What is pilaf? It’s rice cooked in broth. It’s found in cuisines in many parts of the world including South Asia, Central Asia, the Caribbean, Western and Eastern Europe. Pilaf (pilau and pelau are some of the spelling variations) can be cooked with or without meat.
How does pilaf differ from risotto? Pilaf isn’t stirred during cooking which results in a fluffier rice dish. Pilaf is also more often cooked with long-grain rather than with stickier short-grain rice.
Is pilaf a difficult dish to cook? Oh, no! Just saute your flavor base, add the unrinsed rice, season, pour in the broth, cover the pan and let the rice absorb the liquid. Here, let me show you.
In this recipe, the flavor base consists of butter, mushrooms and onion slices. They are sauteed together to squeeze out the flavors.
It’s important to season the dish in increments. Salt and pepper are sprinkled over the sauteed mushrooms and onion slices before the rice is added.
The rice is tossed with the mushrooms and onion until every grain is glistening with butter. Then, the broth is poured in.
The rice, mushrooms and onion slices are simmered in the broth until all the liquid has been soaked up. And that’s it! No stirring during simmering. All you need to do once the rice is cooked through is to fluff up the grains with a fork to make the pilaf really fluffy.
- Melt the butter in a pan and add the mushrooms. Cook stirring until a bit softened.
- Add the onion slices and continue sauteeing until the onion slices start to turn translucent.
- Sprinkle in half a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper.
- Add the rice.
- Stir until every grain of rice is coated with butter.
- Pour in the broth.
- Depending on how well seasoned the broth is, you may need to add more salt and pepper at this point.
- Cover the pan, set the heat to low and cook (there is no need to stir) until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.
- Fluff up the pilaf with a fork.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
- Ladle the mushroom pilaf into bowls and squeeze in a little lime or lemon juice.
- Sprinkle cilantro over the mushroom pilaf and serve with lemon or lime wedges on the side.