Armenian Rice with Pumpkin

Ermeni pilavı

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About

This unusual sweet and fruity caramelized rice dish, of Armenian origin, is particularly good served in the winter with grilled or roasted meat. Melted honey can he used instead of sugar.


  • 8 oz/225 g long-grain rice
  • lb/675 g peeled pumpkin flesh, finely sliced and parboiled
  • 1 tablespoon sultanas, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon clarified butter
  • 1 pint/600 ml water
  • 2-3 oz/60-90 g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 oz/90 g ordinary butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 400F/Mark 6/200C
  • Wash the rice and drain. Melt the clarified butter in a deep pan, soften the onion and stir in the rice, cloves and sultanas. Pour over the water, season with salt and pepper, and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until it has been absorbed.
  • Generously grease an oven-proof dish, sprinkle it with a little of the sugar, and line it with half the pumpkin slices. Mix the cardamom seeds with the cinnamon, cloves and the rest of the sugar. Melt the ordinary butter in a pan and pour half of it over the bottom layer of pumpkin. Sprinkle half the spiced sugar over the top. Spoon the rice mixture on top of that, spread it evenly, and sprinkle with a little of the spiced sugar. Arrange the remaining slices of pumpkin over the top and press them down firmly. Pour over the remaining butter and sprinkle with the rest of the spiced sugar.
  • Place in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, until the pumpkin is tender and caramelized on top. Serve hot.