Hazelnut and Lemon Pilaf

Fındıklıve Limonlu Pilav

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

Yashim Cooks Istanbul

By Jason Goodwin

Published 2016

  • About

Master the essentials, and the pilaf world is open to you hereafter. This pilaf offers a delicious combination of earthy, crunchy hazelnuts with citrus backnotes, with a little extra zing–is it the chilli or the cumin?

Recipes can specify the volume of water for a certain weight of rice, but in the kitchen it depends on the size of your pan as well as the level of heat, and even the type of rice you use. My tip is to start with a little less water than you think you might need, and to add more from the kettle if necessary at the end of cooking. Do it a few times and you have a skill learned for life.


  • basmati rice 250 g/8 oz, rinsed
  • salt 1 tsp
  • olive oil 1 tbsp
  • butter or ghee 1 tbsp
  • coriander seeds 1 tsp
  • cumin seeds ½ tsp
  • lemon peel, sliced into 3 ‘julienne’ strips
  • fresh red chilli 1, sliced into thin strips, or pul biber 1 tsp
  • blanched hazelnuts 4 tbsp
  • parsley bunch, chopped


  • Put the well-washed rice in a pan on the stove top, and cover with the same quantity of boiling water and the salt. Bring to the boil and cook for about ten minutes, until the rice is just done and all the water is absorbed. While the rice is boiling, melt half the butter with the oil in a frying pan over a low heat. Add the cumin and coriander, then the julienned lemon peel and chilli and the hazelnuts. Let them warm through but don’t fry them.
  • When the rice is done, tip it over the flavoured oil and butter mixture, stir gently, and return it all to the rice pan, giving it a stir to draw the flavours of spice and lemon through the rice. Dot the rice with the remaining butter, cover the pan with a cloth, and put the lid on firmly.
  • Let the rice stand for at least ten minutes then fluff with a fork or wooden spoon.
  • Scatter with the parsley and serve the pilaf with yoghurt sauce and lemon wedges.