With summer heat in full swing, I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel much like cooking. My kitchen is an oven between 4 and 6 p.m., so I try to stay out of there as much as possible. Turkish housewives are practical; many of them cook in the morning, when it’s cooler, and then they have food ready for later in the day. I, on the other hand, am not so organized. So I’m always on the lookout for quick and easy.
Here’s a simple recipe, great for summertime. Turks call it “Chinese Rice,” which mystifies me. As far as I know, there’s nothing remotely Chinese about it.
Turkish Rice Salad (Cin Pilavi*)
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
4 TBSP olive oil
¾ cup frozen corn
¾ cup frozen peas
¾ cup carrots, diced in small cubes
1/3 - 1/2 cup dill pickle, diced in small cubes
3 TBSP chopped fresh dill weed (or 1-2 tsp. dried dill)
1. Cook the rice by sautéing it in 1 TBSP olive oil; then add 2 cups of water and 1 tsp. salt. Let it simmer 10-15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Stir to fluff it, and let it cool.
2. Thaw or gently cook the frozen vegetables. (If you live in the U.S., simply thawing them works fine. If you live in Turkey, these need to be cooked 2-3 minutes.)
3. When the rice and vegetables are at room temperature, gently toss them together with the chopped carrots, pickles and dill. Drizzle with 3 TBSP olive oil and continue tossing. Serve cold or at room temperature.
This serves 4-5 as a vegetarian main dish, or 8 as a side dish. Turks fill a small bowl with the salad and unmold it onto each individual plate.
*I’ll correct “Cin Pilavi” as soon as I find the Turkish keyboard on my new computer!