Turkish style street food

Turkish style street food

This dish can be found in the markets of Istanbul, sold as a hot lunch, often topped with freshly boiled chicken breast. Be sure to let the rice stand for at least 15 minutes to finish cooking before serving.

2 shallots, sliced
2 tablespoons clarified butter or ghee
3 ounces vermicelli pasta, broken into 1-inch lengths
1-1/2 cups baldo or Arborio rice
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
2 cups vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios

In a saucepan, sauté the shallots in the butter for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the vermicelli and, continually stirring, cook until golden, keeping an eye on it because this happens pretty quickly. Add the rice, chickpeas and apricots, making sure the rice is well coated with the butter. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, season and cover with a lid. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, without stirring. Have a look from time to time, and add water if needed.

When the rice is tender, add the pistachios and turn off the heat. Cover the saucepan with a clean towel and replace the lid. Let stand for 15-20 minutes — this will allow the rice to cook further while becoming lovely and fluffy.

Notes from Lynne

In hot weather, serve the pilaf at room temperature scattered with torn mint leaves.
Ghee is a clarified butter (meaning butter has been melted to liquefy it, then the water and milk solids are removed) that is a staple in Southern Asian cuisines. Find it in stores selling Indian food products and some well-stocked supermarkets. Store in the refrigerator.