Turkish Pilav With Orzo | Best Turkish Side Dish

Turkish pilaf with orzo “Şehriyeli Pilav” is our favorite side dish at home that goes well with almost any Turkish dish. With browned orzo in butter, it has a nutty taste and with hints, it is very fluffy.

Pilav has an important role in Turkish cuisine. There is no good Turkish menu that is complete without having a nice fluffy, buttery pilav. Use the wide shallow pan as possible and a heavy bottom pan. In Turkey, we have pans that specially use for making pilav in good sizes.

Turkish Rice Pilav

Ingredients For Turkish Rice Pilaf With Orzo:

  • 2 cups Baldo, Osmancık, Calrose or similar long-grain rice that doesn’t contain too much starch
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups hot water to soak
  • 4 tbsp orzo pasta
  • 1 heaped tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 3+1/4 cups hot water (or you can use some chicken stock)
Frying the orzo pasta for “Şehriyeli Pilav” Rice with orzo

Here is the plain classic Turkish Fluffy Pilaf recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ux6fYWCYpCA
Ottoman Dish Mahmudiyye Recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eOBpNjbCNI
For more Turkish Cuisine recipes don’t forget to subscribe and press the notification button: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwVIj-OqEjXNqKpItChRrMQ?sub_confirmation=1

►FOLLOW ME FROM INSTAGRAM ► ►►http://instagram.com/turkishfoodtravel

How To Make Fluffy Turkish Rice Pilaf With Orzo

  1. Soak the rice in hot salty water for at least one hour or up to 4-5 hours. This step is important to have a fluffy nice pilav.
  2. In a wide pan melt the butter and olive oil, add orzo pasta and sautee stirring frequently until it has a golden to light brown color.
  3. Meanwhile, drain the rice from salty water and wash for 1-2 times until there is no starch left and the water is clear. Drain the water as much as you can. We have a rice drainer that is easier to drain but you can use colander too.
  4. Add the rice to the pan and continue to saute for about 4-5 more minutes. Add salt and hot water (u can use chicken stock for some of the water too )
  5. Close the lid and cook on a candlelight stove until the rice soaks all the water and soft for about 10-12 minutes. If the rice is still not soft after the water is finished you can drizzle more hot water over it, close the lid and continue to cook form more.
  6. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 10 minutes. Open the lid and gently stir the rice from taking from the bottom and folding it to the top with a wide hand colander (better to see the video) and spread it evenly again. Wait for 5 more minutes and serve warm…

Turkish Stuffed Eggplant “Karniyarik” would be a best company for the orzo pilav

Turkish Stuffed Grape Leaves Yaprak Sarma / Dolma

Stuffed grape leaves “Yaprak Sarması” is one of the traditional and popular appetizer olive oil dish in Turkey. This vegan recipe comes back from Ottoman Cuisine.

“Yaprak” means leaves and “sarma” means to wrap. To make stuffed grape leaves “Sarma” the most common leaf we use is a grapevine leaf and I am going to use the ones I preserved back in the early summer. You can watch the details from the episode I shared on how to preserve it but you can also easily find it canned in Turkish, middle eastern, or Mediterranian stores.

In this version to give an extra sweet and sour taste, I am going to use cherries as well but even with or without cherries it will be surely a centerpiece on the table

Ingredients For Turkish Yaprak Sarma/Dolma:

  • 2 big onions
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup good quality rice
  • about 2 tbsp pine nuts (It is used traditionally, I didn’t have on hand)
  • 1 tsp each salt, sugar, allspice, black pepper
  • 1+1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 heaped tbsp currants
  • 1/2 bunch fresh dill
  • about 300gr. more or less grape leaves washed a couple of times until most of the salt is gone, you can chew some to taste the salt 🙂 (If you buy preserved you can keep the rest in its salty water or freeze it.)
  • about a cup fresh or frozen pitted cherries (optional)
  • for the cooking sauce:
  • juice of a half lemon
  • about 1/3 cup mineral / sparkling water
  • about half cup hot water (cook the grape sarma/dolmas on low heat, let it soak the water, and cook in the steam. Don’t add much water to it. Taste the sarmas and drizzle more water if needed and continue to cook until it is soft)
  • more olive oil on top
Rice filling for “rolled sarma “İç Pilav”

How To Make Sarma / Stuffed grapevine Leaves

  1. Cut the onions in half, then half again and slice them thinly.
  2. In a big wide pan add olive oil and onions. Sautee the onions, stirring frequently until they have golden colors about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar, then washed and drained rice. Stir for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add salt, cinnamon, allspice, black pepper, and currants and stip for a couple of more minutes.
  5. Add about half cup hot water and cook halfway until the rice soaks the water.
  6. Turn off the heat. Finely chop the dill and add it. Stir gently and let it cool down to handle.
Wrapping grapevine leaves

How To Wrap / Roll Sarma:

I used the grape leaves that I preserved in salt last year for the recipe. You can watch how to preserve fresh grapevine leaves from the video link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMFDREBFC9I

The preserved leaves usually have too much salt. So make sure to wash it enough to get rid of most of the salt. Sometimes you need to soak in hot water and rinse it. But also be careful not to overcook otherwise your leaves can tear while wrapping.

Ottoman Stuffed Grape Leaves With Sour Cherries
  1. Place a leaf shiny side down and the stem side looking toward you. Take out the stem if has any. Place about 1-2 tsp (depend on the size of the leaf) Add one piece of sour cherry on it and fold the leaf over and from the sides and roll it straight and tightly as possible.
  2. Arrange them in a wide pan. If you have torn or very hard and big leaves you can cover the bottom of the pan with them to prevent the sarmas burn and for a deeper flavor.
  3. Try to choose a wide pan so the rolled sarmas are not layered more than 3 layers for even cooking.
Adding the sauce over the sarmas

Cooking Sauce For The Sarmas:

Squeeze juice of half lemon, drizzle over sarmas. Place remaining sour cherries between the sarmas. Pour over 1/3 cup mineral sparkling water over and add about half cup more water and a tsp of more sugar.

Cook the “Yaprak Sarma” stuffed grape leaves on very low heat, lid closed. You don’t want to have cooking water left when the sarmas are done. So it is better to cook the sarma with less water with its steam and check it frequently after a time. When there is no water left check one sarma from top if the leaves and the rice filling is cooked or not. If not you can always drizzle more water and cook for more time on low flame.

Let the sarmas cool in the pan completely and transfer it to a serving plate. Drizzle extra more olive oil and serve cold or at room temperature as a appetizer or as a light lunch or side dish.