Kestaneli Pilav – Rice with Chestnuts

You can make this with either rice or bulghur, as both produce great results. I prefer using chunks of turkey meat when making this pilaf with bulghur and if using rice, lamb meat suits better to the dish. You can also cook this pilaf as a filling for turkey, if so, I’d recommend substituting a handful of black currants with carrots.


15-20 chestnuts,

250-300 g of lamb/turkey meat, cut into 3-4 cm cubes,

100 g clarified butter/ghee (regular butter would be OK),

2 carrots, julienne or cubes,

1 teaspoon of allspice powder,

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder,

1 teaspoon of black pepper,

A dash of powdered cardamom (optional)

2 cups of rice (or coarse grind bulghur), washed well and drained

1 heaped teaspoon of salt

Soak chestnuts into water for about an hour then score them with an “x” on top and roast on 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes. Peel off the shells and skins with a knife while still hot.

Boil the lamb meat in 3.5 cups of water until tender. Drain and keep the broth aside, cover and continue to simmer on low heat.

Melt clarified butter in a wide non-stick pot. Cook the carrots until they soften up, but not too soft, leave them a bit harder than al-dente.

Add in the lamb, fry until they turn a nice brown.

Add all the spices, stir for 1-2 minutes.

Pour over the broth, add more water if needed, depending on the type of rice you’re using. Bring to boil, add in the rice and salt. Sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice, this will make the rice grains shiny and translucent.

Cover and simmer until the rice absorbs all the water and becomes al-dente. Do not worry if the rice is still a bit rough, you can add more (say, half a cup of) boiling water, cover and cook further. Remove from the heat. Wrap the pot in a large cotton cloth. Let it sit on the counter for at least half an hour.

Stir gently and serve. Pairs nicely with fruit juices or composts.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I am a big fan of the blog, your recipes definitely helped me out a lot. Looking forward to new posts!

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