As belly dancer I’m quite fond of Orient, let’s just keep to this word because it covers all possible areas of my interest. I love arabic and asian cousine, all amazing mingles of tastes, spices and colours. That makes me happy and makes my body feels all good. I really love when in London to wander through China Town or Camden Market and to be able to purchase all I need for oriental cooking.
So today between the frenzy of stiching new costume (as I’m hopefully performing soon at a party and in like 2,5 weeks have a photoshooting in UK) I decided that we need a Pilav. Pilav is Turkish dish, but I figure is known as well to the rest of Arabic world just under different name. As you see on the pic above I cooked mine in tadjin, which is a glorious invention – perfect for steaming.
Wikipedia says that “word Pilav comes from Turkish pilav, from Persian pilāv, which in turn is borrowed from Sanskrit pulāka. The English term is further influenced by Modern Greek pilafi. Due to the vast spread of the dish, there exist variations of the name in many languages, including plov, polou, palov etc. It is well known in Trinidad and Tobago as ‘pelau'”. Similar dishes for instance in Arabic countries are simply called tadjin.
So what is pilav… it’s like rissotto but better 😉 seriously. Pilav is rice with meat steamed together. There’s no sauce or moist as required in rissotto, neither one shall add cheese of any sort to it. This way it’s lighter and healthier thanks to amount of vegetables and spices included. It is a quick dish, done usually for family dinner, that doesn’t need too much attention from the cook.
Pilav I made today is done accordingly to arabic tastes. I decided to make it with coconut milk, veggies, fruits and raisins. Added spices as lemon peper, kurkuma and gyros spice. As was reading through cook books decided to put together something that would suit well my family tastes and of course as always didn’t bother to follow any recipe… sth like: yeah this would just be good… you know me 😉
The final effect was more than satisfying. And judging from the clean plates everyone agreed. I love my tadjin dish, if you don’t have one – get one. Is brilliant. Ikea is selling those quite cheap and they consist of cast iron pan and ceramic cover, shaped as cone, that allows steam to gather in it’s highest point and then come back to the dish as water and steam. Brilliant invention.
Ok, enough bragging – let’s get cracking with Pilav
Coconut Sweet but Spicey Belly Dancer Pilav (feeds 4)
2 double chicken breasts, diced (marinated in spices as listed)
2 spring onion chopped
1 leek chopped
100g mushroom, sliced
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 celery, diced
1/2 coliflower, cut in small
1 cup basmati
2 oranges, peeled, some of zest cut in stripes, oranges diveded into segments
1 pear, sliced
3 chives, chopped
1 can light coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 handful raisins
spices: kukurma, lemon peper, gyros spice, salt, pepper, cloves
in tadjin (or a pot) fry onion and leek. Add chicken and fry it all together. Add carrots, celery, coliflower, mushrooms, zest, raisins and give it a fry. Then add rice, fry for 5 mins. Pour in coconut milk and water, stir and leave to cook. On the top arrange oranges, pear, topped with more zest and cloves. Cover and let simmer until rice is nice and soft, add chives, cover and turn off the heat and let it rest for 5 mins before serving. Enjoy 🙂