Tomato pilav

Tomato pilav

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

This is another favourite home-style Turkish pilav, although its success does depend on using really tasty tomatoes. Please do not use tinned tomatoes, as the dish will taste salty and metallic.


Quantity Ingredient
200g long-grain or basmati rice
350g vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped
* chicken stock [rid:9962]
or vegetable stock
60g butter
1 shallot, finely diced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 sprig thyme
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the rice into a large bowl and rinse well under cold running water, working your fingers through it to loosen the starch. Drain off the milky water and repeat until the water runs clear. Cover the rice with cold water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse a final time.
  2. Blitz the tomatoes to a rough purée in a food processor. Measure the volume and add enough stock to make it up to 400 ml. Tip the tomato stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and keep at a simmer.
  3. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the shallot and sauté over a low– medium heat, stirring continuously, until it starts to soften. Add the tomato paste, zest and thyme and stir for another minute.
  4. Add the rice to the pan, season with salt and pepper and pour in the simmering tomato stock. Return to the boil, stir briefly, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over a very low heat for 15 minutes. The grains should all look plump and separate and the surface will be dented with little holes. Remove the pan from the heat, then slide a clean, folded tea towel under the lid and leave it to stand for 15–20 minutes.
  5. To serve, tip the rice onto a serving platter and fluff the grains up with a fork.
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