Recipes/ Small Bites/ Turkish - Mediterranean/ Vegetarian

How to Make Turkish Rice Pilaf

Oftentimes when eating at Turkish restaurants, the rice will have little pieces of browned pasta cooked with it. It’s either almond-shaped orzo, or short, thin vermicelli noodles. 

You can also skip the noodles altogether and follow the rest of these instructions to get “Turkish rice.” (This distinction is important in our home, as it is vastly different from the plain, sticky rice we eat with Korean food.) You’ll want to only use 4 cups of water if you skip the pasta, instead of 4 ½. 

One other thing, you should opt for short-grain rice if you can. You can even buy Turkish rice at a Turkish or Mediterranean market. However, you can use these same directions when cooking with a medium-grain/Jasmine rice that you can pick up at any grocery store. 

Here’s what you need:

  • ½ cup vermicelli or orzo
  • 2 cups of rice (washed & rinsed)
  • 4.5 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp preferred cooking oil or butter
  • 2 tsp salt

Start by adding the water to a kettle or pan and turning on high heat.

Next, add a medium-sized pan to the stove and turn heat to medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil followed by the pasta. Cook until the pasta starts to turn brown (the vermicelli will cook & burn faster than the orzo) then add in the rice and salt. Mix well and saute for 1-2 minutes.

Finally, slowly add the hot water (careful, it will steam quite a bit when it first hits the pan). Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, until you can no longer see liquid in the center of the pan (see below).

Remove from heat and remove the lid. Cover the pan with a paper towel and replace the lid above the paper towel. This will absorb moisture created by the steam. Let sit for a couple minutes before serving.

Turkish Rice Pilaf w/ Vermecelli or Orzo

Dinner Mediterranean, Turkish
By Janice Yucel Serves: 6
Prep Time: 5 Minutes Cooking Time: 20 Minutes Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vermicelli or orzo
  • 2 cups of rice (washed & rinsed)
  • 4.5 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp preferred cooking oil or butter
  • 2 tsp salt

Instructions

1

Start by adding the water to a kettle or pan and turning on high heat.

2

Next, add a medium-sized pan to the stove and turn heat to medium-high heat.

3

When hot, add the oil followed by the pasta. Cook until the pasta starts to turn brown (the vermicelli will cook & burn faster than the orzo) then add in the rice and salt. Mix well and saute for 1-2 minutes.

4

Finally, slowly add the hot water

5

Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, until you can no longer see liquid in the center of the pan.

6

Remove from heat and remove the lid. Cover the pan with a paper towel and replace the lid above the paper towel.

7

Let sit for a couple minutes before serving.

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