turkish rice

So, this is a quicker version to the completely traditional method of making şehriyeli pilav but we’ll explain more about that at the end. This is a method that works well for us, and, from lots of feedback over the years, this recipe works for others, too. Let’s make Turkish rice…

serves: 4, prep time: 5 mins, cook time: 15 mins, total time: 20 mins

A quick and easy recipe for Turkish rice (şehriyeli pilav) which makes a tasty side serving for many Turkish dishes.

1 cup of rice (we use a standard tea/coffee mug)
2 tbsp şehriye (orzo or vermicelli)
1 tbsp butter
2 cups hot water or stock

Heat your butter in a deep saucepan over a low heat.
Now add your şehriye (orzo) to the pan and stir around for a few minutes until you see it start to change colour.

As soon as you notice the orzo start to go brown, add your cup of rice and continue to stir. Remember to keep the pan over a low heat and keep stirring, otherwise your rice and orzo will burn.
After 3-4 minutes, add the water or stock.

There will be a big sizzle and the liquid will bubble up. Turn up the heat and bring the rice to the boil, fully.

Once the rice is boiling, give it a couple of stirs around, put a lid on the pan, leaving a small gap, and reduce the heat to medium-low.

Leave your rice to simmer for 8-10 minutes until the water or stock has absorbed.

Now remove from the heat, put the lid firmly on the pan and leave your Turkish rice to stand for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, remove the lid and fork through your rice.

If you find the butter too rich in your Turkish rice, we sometimes just use a glug of olive oil. This is not traditional and does change the flavour slightly but it makes or an occasional, tasty variation.
Whatever size cup you use for your rice, make sure you use the same for your water or stock.
Calories are approximate and are calculated on using butter and water as opposed to stock.

Nutrition Information: Serving size: 1 Calories: 122

Before moving to Turkey, we had no idea what şehriye was. And, when we were in restaurants, eating meals, we always wondered what those ‘brown bits’ were in our servings of Turkish rice. Well, those ‘brown bits’ are orzo (şehriye) and are a type of pasta, as you can see in the photo below. Some Turkish rice recipes will use vermicelli, instead. Both are quite common.

When you are sautéing your orzo, it’s important that you keep a close eye on it, as, once it starts to brown, it can burn very quickly and will ruin the flavour of your pilav dish. If you are using vermicelli, it will brown quicker. Add your rice immediately after you notice the change in colour and keep stirring.

This recipe for Turkish rice makes enough pilav to serve as a side dish for four people. However much you decide to make, the easy thing to remember is you just use twice as much water as rice and it should cook perfectly.

So, what about that traditional method we mentioned earlier? Well, in Turkey, before cooking, people will rinse their rice thoroughly to get rid of all the starch so the rice doesn’t become sticky. Some people will also soak their rice in warm water before cooking. If you want to cook Turkish rice in this way, you will need to alter cooking times and also the amount of water or stock you use – it’s all down to experimenting.