Turkish Eggplant and Herbed Rice Pilaf/ Patlicanli Pilav

Pilafs are believed to have originated in Central Asia millennia ago. It is said that the word plov or pilaf, comes from the ancient Greek word poluv ,?or “varied mixture.” The name dates back to the days of Alexander the Great’s campaign in the Caucasus. He instructed a soldier to cook a tasty dish from local ingredients that traveled well, and shortly thereafter he was presented with a glorious pilaf. This satisfying and highly fragrant recipe contains most of my favorite ingredients—olive oil, eggplant, nuts, tomatoes, raisins, with savory herbs and sweet spices. I love serving it with braised chicken or meat.

1 pound (455 g) eggplant, cut into
1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
1⁄3 cup (80 ml) good-quality
olive oil, divided
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons (27 g) pine nuts
or blanched almonds
2 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled
and chopped
1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt or salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon pure cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons (8 g) chopped
fresh parsley
2 tablespoons (8 g) chopped fresh dill
1½ cups (355 ml) Vegetable or
Chicken Stock (see page 183) or
1 cup (185 g) white basmati rice,
soaked in cold water to cover for
20 minutes and drained
Yield: 4 servings

Mediterranean Tradition
A Turkish chef once told me that no professional cook would be
taken seriously if he didn’t know at least forty different ways to cook
eggplant. The vegetable is high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals while
low in carbohydrates—making it a great choice for those watching
their weight. Once a cheap meat substitute for the poor, eggplant
is now making a comeback in upscale restaurants. Try roasting or
grilling fresh eggplant in advance to add to salads, sandwiches, and
pasta recipes.

Rice & Grain