Rice Pilaf with Chicken, Almonds and Pistachios (Istanbul Pilavi)



  • 4 tbsp unsalted clarified butter
  • 1/3 cup blanched and chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup blanched and chopped pistachios
  • 1 pound boneless and skin less chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, washed, soaked, and drained
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads, crumbled and soaked in 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to make Istanbul Rice Pilaf

  1. In a large, heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat and lightly brown the almonds and pistachios for about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the chicken pieces.
  3. Lower the heat, then add 1/4 cup of the stock.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook the chicken for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is lightly cooked all over.
  6. Remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside.
  7. In a heavy medium-size saucepan, heat the remaining butter and stir in the rice, coating it all over with the butter.
  8. Add the soaked saffron with water.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Pour in the remaining stock.
  11. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the saucepan, and cook gently for about 10 minutes.
  12. Gently stir in the reserved chicken mixture and cook for another 8 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid.
  13. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the dill.
  14. Let the pilaf stand, covered, for about 5 minutes, then serve.
  15. ENJOY!

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