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

Istanbul Pilaf


Serves two:




Street food is popular everywhere, but never as varied as in Istanbul. While strolling along you can gather a delicious meal over there. According to Orhan Pamuk in his  novel A strangeness of my mind (2014) people believed that food tasted better with a bit of dirt in it.

The novel’s central figure Mevlut Karataş, hawks boza, a beverage made of fermented wheat in the evening. In daytime he sells pilaf with chickpeas and chicken from a wonderful cart, such as you can see everywhere in the old city. His wife cooked the food and when something was left it was just heated again for the following day.

How nice it would have been if I had read this history of the town before I myself stayed in one of the dashing streets, so wonderfully exposed in the TV series Mordkommission Istanbul. Of course our author does not give a recipe for Pirinç pilavi nohutlu but you can find that in almost every Turkish cookbook. Without the chickpeas it was even served at the court of the Sultans, writes my friend Nevin Halici in From “Sini”to the tray (1999).


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