Rice Pilaf

pilaf [ pi-lahf, pee-lahf ] rice cooked in a meat or poultry broth.

A Pilaf is a rice dish, or sometimes wheat, cooked in broth or stock and spices and other ingredients added such as vegetables or meat. Techniques are employed to ensure that the cooked grains do not adhere (not sticky).

Pilaf has lots of alternate names (according to Wikipedia) such as Polao, Pela, Pilav, Pallao, Pilau, Pelau, Pulao, Palau, Pulaav, Palaw, Palavu, Plov, Palov, Polov, Polo, Polu, Kurysh, Fulao, Fulaaw, Fulav, Fulab, Osh and Aş. Since the time of the Abbasid Caliphate (third caliphate to succeed the Islamic prophet, Muhammad this method of cooking rice spread from India to Spain. Author K. T. Achaya, the Indian epic Mahabharata (ancient poetry of India – “the longest poem ever written”), wrote about rice mixed with meat.

The tenth-century Persian scholar Avicenna (“father” of modern pilaf by Persians) was the first to make use of pilaf in a recipe. In the 17th-century Iranian philosopher, Molla Sadra would write about pilaf dishes.

Some cooks prefer basmati (a variety of long, slender-grained aromatic rice) because its grains stay “light, fluffy and separate”. Whatever rice you use you should rinse it first to remove the starch. Water or stock can be used and common additions include fried onions, fragrant spices like cardamom, bay leaves and cinnamon.

When making rice pilaf, using long rice and lightly frying, then simmering in broth is common. For color, many beta-carotene-rich ingredients are used like saffron, red bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes.

From Foodiosity


How to make rice pilaf (quick guide)

To make a quick and easy pilaf, you need a few ingredients you probably already have around the house. Here’s a quick guide for a very simple pilaf, and you can adjust the recipe for however many people you want to feed. This one yields 3 portions if used as a side-dish.

You will need:

  • 1 cup basmati or jasmine rice, washed
  • 2.5 cups of fresh, cold water or broth
  • a medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • a small carrot, either finely chopped 
  • salt and pepper
  • cooking oil

Finely chop the onion and carrot, and fry them in oil on medium-low heat. Once the onion and carrots are done (translucent and soft) add in your washed rice, and lightly fry it for a few seconds. You don’t have to truly fry it, it just has to pick up some flavor. 

Add in 2.5 times as much water or broth, as you did rice. So if you were to add just half a cup of rice, you’d need a little over a cup of cooking liquid. The best ratio is 1:2 rice to water, but the extra half a cup is there to account for evaporation. 

Add salt and pepper. Bring everything to a boil, and once it starts boiling reduce heat to the lowest setting possible. Do not stir or shake or move the rice in any way. Let it simmer on its own until there is no more water left. 

You can check for water by (very carefully) tilting the pot to see if any water comes around the rice. If you tilt the pot almost completely to the side, it’s likely the water is completely evaporated. 

This process usually takes about 20 minutes, more if you’re cooking in a very tall pot or a whole lot of rice. You can use a lid if you want, and in that case you should use a true 1:2 rice to cooking liquid ratio.

When the pilaf is done, let it sit for a few minutes alone, then fluff it before serving.

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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