance of flavours was commendable. It was a neat dish, true, but definitely not a definitive Keema Pulao. But what made the dish memorable for me was an element of surprise tucked into an otherwise familiar dish. What I did not expect in the Keema Pulao were crisp and crunchy croutons. I loved the play of texture in the dish, the creativity. I think texture is what brings dynamism to a dish, gives it a distinct character. And with rice, you can just let the creative juices flow.

 The Turks know how to do their pilafs well and what I loved the most about the pilafs I tasted there was the play of texture. From beans and lentils to herbs and dried fruits, the pilafs are much more than just flavoured rice. The customary sides of pilaf, different types, which came with the kebabs and koftes, were as much a delight as the main dish itself. The one I loved the most was the Sehriyeli Pilav, pilaf with vermicelli. Laced in butter and subtly seasoned, the vermicelli adds a textural twist I loved. And I have tried to recreate it my way. Only I have added my own twists, taking tiny bits and scraps from different pilafs I have tasted there. I just wanted more and more goodness in my pilaf. Try it and you won’t regret it.  


Long grain rice: 2 cups
Vermicelli: 4-5 tbsp
Potatoes: 2-3 medium sized
Chopped Parsley – ½ cup
Dill – 3-4 tbsp
Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
Butter- 100 gms
Chicken Stock or water – 4 cups
Salt to taste
Nutmeg powder- a pinch (optional)


  • Soak the rice in water for half an hour, drain and dry out on a newspaper.
  • Heat butter in a deep bottomed pan. Add cinnamon powder and a pinch of nutmeg (optional), stir for a few seconds until the maddening aroma fills your nostrils. And then add the rice and keep stirring until the rice begins to get transparent.
  • Add chicken stock or water (both, warm). Cover and cook.
  • When the rice is three fourths done, add salt to taste and the vermicelli.
  • Once the rice is done and liquids have dried up, toss in the herbs, cover and keep it to rest.
  • Dice the potatoes into small cubes. Heat oil and fry the potatoes until crisp and golden outside and soft within. Season with salt and pepper and toss it into the rice.
  • Serve piping hot with kebabs or good old curries.

PS: Tomorrow stay tuned for a Turkish inspired chicken dish you will love!!!!


  1. this is such a beautiful recipe! I am totally running to the market tomorrow to get fresh dill.

  2. Thank you....I loved this rice there and made it the same day I returned. I think you will like it.