Wedding Pilaf – A Turkish Celebration

This recipe for Wedding Pilaf, Perde Pilaf, comes from the south east of Turkey. Roughly resembling a house, the final shape of the dish is meant to symbolise the building of a new home. The dough is filled with a variety of nuts, herbs and spices and chicken. Within the family the making of this celebratory dish falls to the women, they gather together and assemble the dish before the wedding dinner. It takes time and recipes that are handed down through the generations. Remember that no two families will have the same recipe. If you want dried apricots, then add them. If you want slightly more spice, go for it.

For the filling;

  • 30 g butter, plus extra, softened for greasing
  • 1½ tbsp pine nuts
  • 25 g (¼ cup) chopped almonds
  • 25 g (¼ cup) pistachios
  • 185 g long grain rice, washed and drained

    Filling for wedding pilaf
    Filling for wedding pilaf

  • 340 ml chicken stock
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • pinch of Turkish red pepper flakes
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • a couple of bay leaves
  • 225 g cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1½ tbsp currants
  • 1½ tbsp dried oregano
  • pinch of black pepper

For the dough;

  • 1½ tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 1½ tbsp melted butter
  • 1 small egg
  • 150 g(1 cup) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder

First of all, make the dough.Wedding Pilay / Curtain Rice

Whisk together the yoghurt, egg and softened butter until nice and smooth. In a separate bowl add the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Stir together then make a well in the middle of the flour. Add the yogurt mixture and then knead until you have a soft dough. Wrap in clingfilm and set aside in a warm place.

For the filling;

Lightly fry the nuts and pine nuts in a dry frying pan until brown. Don’t burn them!

Melt the butter in the same pan and then add the rice. Cook for a further 2 minutes until the rice is covered in the butter. Add the chicken stock and a pinch of salt. Bring to a gentle boil then simmer on a low heat until the rice is nearly cooked. Add the cooked chicken, dried fruit and spices and turn off the heat. Cover with a clean tea towel.

turkish-weddingPreheat the oven to 200ºC.

Generously grease the base and sides of a 1 litre size dish using the remaining butter. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface so that it is large enough to line the dish. Be sure to leave plenty of excess to fold over for your lid. Line the dish with the dough, just as if you were making a pie then fill with the cooled rice. Fold the over-hanging pastry to cover the filling. Glaze the top with the last of the melted butter and cover with tin foil. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the dough is a golden brown. Remove from the oven and stand for 5-10 minutes before inverting onto a plate to serve. You can then decorate with more almonds or dried fruit.

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December 2, 2016
Mmm... Becca, that looks amazing. I can't wait to try it!! But tell me , do I have to get married again to eat it? My missus may have something to say about that

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