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Braised Chicken Rice (with chickpeas) Steamed with All Spice – Nohutlu, Tavuklu Pilav

I very much enjoy reading the food writer Rose Prince’s articles at the Telegraph and was delighted to get her recent cookery book, “Kitchenella; The Secrets of Women: Heroic, Simple, Nurturing Cookery – For Everyone”. The title says it all; a wonderful cookery book that I have been reading like a novel, a celebration of modest everyday cookery yet packed with flavour, as well as nutritious and practical. Just what we need in our busy lives, to provide nurturing home made meals without breaking the bank. I also loved her emphasis on how important for us to hand down recipes and knowledge of good food to our children and loved ones, as this will be the most effective food education they will have. I know my copy of Kitchenella will stay close to me in the kitchen and it is highly recommended. Here are some wonderful recipes from the book that makes a complete meal. Hope you enjoy them and pass them on.

Braised Chicken Rice (with chickpeas) Steamed with All Spice – Nohutlu, Tavuklu Pilav

A very family friendly, delicious and easy to make all in one main course by Rose Prince’s Kitchenella, with my addition of chickpeas. The recipe really reminded me of our very popular street food, rice with chickpeas (with the addition of chicken pieces occasionally) and you can find in street stalls as well as traditional restaurants in Turkey. Rose’s original recipe doesn’t call for chickpeas but there are ideas for many other additions if you’d like. Once cooked, you can serve with salad or plain yoghurt and roasted pine nuts.

The recipe is also great to use left over roast chicken or meat.

Serves 4-6

Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes

30 ml/2 tablespoons pine nuts
30 ml/2 tablespoons butter or dripping
1 onion, finely chopped
5 allspice pods, crushed in a pestle and mortar, or 1 teaspoon ground all spice
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
4 boneless chicken thighs, cut into children’s bite-size pieces (or equivalent of left over roast chicken)
200 gr/7 oz basmati rice, rinsed in a sieve under the cold tap water – or chicken stock to cover – about 1.2 litres/2 pints
160 gr/5 ½ oz cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Coriander (cilantro) leaves to serve

Use a large heavy-based frying pan to cook this dish. Cut out a circle of greaseproof paper or baking parchment that is 1 cm/1/2in larger in diameter than the pan. Place the pan over a medium heat and add the pine nuts. Toast for about 3 minutes shaking the pan from time to time until they are golden. Transfer them to a separate plate.

Put the fat into the pan. When it melts, add the onion and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes or more, stirring, until it is pale golden. Add the spices and the meat and cook for another 2 minutes stirring slowly. Add the rice, stir over the heat for 1 minute, then add enough water or stock to cover to a depth of about 1.5 cm/3/4in. Bring to the boil, turn down so it slowly simmers, then cover with the paper, pressing the paper down on to the surface of the pan’s contents. Leave to cook for about 12-15 minutes, then lift the paper and test a grain of rice to see if it is tender. Give it a few more minutes if not, paper lid on. Add about 100 ml/3 ½ fl oz more water or stock if it seems dry. When the rice is tender, lift off the lid, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and mix well. Put on the table with a bowl of plain yoghurt, plus the pine nuts, coriander leaves and a salad ( the cucumber and tomato salad works well) if you like.

Note: If you’d like to use dried chickpeas, you need to soak them in plenty of cold water overnight. Next day drain the water and put fresh water, boil for about 1 hour. I use canned precooked chickpeas and it works really well.

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