Pilaf with Chickpeas

Nohutlu Pilav

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

By Jason Goodwin

Published 2016

  • About

Mehmet the Conqueror’s Grand Vizier used to serve this as a working lunch in divan, the cabinet meeting held on a Friday. Into it he tossed a gold chickpea for some lucky pasha to discover (or break a tooth on): the Ottoman version of a sixpence in the Christmas pudding, perhaps. The sultan did not attend divan in person, but he might watch and listen from a small curtained window overhead. Or he might not: his pashas never knew.


  • basmati rice 500 g/1 lb
  • onion 1, finely chopped
  • butter or ghee 1 tbsp
  • chickpeas 250 g/8 oz, soaked overnight and boiled tender (tinned chickpeas are handy, too)
  • salt ½ tsp
  • stock or water


  • Soak the rice in warm water for half an hour, and wash it until the water runs clear.
  • Melt the onions in butter. When they are soft, add the chickpeas.
  • Stir the rice into the pan. After a couple of minutes add a pinch of salt and enough stock or water to cover the rice and a little more. Turn up the heat and check the rice when all the stock has been absorbed; it should be a little nutty. If necessary add a little more stock and continue cooking until the rice is almost done.
  • Cover the pan with a cloth and a lid. Over a whisper of heat, or none, let the rice steam for fifteen minutes.
  • Turn the rice out into a dish, helping to fluff it out with a fork.