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The Pilaf Tradition in Turkish Cuisine
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Şehriyeli Bulgur Pilavı
Bulgur Pilaf with Vermicelli


2 c coarse bulgur
½ c fine broken vermicelli or orzo
4 T vegetable oil or butter or mix of both
1 t salt, 1 t sugar
Meat or chicken broth

Wash the bulgur and pick over for stones etc. Brown the vermicelli or orzo in the oil. Add the bulgur and sauté a bit in the oil. When the color of the bulgur begins to change a bit, add the salt and sugar (optional), and enough meat or chicken broth to cover. (The general rule is 1-1 bulgur and liquid.) The pilaf can also be made with plain water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the water is completely absorbed. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes and serve. Plain bulgur pilaf is made in the same way, minus the vermicelli.

Domatesli Bulgur Pilavı
Bulgur Pilaf with Tomatoes


2 c bulgur
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 tomatoes, grated
4-5 T vegetable oil, butter or a mixture
1 T tomato paste
1-2 green “sivri” peppers, anaheims or 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 c water or meat broth
1 t salt

Saute onions in oil until they are transparent. Add the green pepper and sauté a few minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir a few times. Grate the tomatoes in a saucepan – the peel will remain in your hand, discard it – and heat, stirring till they thicken. Add 2 c water or broth (adjust salt if you use broth) to the tomatoes, bring to a boil and pour into the bulgur. Boil, reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer till all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest 10-15 minutes, serve.

Mercimekli Bulgur Pilavı
Bulgur Pilaf with Lentils


2 c coarse bulgur
1+ cup cooked green lentils
4-5 T vegetable oil, butter or a combination of both
1 t salt
Red pepper (optional)

Place water and salt into a saucepan, bring to a boil. Add bulgur and let boil. As it begins to expand, add the lentils and stir once, cover and allow to cook until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest a few minutes. Heat the oil in a skillet, and add the bulgur pilaf. Cooking the pilaf in the oil this way gives it a different flavor. If desired, red pepper may be added to the oil as it is heating.

Pirinç Pilavı
Plain Rice Pilaf


2 c short-grain rice such as Calrose type
3-4 T oil or butter
3 c water or chicken broth*
1 t salt
1 t sugar (optional)
1 T lemon juice

At least ½ hour before, pour boiling water over the rice and allow to soak then drain. Put oil in a pot and heat, add the rice and sauté in the oil. When you see the rice grains begin to stick to each other, add the lemon juice. This will cause them to become separate and give the pilaf a better consistency. Add the salt and sugar. When the grains begin to lengthen and stick to each other a bit more, add the water or broth. The liquid should come 1 finger width above the surface of the rice.

Lower heat, cover and allow to simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.

* The rule of thumb is 1 ½ cups of liquid for each cup of rice. However this may change according to the quality and type of rice and how long it has been stored.

Şehriyeli Pirinç Pilavı
Rice Pilaf with Vermicelli

Make the same way as above, but before adding the rice, add the desired amount of thin broken vermicelli or orzo and brown. Then add the rice and continue as above.

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