Tag: Rice Recipe

Legendary Dishes | Paella del Delta de I‘Ebre (rice with beans, chicken, prawns, squid)


Made with the medium grain rice of the Ebro Delta, this is the traditional version of this famous dish, made with a mixture of field, fish and fowl (and sometimes forest). Clams and mussels are additional ingredients. Rabbit also features in some versions.

  • 1.2 litres chicken stock
  • 500 ml fish stock
  • 500 g paella rice
  • 300 g red pepper, oven roasted, skins removed, chopped
  • 2 chicken legs and thighs
  • 200 g squid, chopped small
  • 180 g prawns
  • 150 g mussels, cooked
  • 120 ml olive oil
  • 100 g green beans
  • 100 g onions, chopped
  • 75 g tomato sauce
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp hot paprika
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Saffron, several large pinches
  • Salt, large pinch

In a hot frying pan with half the oil brown the chicken pieces or use pieces from a roast chicken. Remove and keep warm.

In a very large wide pan sauté the onions and garlic in remaining oil, add the tomato sauce, beans, peppers and paprika. Reduce heat, stir and cook for 10 minutes.

Add rice and coat in the mixture. Pour all of the fish stock and half the chicken stock into the pan, season and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the saffron, add the chicken and half of the remaining chicken stock.

When the rice is still al dente add the mussels and prawns. Cook gently, until the prawns have turned pale red and the mussels are heated through.

Test rice, add a little more liquid if necessary. Cover and leave to rest for five minutes.

Indigenous Ingredients

Olive Oil
Red Pepper

Legendary Dishes | Risotto con Salsa di Nebbiolo e Pere (rice with pears and red wine sauce)


Derived from the word fog because they bud early and ripen late to be harvested in late October amidst the autumn morning mist, the nebbiolo is a red grape with a strong personality.

Nebbiolo wines – Barbaresco, Barolo, Carema, Gattinara, Langhe Nebbiolo, Nebbiolo d’Alba, Roero – have a distinctive full-bodied structure with fruity and spicy aromas.

The vines are prominent in Piedmont and generally in north-eastern Italy where they are paired with appetisers, first and second courses. Among these are a condiment made with the wine and this enigmatic dish – one of the legendary rice dishes of the world.


  • 1.5 ml beef broth
  • 350 g carnaroli rice
  • 1 shallot, chopped small
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • 15 g butter
  • 5 g salt


  • 750 ml Barbaresco red wine / Barolo red wine
  • 4 pears, halved, cored
  • 1 celery, cubed small
  • 1 carrot, cubed small
  • 1 shallot, cubed small
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf


  • 400 g Castelmagno cheese

Put the carrots, celery, shallots in a saucepan with the wine, add bay leaf, cloves, juniper berries and peppercorns.

Bring to the boil, continue until the liquid is reduced by half and the vegetables are soft.

Some versions call for a smooth sauce. If this is your choice leave the mixture to cool, then blend. Return to the saucepan, add the pears, simmer for 15 minutes.

As soon as the wine mixture begins to reduce start the risotto.

Sauté shallot in butter and oil over a low heat for ten minutes.
Increase heat, add rice, coat and toast for five minutes. Reduce heat to medium.

Pour in a ladleful of hot stock, cook until the stock is absorbed. Add a large pinch of salt.

Keep adding ladlefuls of stock one at a time allowing the rice to absorb the liquid, continuing until the rice is al dente, no more than 20 minutes. Taste for flavour and add more salt if necessary.

Finish with a ladle of stock, half of the cheese and some butter, cover, leave to rest for ten minutes.

Scatter the remaining grated cheese on the serving plates, arrange the risotto on one side and the pears and wine sauce on the other side of each plate.

Indigenous Ingredients


Legendary Dishes | Tabrizi Kufta (meat loaf)


After Azerbaijan became an independent republic in 1991 it began a process of reconciliation with its distant past. Being part of the Soviet Union changed every aspect of life in Azerbaijan. One aspect was the existence of a diaspora across the border in Iran. Another was the impact on Azerbaijani culture.

The Soviet occupation, according to Pirouz Khanlou, ‘impacted the traditional cuisine that had emerged over thousands of years’. Very gradually the people of Azerbaijan are rediscovering that culture.

One such dish is this fabulous kufta, a meat loaf fundamentally associated with Tabriz in Iran, fondly remembered in Baku, now an integral aspect of modern Azerbaijani cuisine.

  • 3 litres water
  • 2 kg beef, minced
  • 1.6 kg chicken, baked, wings removed
  • 600 g onions, chopped
  • 500 g lentils, yellow-split, cooked
  • 500 g rice, cooked
  • 5 eggs (1 hard-boiled)
  • 150 g plums / prunes
  • 100 g sour cherries
  • 75 g walnut halves
  • 50 g almonds, blanched
  • 20 g mint, chopped
  • 20 g savory, chopped
  • 10 g tarragon, chopped
  • 10 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • 10 g salt
  • 5 g chives, chopped
  • 5 g saffron
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Sauté half of the onions over a medium heat until they begin to turn brown, about 30 minutes, leave to cool.

Grate the remaining onions. Mash lentils and rice with a fork, combine with grated onions. Work this mixture into the beef, add eggs, fried onions, herbs and seasonings. Knead for 10 minutes until the fat starts to separate from the ‘dough’. Leave to rest.

Toast the almonds and walnuts in oil over a low heat for ten minutes, remove and chop into small pieces. Spread the dough on a clean tea towel. Sprinkle with toasted nuts.

Stuff hard-boiled egg, plums or prunes and cherries into the cavity of the baked chicken.

Place the chicken on the dough. Wrap the towel around the chicken to encase it tightly with the dough, forming a small soccer ball.

Bring water to a boil in a pot large enough to hold the ball, add saffron and large pinches of salt and pepper.

Cover, simmer for two hours.

Legendary Dishes | Hamsi Diblesi (Black Sea anchovies with kale and rice)


To celebrate the amazing relationship between anchovies and kale, we are reminding you again of this recipe from Banu Özden’s Traditional Tastes of Turkey.

  • 500 g Black Sea anchovies, cleaned
  • 5 leaves of kale, washed and sliced
  • 200 g rice, washed
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 150 g butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Combine the kale, rice, onion, parsley, salt and black pepper in a large bowl.

Place half of the butter on the bottom of a pot, add half of the rice mixture then layer the fillets of anchovies.

Top with the rest of the rice mixture and butter.

Add 100 ml of water and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes.


Black Sea Anchovies (Hamsi)


Legendary Dishes | Geelrys (sweet yellow rice)


Geelrys is generally an accompaniment, associated with bobotie, but can be served as a meal – a legendary dish in its own right.

Sweet yellow rice pictured with bobotie
  • 1 litre chicken stock / vegetable stock
  • 500 ml long grain rice
  • 125 ml currants / raisins / sultanas
  • 4 cassia sticks
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp turmeric

Place cassia sticks in a pot, add the cinnamon, sugar, sultanas and turmeric.

Pour in the stock, add the rice. Shake the pot to distribute the rice.

Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cook for 30 minutes until the rice is cooked.

Remove cassia sticks and serve.

Legendary Dishes | Al Sayadiyah صيادية (fish with rice, onions, almonds, pine nuts and saffron)


This simple spiced fish and rice dish has no single method. From Lebanon to Yemen the story is different. Only the fish and rice are constant, all the supplementary ingredients including the spices are subject to regional and personal choices and changes. Almonds and pine nuts are optional and turmeric can replace saffron. Generally the rice should be coloured with carmelised onions. The fish can be baked, fried or grilled.

Typical sayadiyeh seasonings and spices include a combination from allspice, black pepper, chilli, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, onion, turmeric, saffron and salt.

The commercial packet spice mixture includes cornstarch and sugar.

Our sources are old cookbooks and here and here.

  • 1 fish head + 1.5 litres water for 800 ml fish stock
  • 1.2 kg onions, sliced thick and thin
  • 800 g fish fillets
  • 300 g basmati / long grain rice, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes before cooking, drained
  • 90 ml olive oil
  • 30 g almonds, dry roasted
  • 30 g pine nuts, dry roasted
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed (optional)
  • 1 tbsp sayadiyeh ground spices
  • 1 tbsp saffron / turmeric, tip of knife
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger

Pour 5 tablespoons of oil into a large deep frying pan over a high heat. Before the oil begins to smoke add half of the onions. Fry and stir for a couple of minutes. Cover, turn heat to lowest setting and leave to cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining onions, increase heat to high, fry and stir. Cover, turn heat to a medium-low setting and cook for 15 minutes. Remove and lid and allow the moisture in the lid to drizzle back into the pan. Increase heat to high, fry and stir for 5 minutes. Turn heat down, cover the pan and allow to cook in the residual heat for 10 minutes until the onions begin to take on a golden-red colour. Remove lid, fry and stir over a medium-low heat until the onions carmelise, about 30 minutes.

During this final phase with the onions, place the fish head in a pot with about one and a half litres of water, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Stir the garlic (if using), ginger, saffron or turmeric and spices into the onions, fry gently for a few minutes. Add the rice, coat thoroughly in the mixture. Add the fish stock. Using a wooden spoon combine the rice and liquid. Cover, turn heat to lowest setting and leave to cook for 30 minutes.

Grill the fish fillets, flake.

When the rice is cooked, place the flaked fish on top, cover and leave to allow the flavours to mingle for 5 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with pine nuts and almonds.

Al Sayadiyah is among the recipes in the first volume of Around the World in 80 Legendary Dishes.

Legendary Dishes | Risotto in Bianco (white rice)


Risotto is toasted rice slow-cooked in an aromatic stock with a butter-oil-onion base and a cheese and seasoning finish. It is made with a variety of ingredients. This is the basic risotto recipe where every risotto cook must start.

The choice of rice for basic risotto is arborio and the quantity is 350 grams to one and half litres of broth. Generally the quantity of rice across the range of risotto dishes is 320 grams to 1.2 litres of liquid, but this varies with the type of risotto rice – with Arborio, Baldo, Carnaroli, Roma and Vialone Nano the popular choices, Arborio favoured more than the others because it has a large grain and keeps its shape during cooking.

However we are going to remain consistent with all our risotto recipes and use 320 grams of rice, with baldo as our choice.

The story of risotto rice is told here.

  • 1.3 litres vegetable broth, heated
  • 320 g baldo rice
  • 100 g onions, chopped small
  • 30 g + 45 g grana padano / parmigiano, grated
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 15 g + 15 g butter
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • Salt, large pinches

Sauté onion in butter and oil over a low heat for ten minutes.

Increase heat, add rice, coat and toast for five minutes. Reduce heat to medium.

Deglaze pan with white wine.

Pour in a ladleful of hot stock, cook until the stock is absorbed. Add a large pinch of salt.

Keep adding ladlefuls of stock one at a time allowing the rice to absorb the liquid, continuing until the rice is al dente, no more than 20 minutes. Taste for flavour and add more salt if necessary.

Finish with a ladle of stock, dots of butter across the surface and about a tablespoon of grated cheese, grana padano or parmigiano. Season with black pepper.

Cover, leave to rest for ten minutes.

Serve with grated cheese. Use three tablespoons to enhance the flavour.

Some years ago the Italian Trade Commission in conjunction with Regione Lombardia and Ente Nationale Risi produced a booklet ‘to promote awareness and increase the popularity of risotto,’ which they described as ‘a traditional dish from the Lombardy region’.

This is their version of the basic recipe.

Fry some very finely chopped onion with butter slowly and carefully so as not to colour the onion.

When the onion is soft, add all the rice in one go and stir to heat the rice through for about 5 minutes, taking care not to brown either the rice or the onion.

When the rice is crackling hot, add a glass of dry white wine and stir for one minute to evaporate, then immediately begin to gradually add the hot stock. Each time add only enough stock to cover the risotto as it cooks, then stir gently until it has been absorbed and add only then add the next quantity. Continue in this way until the rice is cooked through which will be after 20 minutes.

When the rice is cooked but not mushy, the risotto is ready. Add the final quantity of butter and a handful of freshly grated grana padano, stir and cover. Leave to stand for 2 or 3 minutes before serving.

Legendary Dishes | Risotto alla Milanese (rice with cheese and saffron, Milan-style)


Milan in the 1500s was the centre of rice production in Italy. An irrigation system of canals and locks criss-crossed Piedmont, Lombardy and the Veneto, covering the length of the Po Valley from the alps to the Adriatic. Now the rice varieties known as arborio, baldo, carnaroli and vialone nano are grown for the purpose of making a fabulous range of creamy risotto dishes. One more than any other has come to symbolise the rice of the Po Valley – Risotto alla Milanese.

Risotto alla Milanese is also made with beef stock, bone marrow, butter and white wine, the marrow being added with the onions, the white wine to deglaze and the butter as a finish. A third version has Marsala wine. Pancetta can replace the marrow.

  • 1.5 litres chicken stock, heated
  • 350 g vialone nano rice
  • 150 g onions, chopped
  • 100 g parmigiano, grated
  • 20 saffron filaments, ground, soaked in 100 ml of hot stock

Saute onions in butter in a deep, wide frying pan over a low heat, about ten minutes.

Coat and toast the rice in the butter and onions.

Increase heat to medium, coat and toast rice in the butter and onions, add a ladleful of broth.

When the rice absorbs the liquid, add more stock and continue for ten minutes, then add the saffron-infused stock.

Add more stock, cook until rice is al dente, a further seven minutes.

Dress with cheese, cover and leave to rest for ten minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Risotto con Gamberoni (rice with melon and prawns / shrimp)

  • 1.5 ml vegetable broth, heated
  • 1 melon, medium-sized
  • 350 g carnaroli rice
  • 250 g prawns / shrimp
  • 125 g parmigiano, grated
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • 15 g butter
  • 10 g black pepper, freshly ground
  • Saffron, large pinch
  • Salt, pinch

Cut melon into two halves, deseed and skin, cut into flesh into cubes.

Put half the cubes into a food processor, refrigerate the paste.

In a deep, wide frying pan sauté shallots in oil over a low heat, about 15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium, coat and toast rice, add a ladleful of broth, the remaining melon and shrimp.

When the rice absorbs the liquid, add more stock.

After three minutes add the melon paste, increase heat, stir and cook until the rice absorbs the liquid.

Reduce heat to low, keep stirring, add more stock and test, adding another ladleful of stock if necessary.

When the rice is al dente, add cheese, saffron and salt.

Leave to rest for ten minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Risotto de Pesse alla Polesana (rice with fish of the Adriatic)

  • 1.5 litres fish stock, heated
  • 350 g carnaroli rice
  • 300 g fresh shellfish – clams, mussels, razor clams, shrimp – all whole; cuttlefish, squid – chopped small)
  • 100 g onion, chopped
  • 75 ml dry white wine
  • 50 g parmigiano, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed, chopped
  • 20 g butter, for frying and dressing
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 15 g parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Sauté garlic and onion in butter and oil in a deep, wide frying pan over a low heat, about ten minutes.

Increase heat to high, coat rice, toast for three minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour in the wine and allow to evaporate, decrease heat to medium, add a ladleful of the hot stock, simmer and stir until the liquid is absorbed.

Repeat until rice is creamy but not cooked through, about 15 minutes.

There should be some liquid floating on the surface of the rice.

Turn heat to low.

Lay the fish on top of the rice, in stages according to the cooking requirements of the fish, covering the pan each time – for clams, mussels and shrimp about five minutes, for cuttlefsh and squid about ten minutes.

Complete with butter, cheese, parsley and pepper.

Remove from heat, leave to rest for ten minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Risotto alla Baccalà Mantecato (rice with whipped cod)

  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock, heated
  • 350 g carnaroli rice
  • 200 g Baccalà Mantecato
  • 65 g grana padano, grated
  • 40 g butter
  • 15 g parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil, for frying

In a deep, wide frying pan over a high heat, toast the rice in oil, add a ladleful of hot stock and stir continuously until the liquid is absorbed.

Decrease heat to medium, add another ladleful of stock, simmer and stir until the liquid is absorbed.

Repeat this process until the rice is al dente, about 12 minutes.

Add the creamed cod, stir into rice, cover and simmer over a low heat for five minutes.

Finish with butter, cheese and parsley.

Remove from heat, leave to rest for ten minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Risotto alla Stoccafisso (rice with flaked cod)


Venetian restaurants pre-cook a basic risotto to save time, halting the procedure after ten minutes when the rice is part-cooked. Ironically, given the relationship the people of the lagoon have with air-dried cod, it is the perfect method for risotto alla stoccafisso.

  • 1.5 litres fish stock, heated
  • 350 g carnaroli rice
  • 150 ml milk
  • 150 g stockfish (air-dried cod), rehydrated
  • 60 g grana padano, grated
  • 40 g butter, for frying and finish
  • 30 ml white wine
  • 15 g parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil, for frying

In a deep wide frying pan, toast the rice in butter and oil over a medium heat, deglaze with wine and begin to add hot stock one ladleful at a time.

Stop after ten minutes.

Cover the pan, turn off heat, allow to cool, then remove contents to a separate container.

Resume cooking after several hours in a clean frying pan.

An hour before resumption, place the cod in a saucepan, cover with milk and simmer over a low heat.

Drain the milk from the cod, flake it and stir into the rice.

Increase heat, add stock and continue until the rice is al dente, about ten minutes.

Finish with butter and cheese, garnish with parsley.

Legendary Dishes | Mani Plov مانی پلو (lentils, rice, fruit and meat with rice-yoghurt-saffron base)


A cornucopia of flavours, this plov is one of the traditional dishes of Damghan in the province of Semnan in the north-east of Iran. The ingredients vary. It can be made with an assortment of meats or without meat, and with various fruits and nuts. The constant is the marriage of long grain rice with yellow spilt peas, the fragrance of rosewood and saffron and the rice-yoghurt-saffron base. Serve with yoghurt or with a salad. We recommend in summer this orange and onion salad. Variations can be found on Iran Cook.


  • 600 g long grain rice
  • 500 ml water + water for boiling peas and rice
  • 400 g chicken / beef / lamb (optional)
  • 300 g onions, sliced
  • 250 g yellow split peas, soaked for two hours
  • 200 g raisins
  • 60 ml hot water with one teaspoon of rosewood and one teaspoon of saffron
  • 60 ml water
  • 50 g almonds, dry roasted, chopped
  • 15 g dried barberries / 75 g fresh barberries
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Oil for frying onions and meat + frying fruit


  • 250 g long grain rice, cooked or baked, left to cool
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp saffron
  • 15 g butter to grease the bottom of the pot
  • 15 ml oil to grease the bottom of the pot
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Cook the peas until al dente, keep warm in cooking water.

Fry the onions in oil in a large frying pan over a high heat for 5 minutes, cover, reduce heat to low, cook for 15 minutes. Add choice of meat, fry until browned, add turmeric, seasonings and water, cover and cook over a low heat for 30 minutes.

Fry the raisins in oil over a medium heat for 3 minutes, cover, reduce heat to low, cook for 20 minutes.

In a large pot boil 2 litres of water, pour the rice, bring back to the boil, remove from heat, leave for 5 minutes. Strain the rice.

Strain the peas.

Combine the peas and rice in a clean pot, add 400 millilitres of water, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, cook for 15 minutes.

Prepare the base.

Combine cooked or baked rice with the egg, yoghurt, saffron and seasonings.

Melt the butter with the oil over a low heat in a large heavy-bottomed pot, diameter no less than 25 centimeters. Fold the rice-yoghurt-saffron mixture into the pot, gently smooth out to cover the base.

Arrange the meat mixture in an even layer over the rice-yoghurt-saffron base. Sprinkle the barberries on top of the meat mixture. Carefully fold the pea-rice mixture on top of the barberries. Pour the rosewood-saffron water into the pea-rice mixture, finish with a layer of the cooked raisins.

Increase the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Barbajuan / Monegasque Barbagiuan (cheese and vegetable pastries)


The ravioli-like vegetable pastries called barbagiuan belong to Monaco but they are rooted in the culinary traditions of the French Riviera, each area with its own version.

Chard is the vegetable of choice in the principality, spinach in others. Italian cheeses – a blend of ricotta and parmigiano or pecorino – are constants. Leeks and onions complement the greens. Oregano is the obligatory herb. Eggs provide the binding.

Other fillings include cooked rice and squash.

Along the Côte d‘Azur their cheese and vegetable pastry tradition calls for a dough made with egg yolks and olive oil. In Monaco they add yeast and the whole egg. Flour of choice is generally wheat, though spelt, now that it is becoming popular again, is also used.


This is the Toulon version.


  • 200 g white wheat flour / white spelt flour
  • 50 ml spinach water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • Salt, pinch


  • 75 g spinach, blanched, drained weight, retain cooking liquid
  • 75 g onion, chopped
  • 2 egg whites
  • 50 g grano padano cheese / parmigiano cheese, grated
  • 50 g short grain rice, cooked in spinach water until soft
  • 15 ml olive oil, for shallow frying
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Salt, pinch
  • Pepper, pinch
  • Rapeseed oil, for deep frying

Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl, add egg yolks, oil and spinach water, form into a smooth dough. Leave to rest in fridge until the filling is ready.

Soak spinach in boiling water for two minutes, drain, chop.

Sauté onion in olive oil over a low heat for ten minutes until the edges turn brown-red, add spinach and heat through. Remove to a bowl.

When the mixture has cooled a little and is still warm, fold in the cheese. When the mixture is cold add egg whites, parsley and rice, season.

Roll dough thin, about 2 millimetres. Make rounds with 12 centimetre diameters. Put 35 grams of filling on each round, fold into semi-circles. Seal edges with prongs of a fork.

Deep fry barbajuans in hot oil for two minutes each side, until the crust turns brown.

Barbagiuan Monegasque


  • 200 g flour
  • 1 small egg (approximately 55 g)
  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 25 ml chard water, lukewarm
  • 10 g yeast
  • Salt, pinch


  • 75 g onions
  • 50 g chard, blanched, drained weight, retain cooking liquid
  • 50 g percorino cheese / ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg whites
  • 10 g oregano
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • Black pepper, pinch
  • Salt, pinch
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Dissolve yeast in water.

Sieve flour and salt into a large bowl, add oil, egg and yeast mixture, knead into a firm, smooth dough, adding more water if necessary. Leave to rise for an hour.

Sauté onions in oil for ten minutes. Allow them to brown. Add chard, wilt. Take off the heat, leave to cool, stir in the cheeses and egg yolks for a creamy mixture. Add pecorino to thicken, if necessary.

Roll dough thin, about 2 mm thick. Make 20 short rounds using a cutter or rim of a small cup or glass.

Put one heaped tablespoon of filling on each round, brush edge with egg white, fold into semi-circles.

Seal edges with prongs of a fork.

Heat vegetable oil in a saucpan, deep fry barbagiuans for five minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Şuşa Çolpalı (Shusha chicken rice with cranberries and pomegranate seeds)

Chicken rice with bread base


This chicken and cranberry rice pilaf is adapted from Qarabağ Mətbəxi, the fabulous quixotic cookbook by Tahir Əmiraslanov and Aynurə Əmiraslanova. This is the cuisine of Qarabağ, a modern and historical region of Azerbaijan. Qarabağ or Karabakh can mean black garden and big land, derived from the words ‘gara’ and ‘bagh’ in Azerbaijani. Traditionally the chicken is from the mature male bird.

Qazmag (base)

  • 160 g white wheat flour
  • 1 egg
  • 45 g yoghurt
  • 30 ml oil
  • 5 g salt

Whip the egg into the yoghurt, add the flour and salt, knead into a smooth dough, coat with oil.


  • 3 litres water for soaking rice
  • 2 litres water for cooking chicken
  • 1.5 kg chicken
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 500 g basmati rice
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds
  • 200 g cranberries
  • 200 g onions, sliced
  • 60 ml oil
  • 30 g butter
  • 10 g + 5 g salt
  • 1 g + 1 g saffron

Soak the rice in three litres of water with the salt for three hours.

Meanwhile place the chicken in a pot just tight enough to fit, fill with water to cover the chicken, poach until the chicken starts to fall off the bone, about 90 minutes. Drain, retaining the cooking liquid for stock.

Break the chicken into pieces, coat with four tablespoons of oil, sprinkle with a large pinch of saffron and a teaspoon of salt.

Sauté the onions in butter over a low heat for 15 minutes, add the cranberries and pomegranate seeds, cook for 5 minutes until the cranberries start to soften.

Bring the stock to the boil over a high heat. Stir in a large pinch of saffron. Transfer the soaked rice to the pot, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Arrange the qazmag in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Place the onion mixture on top, place the chicken on top of the onion mixture, then the rice. Bake in a 180ºC oven for an hour.

Legendary Dishes | Buhara Pilavı (rice with carrots and lamb)

  • 400 g lamb, cut into 3 cm dice
  • 400 ml meat stock / water, boiled
  • 300 g long grain rice, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, drained
  • 200 g carrots, peeled, cut into small dice
  • 150 g onion, sliced thin
  • 4 tbsp butter / oil
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper

Melt a tablespoon of butter or pour oil onto a frying pan, begin to sauté the onions. Cover and fry gently for 15 minutes until the onions are soft and creamy. Place the fried onions in the bottom of a deep saucepan. Put the lid on, and keep warm.

Add a tablespoon of butter or oil to the frying pan, sauté carrots for 10 minutes. Add the carrots to the onions. Heat through.

Add two tablespoons of butter or oil to the frying pan, fry the lamb for 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Stir into the carrots and onions in the saucepan.

Spoon the rice on top of the carrot-onion-lamb mixture, season and pour in stock or water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.

Once dimples form on the rice, place a paper towel between the pan and the lid. Turn the heat down to lowest setting. Cook for 5 minutes.

Take the pilaf off the heat, rest for 15 minutes with lid on.

Before service, place a plate on top of the saucepan, carefully invert to put the lamb mixture on top of the rice. Serve immediately.