- Janny de Moor - https://www.jannydemoor.nl/en -

Istanbul Pilaf


Serves two:




In every country you can buy street food, but not as varied as in Istanbul. There you can collect a delicious menu while on the go. They themselves say “Food tastes better when it’s got some dirt in it”. At least according to Orhan Pamuk in A Strangeness in My Mind (2015).

Leading character Mevlut Karataş, who in the evening hawks boza (a slightly alcoholic millet drink), sells pilaf with chickpeas and chicken during the day from a beautiful barrow which can be seen all over the old town. His wife cooked the dish and if anything was left it was just reheated for the next day. How I would have liked to know about this history of the city before I stayed in one of the dashing streets.

The author does not give recipes for the combination of Pirinç pilavi nohutlu (with chickpeas) and Tavuklu pilav (with chicken) but those can be found in almost every Turkish cookbook. Without the chickpeas the dish was even served at the court of the Sultans, writes my Turkish friend Nevin Halici in one of her cookbooks: From ‘Sini’ to the tray (1999).

Wine: dry Rosé.


Menu suggestion: