Almost Turkish Recipes

Garbanzo Bean Pilaf (Nohutlu Pilav)

Now a highly common and popular street food, garbanzo bean pilaf (nohutlu pilav), was a special dish served during the reign of Mehmet the Conqueror by Grand Vizier Mahmut Paşa to his guests. Mahmut Paşa's pilaf had both real, edible garbanzo beans and garbanzo beans made out of gold! Mahmut Paşa called the golden ones his "diş kirası," which literally translates as "tooth money." But don't think it was a compensation for broken teeth! In the past it was a tradition of wealthy families to give a feast for the poor and the wealthy alike during the month of Ramadan. The family would give a small gift, like party favors, to everyone who attended the fast breaking dinner (iftar) for kind-of renting their teeth to their hosts for the night. Apparently Mahmut Paşa offered the gift in the food instead of handing it out.

Nowadays in Turkey you can eat this rich and tasty pilaf, usually along with pieces of chicken, at small sloppy restaurants during the day and on the street late at night, post-bar hours, and with no "tooth money." You can find the recipe for the chicken version here

2 cups rice, it's usually a kind of arborio rice in Turkey
1/2 cup garbanzo beans (soaked overnight and cooked for 15-20 minutes the next day until cooked but not mushy. 
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp butter (traditionally sheep's tail fat is used for this recipe, but we settle down for butter now)
1 tbsp olive oil 
4 cups of water
salt and pepper

-Heat butter and olive oil in a wide bottom pot.
-Add onion and cook until soft 5-7 minutes, but not brown.
-Add rice and stir very gently, making sure you're not breaking the rice, for 4-5 minutes.
-Add garbanzo beans. Stir for 2 more minutes.
-Add water, salt, and pepper.
-Let it boil first and then turn it to low heat. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed. Do not stir the rice while cooking.
-Turn it off and cover the top of the pot with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Place lid on tightly. Let sit for ~10 minutes, this is called brewing. We're letting the ric brew.
-Fluff the rice gently, again we don't want to break reice or get it mushy. Turkish rice must be "tane tane" i.e. every grain should be identified individually, they should not stick to each other. Serve it as a main dish or as a side.


  1. I have been waiting for your version of this pilaf, Burcu!

  2. I like your photographs, the pilaf is simple yet so beautiful.

  3. I wish we had such healthy street food here. Yum.

  4. I had a craving for this the other day and set out to soak the peas overnight only to realise that I did not have any :(

  5. I love this kind of easily-done-recipes.. I think you should give us more, easy but tasty!..

  6. This is absolutely mouth watering. I am going to have to try this with Indian Daal, im sure the combo will be delicious!

  7. Anonymous7:55 PM

    ben bir turlu istedigim dirilikte pilav yapacak bir pirinc bulamiyorum. Sizin favori markalariniz varsa yazabilirseniz cok sevinirim. Selamlar, RS

  8. RS--Turkiye'deki tadi verecek pirinc ben de bulamadim. jasmine pirinc kullaniyorum.

  9. gejorcla12:11 PM

    i love this recipe. of course i added some spices of my own like garlic and black olives. i also increased a little bit the amount of garbanzos since i like them so much! i will send this recipe to my friends!

  10. Looks delicious!!! I would definitely enjoy this! :)

  11. Anonymous9:13 PM

    Chicken broth (along with chicken pieces) can be used instead of plain water to enrich the flavor.

  12. what rice do you use