Rice, pilaff form a very important part of Turkish cuisine; we Turks like to have rice, bulgur wheat or pulses for at least one meal every day. Pilav or pilaffs are enjoyed as an accompaniment to stews and casseroles like to this Kuru Fasulye, dried beans stew with chicken in tomato sauce or are served as the main course, like this popular Turkish street food Nohutlu Pilav – Rice with chickpeas (and chicken) . The cooking of rice is regarded as an art (and traditionally an important test for the bride-to-be to master before marriage!); the grains must be soft but still have a bite to them.
One of the dishes we made at our Aegean style Turkish cooking class at Hanimeli, near Sirince was this very delicious & impressive Etli Pilav – Rice cooked with chunks of meat and onions. It is common to incorporate meat and vegetables into the rice and flavors change in different regions, with the use of different spices. It has been very interesting to see how Etli Pilav is made at the Aegean region and compare it with the Mevlubi – rice with marinated meat, eggpplant, onions and potatoes cooked in Southern Turkey, more fragrant and richer with the use of spices and red pepper paste, biber salcasi.
We greatly enjoyed this delicately flavored Etli Pilav, the Aegean style; the marriage of sauteed onions and meat was so delicious cooked with rice.
Rice with Chunks of Meat and Onion – Etli Pilav
Preparation time : 15 minutes Cooking time: 35-40 minutes
350gr/12oz/1 ¾ cups long grain or wholegrain basmati rice, rinsed and drained
450gr/1 lb. beef or lamb, cut in small chunks
2 medium onions, quartered and sliced thinly
30ml/2 tablespoon butter
1lt/4 cups of the meat’s cooking liquid reserved
15ml/1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Non-stick pan works best for this dish
Place the meat in a heavy pan, pour in the water (enough to cover the meat and some more) and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender at low to medium heat. Season with salt and ground black pepper and make sure to reserve and keep the cooking liquid.
In a separate pan (non-stick pan works best), stir in 1 tbsp. butter and olive oil and sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes. Then take out the cooked meat from the other pan and spread them evenly over the onions. Over the meat, stir in and spread the rinsed rice. Add the cooking liquid, the remaining 1 tbsp. butter and salt to taste. Cover and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the liquid absorbed.
Once cooked, turned the heat off and place a paper towel over the pan and cover with the lid. Rest the rice for about 10 minutes, this will help all the moisture to be absorbed and rice to settle.
Before serving, turn the rice upside down on a wide serving tray, onions and the meat will appear as layers at the top, looking like a delicious savory cake. The delicious flavors of the cooked meat and onion blend in with the rice and make it very flavorsome.
Season with ground black pepper and serve hot. This dish can be a meal on its own, or you can complement with this Eggplants cooked in olive oil with vegetables, Zeytinyagli Patlican or how about with this refreshing Purslane with garlic yoghurt, Yogurtlu Semizotu?
Hope this inspires for healthy, delicious meals, cooked and enjoyed together. Afiyet Olsun,
Spring time in Ephesus, Turkey – Popular with children and cats too!-
I love to be able to have a chance to cook with locals and enjoy regional Turkish cuisine, exploring the magnificent sites all around Turkey. After our Aegean style Turkish cooking class, we made it to the Ephesus, dating back to 6000 BC, to the Neolithic age. Ephesus, the best preserved Roman city in the Eastern Mediterranean with its Temple of Artemis, is one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. Ephesus had a population of more than 250,000 in the 1st century BC, which served to make it one of the largest cities in the Mediterranean world. Only about 25 % of this magnificent site has been excavated; just imagine its grandeur once more excavation done.
Spring is a great time to visit Ephesus, with mild, pleasant temperatures reaching around 70F. Cats seems to be the residents of Ephesus at the moment, greatly enjoying this fantastic site! It has also been lovely to see children from babies, toddlers to teenagers at Ephesus; seeing is believing and this experience is I am sure to stay with them more than any history book. I remember taking our son to Ephesus when he was about 5 years old; his fascination with the Old Roman Milestone is still vivid in his memories. And how about this little one? He certainly enjoyed strolling around Ephesus!
Ephesus, once, the trade centre of the ancient world, is located on a very fertile valley. Here is the Goddess of Victory, Nike, in Ephesus – next to one of the many fig trees in the region; they are simply everywhere in Ephesus.
Last but not least, the Libary of Celsus at Ephesus; what an impressive piece, still takes my breath away, even if I must have seen it over a dozen of times.
Before I sing off; I forgot to mention a wonderful eatery, Asik Restaurant, at my previous post on Didyma. We had a very delicious and generous Turkish Esnaf Lokanta style buffet lunch at Asik Restaurant, right accross the entrance of Didyma. Perhaps 15-20 different types of home cooked traditional Turkish food from Izmir kofte -meatballs with potato in tomato sauce, bulgur pilaff, stuffed cabbage leaves to eggs cooked with spinach,karniyarik – stuffed eggplants with ground meat and vegetables filling are offer and you feel like you are in heaven. Hasan Bey treated us to a real Turkish hospitality and we re-filled our plates with this generous, delicious food and greatly enjoyed it. Many of these recipes are available at this blog, if you would like to have a go.
My best wishes for exciting, fulfilling travels, Selamlar,
Ozlem, I love the look of Ephesus, the beauty of the place is breathtaking, if the walls could speak, we’d hear the most amazing stories! And the rice with meat and onion sounds delicious, I like the molded look, perfect for parties and get-togethers!xxPeri
Cheers Peri; I loved the look of etli pilav too : ) and as an all in one meal, great for entertaining too. Oh, you have to make it to Ephesus, the place takes your breath away : ) xx Ozlem
I’ve BEEN to Ephesus and it does INDEED take your breath away ! We had an Easter sunrise service in the colesium…MAGNIFICENT !!
Thank you for stopping by Pati, glad you enjoyed Ephesus; I feel the same, no matter haw many times I have been there, each time the whole place takes my breath away, timeless.. That Easter sunrise at the colesium must be so memorable!
Looks like you’ve been busy traveling around again! Love the cats among the ancient ruins, and the little boy is a doll too. Cheers!
Merhaba Joy – the traveling and food has been very memorable – and yes the little boy is adorable : )
surely i will try this one… thanks for sharing..
many thanks for stopping by Racky, pleasure to share!
i could eat rice or grains at almost every meal. this looks so good! if i ever travel to turkey, i better spend weeks because i need to try everything. yesterday i ate an iranian meal and had my first Torshi-e Makhloot. now i must make it. it was fabulous!
Merhaba Jaz; I bet you will have a ball and enjoy every minute of it when you travel to Turkey-your Iranian meal sounds fabulous, hope you post the recipe!
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The etli pilav looks wonderful – I’ve never cooked it like this before so will give it a go.
Glad you will have a go at etli pilav; it was delicious and easy to make – definetely recommend a non-stick pan for the ease of turning the rice upside down!
Your post evokes lovely memories of our visits to Ephesus – what a spectacular site!
So agree Barbara, a truly special site, glad it brought happy memories back : )
I went to Ephesus at the end of March – it’s a gorgeous place, and they’re doing such good work to reconstruct the buildings 🙂
I very much agree Rachel, the place is breathtaking, and only about 25 % excavated – just imagine when more work done and more things to see 🙂
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Lovely blog, I found it via your friend seasonal cooking blog. My father grew up in Istanbul and spoke Turkish well although we are Greek. I am very influenced by the cooking I remember from my childhood. Our cultures are so similar, pity about the politics that stir division. I will enjoy cooking your recipes, and tomorrow will start with the quince which I never managed to get to go soft before. All the best.
Kalispera Eva, thank you so much for your kind note. I share the same sentiments; I love our shared culinary heritage, and I have many dear Greek friends, we have so much in common, and that’s what I love to celebrate : ) I hope you enjoy the recipes – the quince turned well, hope it is for you too. My very best wishes, Ozlem