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You don't need to be a sultan..

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Do you think the pilau served at restaurants or probably at dinners you are invited is the whole story of Turkish pilau? No!!

The Ottoman, therefore İstanbul traditon of food consumption was richer than the other parts of the country in some respects..

Pilau is one example for that.

Today people hurriedly cook plain pilau as a side dish, or sometimes add ‘şehriye’ (small sized pasta produced for making pilau or soup). But the truth is more tasty than this!.

Here is a list of the material traditionaly used and still in use with rice:

Almond (badem)

Blackcurrent (kuş üzümü)

Raisin (kuru üzüm)

Chestnut (kestane)

Pine nuts (çam fıstığı)

Before making the list longer, I should add this note: the two items of the list, namely pine nuts and blackcurrent are the most common ones. Actually if we will talk about the famous ‘biber dolması’ (stuffed pepper) or yaprak sarması (grapevine leaves stuffed and rolled) the pilau inside should be cooked with these too, together with onion and  a special spice called ‘yenibahar’, the grinded dry fruits of the tree Pimenta racemosa (bay rum tree). Today, most of the housewifes make this pilau with only onion and dried  mint leaves added to the rice, partly because pine nut is very expensive. Though not so common, almond and raisin is another good combination, in particular if you cook  pilau with meat. A bit of cinnamon can be added to this combination as well. (Actually cooking meat with cinnamon and plenty of onions , is part of the Turkish cuisine, with a general name ‘yahni’). As to chestnut, you can add it to the almond-raisin combination, to make your pilau a kitchen phenomenon!! (If only salty and half-roasted almond is available, soak them in water, wait until you can peel them, and fry a lttle).

 If you want to exaggerate, you can add dried appricots, plum juice, mercanköşk  (marjoram or Origanum onites; or Turkish oregano), pistachio nuts , nutmeg seeds (cevz-i bevva)…oh, I don’t mean all of them, even for sultans..

Needless to say, black pepper is somewhere around here, if you like.

Do you want to try?, ok, first put the  onions cut into slices for normal frying as you know, and add pine nuts and blackcurrents in the casserole, fry them a little, until the creamy nuts turn into light yellow,  and add water following your normal procedure for pilau. If you cannot find yenibahar, don’t worry, the result will be still great without it.:glare: You can do the same for almond and raisins. These combinations go well with 'sweet' type of spices, so you can add  a bit of yenibahar or cinnnamon to this almond pilau as well. 

I can still suggest a relatively plain but a very delicious pilau: Boil the peeled chestnuts, or boil them first and peel ,  and fry them with butter (oil is not advisable for that), and add water in the usual amount  of your recipe for pilau. This is on top of my list!:P

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Allspice versus yenibahar: there is some confusion about it..

Although the tree of allspice is given a botanical name Pimenta dioica or P. officinalis,  yenibahar is sometimes called P. racemosa,  and sometimes P. dioica..it can be a mixture of these two, ..

I don't know if this is important..

Just as a note, I wrote..

Now big juicy green peppers must be in your garden, just cook this 'iç pilav' and fill the peppers with it!! oh, where was your home?:P

Sure, kaburga dolması! Maybe the best example for iç pilav.. and what about midye (mussel) dolması? 

You don't need to fill mussels with iç pilav for this special taste..just half-cook the rice with fresh tomatos first, the remaining procedure is the same; mussels should be cooked with rice...

Is it too early for dinner?:confused:

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