REPUBLIC OF TURKEY MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND TOURISM

Pilaf

TURKISH VEGETARIAN COOKING

PILAF

Turks, like most middle Eastern people consume a good bit of rice each year. Unlike the Asians though, Turkish rice dishes are most flavourful. The variety is maintained and enhanced by the use of all kinds of herbs, spices and cereals and legumes. It seems as though some people are inventing a new rice dish every day. Lately I noticed restaurants serving a spiced rice dish blanketed with a thin dough baked in an individual earthenware bowl! You can serve rice as a side dish or as a main dish. But the importance of a simple white pilau (Turks never call a rice dish just that; rice, when cooked, is a pilau) served with white beans cooked in tomato sauce must be especially stressed here because it definitely has a place in the Turkish culture as the "national dish". When young men remember their army experience, they almost always mention the amount of pilau and beans they have enjoyed along with the lasting friendships.

Rice is also used in large quantities with fresh vegetables that can be stuffed or that can be used as a wrapping around it after it has been mixed with spices and herbs.