Monday, June 21, 2010

Entrees - Pilav with Chickpeas

In Turkey, they say you can measure the expertise of a woman in the kitchen by the rice she makes.
Boy, did it take me a long, long, long time to get it right.  Even today, I still hang around the stove while making the rice and check regularly to see if it is done.  There are many variations of rice in Turkish cuisine, you can add peas and dillweed, or tomatoes or eggplant or meat or spices.  Every single region has a special kind of pilav of their own, each unique from the others.

I use medium grain Goya rice because it is the same as the rice we have in Turkey, the others tend to be more rigid and don't soften enough to our liking.  In a good 'Pilav' the rice is suppose to be soft and yet not sticky; every fork-full should consist of separate grains of shiny rice cooked to perfection.
I am told, you are not suppose to stir the rice often and only with a fork.  
My mother-in-law always says that the 'Pilav' would like the family to quarrel so that it can pull itself together.  It is a good idea to let it sit for at least 40 minutes.

I prefer the bottom crisp and brown, so I make it in a non-stick pan and let it stay on the heat a little bit longer after the water is completely evaporated. I then flip it onto a serving plate like a cake.  Another great option is to put the cooked chicken (since you are going to have it on hand after making the broth anyway) around the pilav and you can serve that as the main meal.

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