The mother of almost all rice dishes, Pilaf!
Briyani, Asian Fried Rice, Italian Risotto, Jambalaya, Chelow and Spanish Paella are all the descendants of the Rice Pilaf. I guess most of us don’t know that but that’s a fact and not only that some other grain type dishes which are rendered in fat and flavoured and mixed with some vegetables and sometimes meat is also related to this centuries old recipe.
First accounts of this recipe according to food historians were found during the 5th century BCE in the Middle East more specifically it is credited to the Persian Empire. It then became popular as well in the Mediterranean region as it was a popular trade route and partners of the Persians, from there it then was spread to different parts of Eastern Europe. It was then brought to the Americas as one of the results of the exploration of the “New World“.
Commonly when we hear the term pilaf we immediately associate it with rice but traditional pilaf which are also called pilau can contain other grains. Whether it is pilaf or pilau the cooking process is similar. First any uncooked or dried grain is sautéed in fat like butter or oil, broth is then added to continue the cooking process, also a variety of meats and vegetables may be added. It can be enjoyed as a full meal or just as a side dish.
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 4 tbsp butter
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 cup peas
- 1 pinch saffron
- ½ tsp paprika
- In a pan add butter and cook onions until soft in low heat.
- Bring heat to medium high then add rice then cook until it's just lightly toasted.
- Add the chicken stock, saffron and paprika bring it to a boil then give it a mix scraping the bottom so they don’t burn. Turn heat to medium and cover pan and cook for 10 minutes. At this stage most of the liquid is already absorbed by the rice.
- Mix the rice then add carrot and peas, season with salt then simmer in very low heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until water dries out.
- Turn off heat then fluff the rice, serve while hot.