Yufkali pilav

Yufkali pilav

Pilaff in pastry

The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Alan Benson


Quantity Ingredient
400g long-grain white rice
60g butter
60g slivered almonds
1 large onion, finely chopped
155g carrot, coarsely grated
250g lean boneless lamb, cut into 1 cm cubes
185g dried apricots, chopped
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper, to season
875ml light stock or water
100g vermicelli noodles, crumbled

To finish

Quantity Ingredient
6-8 sheets fillo pastry
or 1 quantity Hamour
90-125g butter, melted


  1. Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Leave to drain.
  2. Melt half the butter in a deep saucepan. Fry the almonds until golden, then remove to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  3. Add the remaining butter to the pan and gently fry the onion until translucent. Add the carrot and fry for 5 minutes longer. Increase the heat and add the lamb. Stir until the lamb changes colour, then add the apricots, allspice, salt and a good grinding of pepper.
  4. Stir in 250 ml of the stock or water. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining liquid and return to the boil, then stir in the vermicelli and rice. Bring back to the boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook slowly for 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is just tender. Set aside with the lid on.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Brush a 2 litre pudding basin or square casserole dish with melted butter.
  7. Brush a sheet of fillo pastry with melted butter and place another on top. Set aside and butter the remaining pastry sheets in pairs in the same way. You will need three pairs of buttered sheets for a pudding basin, four for a casserole dish.
  8. Place one pair of pastry sheets in the dish, positioning it across the base and up the sides, with the ends hanging well over the edge. Butter the pastry in the dish, then arrange the remaining pastry in the same way, so that the dish is covered with pastry, with a generous overlap. If you are using hamour pastry, roll it out to fit the basin or dish, with enough overlap to cover the finished pie.
  9. Stir the almonds through the pilaff and place in the dish, spreading evenly. Pour 60 g of melted butter over the pilaff, then fold the pastry across the top to cover, buttering the top of each layer as it is put into place. Brush the top with butter.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter and cut the pie into wedges. Serve as a light meal, as part of a buffet, or as a first course.
The Complete Middle Eastern Cookbook
Middle Eastern
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