Turkish cuisine

How to cook the pirinç pilavı ?

The pirinç pilavı, a marvel of simplicity

Pirinç pilavı or pilaf rice, is the side dish that we see in almost all Turkish main dishes. In Turkey it is the star of the side dishes, because it is very tasty. Its preparation is simple and the result is truly excellent. I assure you that children love it, mine included.


Here are the ingredients to prepare the pirinç pilavı for 4 people.

  • Rice for risotto (the equivalent of 2 glasses)
  • 2 tablespoons of şehriye (also known as Italian rice)
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • salt

How to make it

The first important step is to wash the rice to remove the starch. Usually after about 4 rinses the rice loses its starch. To understand what I mean, the rice must be washed until the water becomes transparent and not whitish. After that, we set aside the washed rice.

We take a large and somewhat shallow pot. We begin to melt the oil and a knob of butter. Once melted, add the rice, which we cook until it turns golden.

Once the rice is browned, add the rice and şehriye, mixing everything for a couple of minutes. We add the salt and mix. We add hot water, double the volume of the rice: so for 2 glasses of rice, 4 glasses of hot water will be needed.

We lower the heat and let it cook over low heat for the time indicated on the package. Every now and then we check that the rice is not sticking on the bottom and mix. After the time necessary for cooking, turn it off and leave the pot covered. The steam will finish the job.

Mom’s tips

My mum had a habit (and obviously not only her …) of covering freshly cooked rice. She actually turned it off a couple of minutes earlier, when the rice still had a little water. She covered it with a couple of clean tea towels, so that the rice continued to cook, only with the heat of the pan and which guaranteed that it would not burn. This technique allowed the rice to swell better, without burning or becoming sticky.

Pirinç pilavı, an excellent side dish

Pirinç pilavı is a great side dish for köfte (meatballs). Imagine a dish with köfte and pirinç pilavi, accompanied by pide bread and a glass of cold ayran … I don’t know about you, but I already feel like I’m in Istanbul!