In Turkey it is said that if someone can cook good pilav, it means that they can make every dish good. According to me it’s not true. Every dish, including pilav, requires equal care. It is possible to make even the simplest food bad, without care, and to make any food good with good care. Since pilav has such an “importance”, extra care is taken and while eating everybody watches out if it is good (grainy and tender). In other words, if the reference point was not pilav but beans, the same would be said and experienced for beans.
But since this is the current situation, we have to act accordingly. Everyone has different tricks for good pilav. Some soak the rice for half an hour, some add some sugar, some use drops of lemon juice, etc. Although many of these tricks have placebo effect, there are certainly a few that really work. But I’m not sure if there is anyone who really knows which one.
Tricks of Grainy Pilav
According to Turkish people the best pilav is the one that is tender and grainy (that doesn’t stick). I want to share my own tips and tricks for a grainy pilav. First of all I don’t soak rice, I just wash it. But I am not talking about just washing it. I put it into a strainer and gently rub under running water until white water (starchy water) goes away. After draining it well, I immediately add it into the heated oil+butter mixture. If you soak it, it can break while roasting. Also, we fry rice to make it crunchy. So why do we need to soften it first?
When roasting rice, I use low-medium heat and mix it constantly so that no rice is cooked more or less than the other. After adding the water, I cover it and let the rice to absorb water slowly.
In addition to these, if there is not a condition that requires white pilav, I make pilav with vermicelli. The biggest reason for this is that I like it this way. The second reason is that the vermicelli pilav is always more grainy than plain pilav. There is a technical explanation for this.
Vermicelli is an ingredient which has a high absorption capacity. So it won’t be a problem if you use too much water for the pilav as the vermicelli will absorb the overused water.
Enjoy the recipe…
- 1 cup of rice, washed and drained,
- 3 tablespoons of shortcut vermicelli,
- 1 tablespoon butter,
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil,
- 2.5 cups of boiling water,
- Take butter and oil into a deep pan and heat until the butter melts,
- Add the vermicelli and stir fry until they turn into light brown,
- Add the rice and salt and stir fry until they start to stick together and become crunchy,
- Add the water and mix,
- Cover and cook on low heat until the rice absorbs all the water and is tender,
- Turn off the heat and rest for 15 minutes. before serving.