I’m not a great cook, never have been and probably never will be, but for the past few months I’ve been cooking more often and trying my hand at some Turkish dishes after being ‘trained’ by Berkay. He rarely compliments my food, it’s never salty enough or oily enough, but a few days ago he told me my attempt at Turkish rice was great, and that’s good enough for me! ‘Turkish rice’ as I call it, is a tough one to master but I think I’ve nearly got it. I know it’s a favourite of some so here’s our version!
Ingredients for 2-3 people:
1 cup white rice ( In Turkey, we use Baldo rice, you may be able to find that in certain supermarkets in the UK but if not, basmati rice will be ok)
2 tablespoons şehriye (This is like a thin pasta, if you’re in the UK look for ‘orzo’ pasta which is almost identical)
A knob of butter
2 cups of hot water
half a chicken stock cube
salt and pepper to taste
+ a shallow saucepan with a lid
Firstly rinse the rice in cold water, then you need to soak the rice in HOT water for around 30 minutes before cooking. After the 30 minutes, wash the rice again in cold water, the water should run clear. Drain it well.
Heat the butter in the pan on a medium heat and once melted, add the şehriye. You need to keep an eye on it and keep stirring so that it doesn’t burn. Wait for it to change to a darker, toasted color.
Once it has changed colour, add the rice into the pan and stir thoroughly for a couple of minutes, again make sure the heat is on medium so that the grains do not burn.
Now add the hot water, half the chicken stock cube and a little salt. Stir a few times, turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat to low-medium and cover.
Leave the rice to simmer for 8-10 minutes. Now, if there’s one thing Berkay has taught me it’s to NOT lift the lid to check if the rice is done, this is apparently very important. How do you know if it’s done if you can’t open the lid? Well, give the pan a little shake, judge the best you can and/or just turn off the heat and hope for the best! It’s difficult to judge – it can either end up soggy, stuck to the pan or perfect and there is very little time between each stage. I find that 10 minutes is the perfect amount of cooking time for 1 cup of rice with 2 cups of water.
Turn off the heat and keep the pan covered until you are ready to serve, again this is apparently very important!
Use a fork to fluff up the rice and serve. Berkay puts black pepper on his to spice things up a little.
Do you like this ‘Turkish rice’? Have you mastered it or found a better recipe? Let me know (: