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Rice and Pilaf in the World, in Ancient Anatolian and Turkish Cuisine Culture


Veyis Durdu, Ancient Anatolian Culinary History and Sufi Culture Researcher. Sustainable Gastronomy Expert.





Give me 1 Kg. of Pilaf....

It's called stuffing, but it's a type of pilaf. The 500-year-old Ottoman food and pilaf tradition continues at weddings. In the meal, in which custom-made giant cauldrons, called the first pressure cooker in history, are used, a special rice that does not fall apart despite being cooked for a long time is used and it starts to cook like the day before the wedding . It is cooked for about 18 hours.


When we look at the adventure of rice for thousands of years in the world, in Anatolian and Turkish culinary culture, it is possible to see very different and rich cultural values, delicious dishes, pilafs, traditions and beliefs. A plant accepted as ” , which shaped a whole culture in the Far East , Ancient Anatolia , Ottoman imp. I will present information that may interest you about rice, a small white grain that has an important place in the traditional Turkish culinary culture dating back to the present day.


There are dozens of theses on the historical process of rice, but it is not known exactly when and where the first rice was planted. Until recently, 6,000-year-old fossils found in the Yang Tse-Kiang Valley in China were considered the oldest rice grains. But then, older ones emerged… The rice grains found in the Ruhr Cave in Thailand date back exactly 10 thousand years. The most reliable archaeological find describing the transition to rice farming in Southeast Asia belongs to Wilhelm Solheim, who excavated here in the 1960s. The history of broken pottery with rice grains and paddy husks printed on it, found in the Korat Region of Thailand in 1966, dates back to about 4000 BC.


Rice is a plant that feeds half the world today; And we can almost certainly say that it has fed more people than any other grain or vegetable in all of human history. Since the livelihood of the first settlements was gathering and hunting, people preferred geographical regions where they could find various animal and plant communities in a limited area and meet their water needs.



Let me talk about its botanical features: “The rice plant, which is about 1 meter in height, has a dark green, thin and long stem. It is defined as a one-year plant that rises vertically and forms a cluster by bifurcating from the root” in botanical books. “It has strip-shaped and pointed leaves. After the last leaf, it consists of 2 to 5 spike bundles on a long stem and each spikelet has a flower. The rice grain is formed in these spikelets.”

Its leaves are elongated. The leaf margins are straight and the tips are pointed. The flowers of the rice plant are pollinated by the wind, as in other grasses. Therefore, it does not have colored crowns and sepals.





The ancestors of rice, which is the crown jewel on our tables today, are actually quite different and do not look as appetizing and attractive as today. The current state of rice is actually the result of a long domestication story… Wild rice types such as “Oryza fatua” were cultivated in the first agricultural areas. The most common type is Oryza sativa, which is domesticated Asian rice. Originating from West Africa, Oryza glaberrima is a less common rice, but has become a species of interest to plant growers looking for new hybrids.


Domesticated rice types are divided into two main groups: japonica and indica. The short, sticky grains of the Japonica genus clump together after cooking. Therefore, it is a rice that is better suited to be eaten with chopsticks in a bowl compared to long grain, dry indica rice. Oryza rufipogon, the wild ancestor of domesticated rice here, was harvested and cultivated long before the domestication process, that is, 10,000-8,000 years ago. But one-year rice crops obtained by domestication were more productive, especially when irrigated; they heralded a good harvest with their large grains clinging to long stems. Like the crops in the Fertile Crescent lands covering Mesopotamia and the eastern Mediterranean coasts, the process of domestication has been repeated over and over on a large scale here. Plants with different characteristics selected from different places were brought together and hybridized and various wild species were crossed.


Today, rice is one of the most genetically modified crops. Ancient rice varieties required a long ripening period. Therefore, they could reproduce vegetatively. However, this situation disappears in newly produced rice types. Were removed, the rice was transformed into a state of maturation at the desired time. (  Vegetative reproduction is the creation of certain parts of the vegetative organs of higher plants, new individuals with the same genetic structure as the parent plant. Vegetative reproduction is one of the types of asexual reproduction. This multiplication method, which is widely used in agriculture, can be applied in different ways. )


Today, rice is grown in about 112 countries. All these rices are different types that have adapted to different ecological conditions. Therefore, long grain, short grain, fragrant, flat, red, black etc. There are many types of rice with different characteristics. 90% of the world's rice is grown in Asia. For this reason, while 1 person consumes 100-150 kg of rice annually in Asian countries, this rate does not exceed 3 kilograms in Western societies.


Wild rice, on the other hand, is completely different from the oryza species grown today and its scientific name is Zizania aquatica. This species still grows naturally in wetlands.





As a cereal grain, domesticated rice is the most widely consumed staple food for more than half of the world's human population, particularly in Asia and Africa. It is the third highest production agricultural commodity worldwide, after sugar cane and corn. Because large portions of sugarcane and maize crops are used for purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important food crop for human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one-fifth of the calories consumed by humans worldwide. There are many varieties of rice, and culinary preferences vary regionally.


Monocotyledonous rice is normally grown as an annual but can also live as a perennial in tropical areas and produce a ratoon crop for up to 30 years. Rice cultivation is well suited for countries and regions with low labor costs and high rainfall because growing it is labor-intensive and requires plenty of water. But rice can be grown almost anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain range, using water-controlled terrace systems. While its main species is native to Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of trade and export have made it common in many cultures around the world.


Rice growing methods vary by region and type of rice. However, the basic steps are as follows: First, the paddy field is plowed with the help of buffalo or ox, and the soil surface is leveled with the help of a log. The edges of the field are covered with earthen barriers and water is supplied to the field. Seeds are scattered on flooded fields.


In some cases, the seeds are germinated in a separate place and transferred to the paddy fields after 30-50 days. Although this method is more laborious, it increases the yield as it reduces the emergence of weeds. It takes a lot of water to grow rice; About five tons of water are used to produce one kilogram of rice.


In addition, rice is a very useful food in terms of its nutritional properties. It is a grain rich in protein and carbohydrates. It is also easy to digest. However, rice loses some of these nutritional properties during processing. For this reason, especially in some developed countries such as the USA, after processing rice, it is enriched with vitamins and minerals and presented to the market.


Minerals and vitamins in 100 g uncooked boiled rice.


Name

2. Name

Amount mg

B1 vitamin

Tyamin

0,07

B2 vitamin

Biboflavin

0,049

Iron

 

0,8

E vitamin

 

0,11

Phosphorus

 

115

Calcium

 

28

Magnesium

 

25

Potassium

 

115

Sodium

 

5


Rice processing and by-products

Broken grains: Rice grains smaller than three-quarters of a whole grain. It is used in making rice flour and pet food.                                                                       

Rice husk: The outer covering or husk layer that encloses the rice grain. The crust is inedible.

Rice bran: The top layer of rice. It is an ingredient in cereals, blends and vitamin concentrates , and non-food grade varieties of rice bran are used in animal feed.

Rice bran oil: It is a high quality cooking oil extracted from rice bran.

Rice flour: It is milled hulled or brown rice. It is non-allergenic, making it invaluable as a wheat alternative for those allergic to gluten and wheat flour products. Rice dough can be layered to produce chips and other snack foods and breakfast cereals.


Rice, which is one of the most grown plants in the world, has about 7,000 varieties today. The most known of these classes of rice, which are generally divided into various classes according to their shapes and properties, are long grain, medium grain and short grain, aromatic and sweet rice. The length of long grain rice is more than 9 mm and it is 4-5 times the width. The length of medium rice is 2-3 times their width and their length is about 6-7 mm. Short rices, on the other hand, are fat rice under 6 mm in length.   

                                                                           

Aromatic rice: It has a natural aroma and taste similar to roasted hazelnuts or popcorn. The most common native aromatic rices are basmati, jasmine and della.

Short grain rice: They are short, plump, almost round grain.

Medium-grain rice: Grains that are twice or three times the width, shorter and wider than long-grain rice. Cooked grains are more moist and soft and tend to stick together more than long grain rice.

Sweet rice: Short, plump, opaque grain rice. When cooked, rice loses its shape and becomes very sticky and gluteny. 

Long grain rice: Long, fine grains that are four or five times the width. It becomes grainy, light and soft when cooked.


Rice types and processing patterns can change the nutritional properties of rice. For example, unpeeled brown rice is richer in vitamins and minerals. However, it is less preferred than white rice because of its appearance. Apart from this, it is also very important to boil the rice less. The longer the rice is boiled, the less its nutritional value becomes.



Rice is used in many different areas apart from nutrition.


Health

For example, it has also been used as a medicine in folk medicine for hundreds of years. Rice water or milk obtained by boiling rice in diseases such as diarrhea and dysentery; Rice porridge has also been used as a cure for burns, wounds and various skin diseases. It is also used as a patient food because it is nutritious and easily digested.


Along with these, other parts of the rice are used in different ways besides the seeds. Rice straw  are useful fibers. Rice stalks, which are used as bait in many countries, are used for rope making in the Far East. Apart from this, shoes, mats, baskets, hats and various souvenirs are knitted from these handles, which are also used in making wicker. In addition to straw, rice stalks are also used in silkworm breeding in China. Silkworms feed in containers filled with rice straw. Rice stalks in many different countries It is decomposed into compost and used as a medium for cultivated mushroom cultivation.


While rice flour is used especially in pastry, it is also used in the cosmetics industry. It is put into various creams and powders as a filler. The part that surrounds the rice seed, called the bran, is rich in oil. For this reason, an oil called rice oil is obtained by squeezing these brans obtained as a result of sorting the rice. This oil is used in the making of various soaps and in the cosmetics industry.


Very fertile very skillful plant

a grain with almost 1001 uses

Rice is used in many different fields. The outermost husk, which is part of the rice, is also used. The first use of these outer shells is transportation. The shells placed around the packages protect the transported materials from mechanical effects; prevents them from being damaged. Another use of these shells is the generation of heat and electricity.



Rice fields in Ifugao, Philippines



Generally in villages, these shells are burned in stoves for heating purposes. The outer shells burned in the power plants are also used in electricity generation. In Peru, for example, these shells are ground and turned into fuel briquettes. Accordingly, a dough is formed by mixing the bran obtained with flour with a small amount of clay and yucca starch. Then this dough is pressed under pressure and turned into briquettes.


It should not be forgotten that rice husks are a qualified insulation material. Due to their rough surface, they are used as insulation material between bricks in construction. In summer, they wrap around the ice and prevent them from melting. The ashes of the rice husks are also not thrown away. The ashes obtained from the shells are popularly used to whiten yellowed teeth. In industry, these ashes are used in the production of rayon.


What does rice have to do with fish production?

Another beneficial aspect of growing rice is paddy field fishing. Fish and other freshwater animals are grown in rice fields in the Far East and northeastern states of India, especially in China. For example, while approximately 750 kg of rice is produced per decare in a paddy field with abundant rainfall, approximately 75 kg of carp can be grown.

Fishing for rice fish, which has been done since ancient times and is seen as a great gain in underdeveloped countries today, has no expense. Apart from this, it has been proven in the scientific researches on this subject that the product yield is approximately 4% higher in paddy fields.


In addition , the use of chemical pesticides used to dry weeds in these fields is decreasing , as the fish and other creatures grown in the paddy fields eat the weeds grown in the field . This makes rice healthier. Fish and other freshwater animals living in lakes or streams are dispersed to the fields by floods. Later, due to the closure of the paddy fields with soil embankments, the offspring remaining in the water in the field grow over time and begin to have an economic importance. In some lowlands, paddy fields are surrounded by bamboo canes after floods. Thus, the fish that enter here cannot get out. Fish grown here are also caught with special nets or cages. Until recently, only carp or Chinese carp were grown in rice fields. Today, in addition to many natural species living in the region, especially economically valuable fish species, crustacean and frog species are now grown in paddy fields.


Rice's Journey

While rice was initially in a more limited area, it started to spread gradually. After the retreat of the glaciers, around 15,000 BC, with the return of warm weather and rain, the ancestral paddy fields broke free from the southern glacier shelters and spread over a wide tropical and subtropical area, including southern China and South and Southeast Asia.


So, how did rice enter Europe? Its entry into Europe was accompanied by the expeditions of Alexander the Great. After Alexander the Great's expedition to India between 344-324 BC, it is thought that the Greek soldiers returning to their country brought rice to Europe. Later, with the campaigns of Alexander the Great, it started to spread from Greece to the south of Europe and some parts of North Africa.


Rice has always been a popular plant throughout its adventure, but when it came to the 16th and 17th centuries, rice farming began to decline a bit. Because he started to be seen as the culprit of malaria. In Southern Europe at that time malaria was one of the most dangerous diseases. Rice farming on irrigated land in those years was restricted by medical geographers in many regions, especially around large cities, as malaria was believed to be spread by bad weather in the swamps. Of course, this was a situation that prevented the spread of rice in Europe to some extent.


When rice came to the new world, it was the Europeans who introduced rice to people in this part of the world. Portuguese to Brazil; The Spanish brought rice to various parts of Central and South America. The first records of rice in North America date back to 1685. The document says that slaves from Madagascar transported rice to South Carolina and the coastal plains.


Civil war and harsh weather conditions begin to move rice production from the East coast of America to the West, and then rice farming begins in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, Missouri, and California.


If we look at the etymological origin of rice

While examining the place of rice in cultural history, now it's time for rice and related paddy, pilaf etc. Words have etymologies. Let's start with the rice first. The word probably seems to derive from the languages of India, the first destination of rice when it came out of the Far East and began to spread. Because the word warinci is found in the Dravidian language and its similars are found in other languages in the same region.


For example, arisi in Tamil, warinci in Telugu, and vrīha/vrīza in Sanskrit. When it comes to the generation where rice meets wheat, that is, around Iran, its name is It turns into wrīza/wrinca, passes from Old Persian to Ancient Greek as oryza, and continues to take different forms in Western languages, where it enters as oryza, as can be seen in Oryza sativa, which is also found in the Latin scientific name of the plant today. For example, English rice, Italian rizo. It was translated into Turkish as "Birinç", which was transformed from wrinca in Persian over time, and became the word "rice" that we use today.


The word "rice" in Turkish is derived from the word "birinc", which means yellow in Persian. It got this name because of the color before the shell leaves. In fact, because of its yellow color, copper-zinc mixed metal is also called brass. Rice, which takes the form of ruz in Arabic, comes from this in some European languages, such as “rice” in English and “risotto” in Italian.


Faith, culture, mythology, rice and pilaf;

For those who ask Confucius what is happiness; "All the flavors can fit in a pot of rice." says.


Rice, which is the main food source of approximately 2.9 billion people around the world, means life, food or agriculture in many Asian languages. It is possible to find traces of brass in almost every part of the Far East culture.


Just as there are gods and goddesses of various food and beverage items in Ancient Anatolia and Ancient Greece, there are similar beliefs and traditions in the mythologies of Asian cultures. Many of these have been practiced since ancient times. In many Asian countries, the soul of rice is believed to reside in the "rice mother" or "rice goddess". Thais know the rice goddess by the name Mae Posop. Balinese call him Dewi Sri. Just as mothers feed their babies with their milk, the rice goddess offers her body and soul to people. Mae Posop not only protects the rice harvest, but also the rice-growing farmer. They believe so. That's why farmers pay their respects to him for various reasons.


There are many myths about rice in Chinese culture. According to a story told, China once experienced a great flood. When the flood waters recede, the people who come down from the hills they take shelter see that all the plants have died and there is nothing left to eat. Hunting is the only way they can survive, but it is difficult for them to survive this way because there are very few animals in the environment. For example, in China it is denoted by the ideogram of rice mi or taw, and is believed to have been brought to man by a dog in northern cultures and by a rat in the south. When they are desperate, the people see a dog coming towards them. The tail of the dog has long yellow seeds. People plant these seeds, the rice grows, and hunger disappears. It is from this belief that the saying "precious things are not pearls and diamonds, but five grains of rice" in Chinese culture. In addition, the sanctity of rice in China is also connected with daily life and death. In Chinese beliefs, while rice is used to ward off evil spirits, there is also a tradition of placing rice grains in the mouth of the dead or offering bowls filled with rice in offerings to ancestors.


In many regions of the Far East, rice is considered as a gift from the gods to humans. According to the Burmese creation myth, the ancestors of the Burmese people were commanded to achieve prosperity and happiness when they were sent out from the center of the earth. That's why they brought rice seeds with them. In Bali, there is a belief that Lord Vishnu created the world to give Rice, and that God Indra taught people how to raise it.


As for Indonesian mythology, they have three Brass Main characters. One of them is the goddess who produces rice from her body, the second is the nutritious rice mother, who is believed to form the essence of every living thing in rice with her milk, and the third is the last sheaf of rice, which is ceremonially cut at each harvest and dressed in women's clothes and believed to carry the concentrated spirit of the field.


Considering the symbolic meaning of rice, the importance of this grain in Asian culture is better understood. Just as the bread, which is accepted as the body of the Prophet Jesus in the Christian world, is important and holy, rice has a similar meaning for Japanese culture. In his book The Seafarer's Plant Myths, he writes about this: In Shintoism, the Japanese indigenous religion, one of the gods is the Rice god named Inari. Inari is an agricultural god who uses messenger foxes to communicate with people and is a symbol of abundance. Therefore, the worship of Inari is very common in the Kyoto region where rice is cultivated. The beginning of the worship of Inari is based on a legend. Accordingly, a man named Irogu made himself a target out of "rice cake". But the arrow that Irogu shoots at the target turns into a white bird and starts to fly. Bewildered, Irogu chases after this bird and takes him to an "ine-nary" "rice seedling" on Mount Fushimi. Thus, Irogu started the cult of god Inari. Inari means rice seedling. It is possible to come across a cult area belonging to him almost everywhere in Japan.


On great feasts, the Japanese emperor offered rice to the Sun goddess, because the Sun and its lights that ripen the rice plant are symbols of enlightenment. In addition, rice is frequently used as a symbol of fertility in weddings. When it comes to food in traditional Japanese culture, well-cooked rice comes to mind. Family or close friends present a gift of red rice or red bean rice to women who have given birth. On his first birthday, the baby takes his first steps on a cake made of rice, and parents. They distribute the pieces of the cake to the people. Thus, the child's life is ensured to pass in abundance.


Asa gohan means breakfast in Japanese, hiru gohan means lunch rice, and yoru gohan means dinner rice. This shows how important rice is in Japanese culture. The fact that rice is associated with fertility actually stems from the fact that the main agricultural product is rice, and it is similar to the description of Ishtar in Middle Eastern cults and Demeter in Greek mythology with wheat ears and associated with fertility.


Rice also has a place in the legend of Buddha: In the days of Buddha's seclusion, the Buddha had a self-control, caused great pain to his body, and resisted to survive with only a single millet grain during the day. In those days, when a religious woman approached him with kindness and offered him a bowl of rice porridge, Buddha did not refuse this good-hearted woman and accepted the rice porridge. This behavior of his also causes him to part ways with the five disciples of Buddha.


On the island of Java, it was believed that the rice plant, which had stopped in flower, was pregnant. During the flowering period in the rice fields, care was taken not to make noise near the fields. According to belief; if the rice was startled, it would not be full and the plant would turn into straw. There is also an interesting ritual related to the rice harvest in Java: Before the crop is removed from the field, a sheaf of rice ears selected from the field is tied by the clergy; They were smeared with oil and decorated with flowers.


A symbolic marriage ceremony is held for these rice ears, which are called padipenganten, meaning "rice bridegroom and rice bride"; rice was harvested only after this ceremony. Before the product was placed in the warehouse, a special room was prepared for the rice bride and her groom, and the door of the warehouse was not opened for forty days in order not to disturb “this newlywed couple”. This is a ritual they do to increase the fertility of the next year's rice.


Festivals

Rice festivals with very different cultural concepts are held in different cities in many countries. For example.


Thais also celebrate the rice planting and harvesting seasons with various festivals. Thais have songs and dances associated with planting, reaping, and hulling rice. Especially in the old times, when machines were not used in agriculture, they worked collaboratively like we did, the neighbors did the fieldwork together, in a certain order, and they sang rice songs while working together.


Although the old traditions are rapidly moving away today, the "Double Plowing Ceremony" has been celebrated in front of the Grand Palace in Bangkok every year in the 6th month of the lunar calendar (usually in May) for 700 years to raise the morale of the farmers and wish a good harvest season. The most important events of the festival are the ceremony of estimating the annual amount of rain and rice production, the other is the "festival lord" (Phraya Raek Na) riding the bulls decorated for the ceremony and the four angels (Nang Thepi) sprinkling rice from golden baskets to the ring. Rice is not only offered to the gods and goddesses during the harvest season. He does not leave the leading role to anyone in the holidays and festivals celebrated in various periods of the year in almost every Asian country. Rice is both a gift and a meal. Rice is sacred in every sense.


It's not just Easterners who believe in the supernatural power of rice. The tradition of throwing rice grains after the wedding to newly married couples among Christians stems from the belief that rice will bring fertility and happiness.  

Although some marriage traditions are not practiced by all Jews, they are continued in some weddings. In one of these traditions, at the entrance of the synagogue where the wedding will take place, the groom pours almond candy, coins and rice grains in a handkerchief over the bride's head. They are believed to symbolize abundance, fertility and wealth.In Islam, a sanctity is also attributed to rice; Like the rose, it is believed that it was created from the light of the Prophet. Salawat is brought while eating; those who don't are reminded. Not a single rice is wasted in a meal.


Aki Matsuri - autum harvest.

More festivals are celebrated in Japan than in many other countries in the world. Seasonal changes, giving thanks to the gods, commemorating historical events are among the festival topics. One of the most important of these festivals, 'Aki Matsuri' is celebrated with wide participation all over the country.


Aki Matsuri is associated with the religion of Sinturism. During the festival, thanks are given to the gods for the rice harvest with various rituals. The arrival of autumn and the rice harvest are celebrated together with songs, prayers, and the participation of neighborhood people of all ages. For rice, which has been the main food of the country from past to present, paddy planting starts in the spring, the ears are full in the summer, and autumn is the harvest time of this valuable product.


As the journey of the rice in the field ends with the harvest, the festival begins, and the sound of the Japanese drum taiko is heard everywhere. Festival rehearsals begin days in advance. Generally, the drum sound played by the young people is accompanied by the sound of the flute played by the primary school children.





The festival lasts for three days. On the first day, under the supervision of adults, children shoot the yagura saying 'Wasshoi Wasshoi' on the streets of the district. Mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, little children all follow the yagura. Every district has a logo. In terms of security and identification of the neighborhood, it is obligatory to have these logos on the young people who shoot the yagura. The streets of the district are decorated with paper lanterns and illuminated at night. On the night of the first day, a lantern procession is organized in which all the yaguras in the city participate. Although there are those who dislike it because the traffic is paralyzed, those who want to preserve the tradition attend the festival with enthusiasm. The festival, which starts on land and extends to the sea, is completed in a fun, lively and beautiful way. Once the ceremonies are complete, the yaguras are put to rest in special rooms prepared in each temple until next year's Aki Matsuri.


After the word rice, paddy and pilaf are next.

Paddy, as it is known, is a word used for rice field and rice in the field or for rice in shell. It has passed into Turkish from the Persian words şaltuk/çaltuk. In English, the word paddy is used for this concept, and the final origin of the word indicates Indochina. Because the word is padi in Malay and its meaning is still the same, namely paddy field and raw rice. The situation with the word pilaf is a little more complicated. Because it's not about a grain, it's about a meal made from it. Considering that rice farming societies use rice as a food item, the origin of rice is based on societies living in Southwest Asia.


As I mentioned before, the remains found in Non Nok Tha during the excavation in the Korat region of Thailand in 1966 determine the origin of rice farming with the findings. Brass traces were found on the inner surfaces of the pot fragments found. It is known that the age of the remains dates back to at least 4000 BC.



IN TURKISH CUISINE THE KING IS BULGUR AND THE QUEEN İS RICE


With the introduction of rice into Turkish cuisine, rice and pilaf have had a very important place in Turkish cuisine, culinary history and culture. The word rice in Turkish is based on the first Persian word. In Old Turkic, the equivalent of this grain is tuturkan/tuturgan.


Turkey is located in a region where rice and wheat regions intersect. Rice and Pilaf becomes a privileged meal from the very beginning. Rice is the ingredient in dishes that require extra creativity and refinement, such as 'dolma'.(eggplant, zucchini, pepper, stuffed stuffed leaves).


In order to enter the subject of rice and pilaf in Turkish Culinary Culture from past to present, it is useful to look at rice first.


Rice was also consumed in Anatolia during the Byzantine period. This consumption continued in the period of principalities. Ibn Battuta Tancî, who went on a pilgrimage from Tangier at the age of 22 in 1325 and traveled to various parts of Anatolia in 1332, was a guest of the ruler during his stay in Birgi. Aydınoğlu Bey states that Muhammad sent flour, rice and oil to him and his crew every day as provisions.


In addition, paddy rice was cultivated in some places in Anatolia during the period of principalities. For example, rice farming in Saruhan region dates back to Saruhanoğulları period. Pegolotti points out that rice was cultivated in the wetlands near Istanbul and Ayasuluk in the 14th century. As for rice agriculture in the early period of the Ottoman Empire, both in Anatolia and It is necessary to look at the situation in Rumelia. Looking at Anatolia, it is possible to trace rice in various places.


With the Mongol invasion in Anatolia in the 13th century, rice production and consumption are encountered in Anatolia and the Middle East. The view that rice spread in the Middle East with the Mongol invasion in the 13th century is increasingly accepted among researchers. Rice, whose consumption and social prestige gradually increased in the Ottoman palace kitchens with the influence of Iran since the 15th century, has been the food of a privileged segment for many centuries. Pilaf served with meat became the favorite treat of big feasts. It did not become a common food for ordinary people living in Istanbul and those in the countryside; There are cultural and economic reasons for this. Some researchers point out that in some periods, rice is not a much more expensive food than wheat and conclude that rice is also the food of the people. However, it took time for the consumption of rice and pilaf to become widespread in Anatolian folk cuisine. The reason for this is that rice is more difficult to reach than bulgur.


The arrival of rice in Anatolia is relatively new. It is believed that it entered from the south 500 years ago. Since the abundant irrigation required by paddy farming caused malaria, paddy production was regulated by regulations in the Ottoman Empire until 1908. In 1910, the first law on rice farming was published; In the Republican period, rice farming was rearranged with the law enacted in 1936.


There was no large-scale rice production in Anatolia; Plovdiv (Plovdiv), Tosya-Boyabat and Beypazarı were at the beginning of the production areas. In the Balkans, in Plovdiv and a limited amount of Drama, Kavala, etc. was being cultivated; but rice was brought to Istanbul mainly from Egypt. Paddy fields in Anatolia were lands that belonged to the state and were given to tax farmers. Unlike the grain used to make bread, most of the rice that came to the market was produced on fields that belonged to the state, not independent peasants, and were leased out to tax farmers for a short period of time, usually 3 years. The tax farmers of the paddy fields in Beypazarı had to give a certain amount of rice to the people designated by the Ottoman State; but they mainly paid their debts to the treasury in cash. As a result, the town of Beypazarı, one of the paddy fields in Anatolia, developed as a rice wholesale market, albeit partially. In Beypazarı, the rice trade was carried out in the inn dedicated to this work. There were small rice markets elsewhere in Anatolia, for example in Tire and Bergama. The annual uncertainties in domestic rice production and the disruptions caused by the difficulties of shipping, especially from Egypt, increased the price of rice. However, there were years when rice-wheat price levels were close due to low wheat production and high rice production and imports in some years.


Like the Greek soldiers of Alexander the Great, the Ottoman army could not go on a campaign without rice. Rice with boiled meat and zerde made of rice, and of course compote are the regular dishes of the soldiers' table. Because rice is a grain that keeps you full for a long time and gives energy. During the time of the Ottomans, measures were taken to avoid rice shortages and not to increase the prices too much; If rice did not come from one place, it was immediately sought to supply from another place. Rice was one of the foodstuffs on which the sale price was predetermined by the institutions.


In the 16th century, rice was considered a luxury food in the Ottoman lands because it was produced very limitedly only around Boyabat, Tosya and Plovdiv, and in the second half of the 17th century, rice consumption began to become widespread in the Hejaz, because the rice sent by the Indian rulers to Mecca was distributed as alms. 36,000 bushels of rice were brought from Egypt for the kitchen of the Topkapı Palace as well as the Matbah-ı Amire. (In Istanbul, 1 bushel was 25 kilograms).


Use of rice in Ottoman palace cuisine

In the Ottoman Empire, rice consumption in Topkapı Palace was quite high. Consumption, which was 186 tons on average at the end of the 15th century, was around 257 tons in the second quarter of the 16th century, 712 tons in the third quarter of the century, and reached 1283 tons in some periods of the 17th century. did not fall below. Not only pilaf was cooked with the rice taken to the Topkapı Palace. Rice was also used in the preparation of soup in the palace kitchens as well as pilaf. In addition, rice was necessary in the production of rice flour, which was added to many foods, especially zerde and ashura. Boza (hot drink made on winter days) should be counted among the foods and beverages made in the halvahhane, where rice is used; because a substantial amount of rice was used in the making of boza.


Pilaf: Types, consumption patterns, consumption places

Let's move on to rice. Turks are also among the nations that have successfully experimented with rice. Their relatives, who preferred to stay in Central Asia, added a different meaning and value to rice and pilaf by doing very special studies on pilaf. Thus, pilaf is considered to be a dish that belongs to Central Asia, India and the Middle East, not to the Far East, but to Anatolia.





First, let's talk about the word pilaf and the words that indicate the types of pilaf. The place to look for the origin of the word pilaf emerges spontaneously. Central/Inner Asia-India-Iran-Anatolia line. The word is used as palav in Turkmen, palō in Kyrgyz, palau in Kazakh. The word pilaf in Turkish comes from the Persian word pilaf and pelav.


The Chinese and Asian inhabitants of the 'yellow race' often eat rice by boiling it.

Everything else, vegetables and meat, is at the center of this very 'neutral' delicious base and is consumed instead of bread. Asian Indians and Pakistanis, and especially non-yellow Iranians and Turks, have enriched pilaf varieties.



PILAF IN TRADITIONAL TURKISH CUISINE AND IN THE OTTOMAN PERIOD

Turks and Iranians carried rice dishes to a festive dimension with the innovative pilaf works made with pilaf, especially in the Ottoman palace kitchen of the Seljuk Empire. Rice dishes In cultures extending from Istanbul to Anatolia, including the communities in Egypt, Syria and Iraq, typical Turkish pilaf making technique is observed.


In the classical period, the Ottomans used the word erz instead of rice, and the word grain instead of pilaf. The words rice and pilaf started to be used by the Ottomans in the following periods. The word grain, which means grain in Persian, is still used to denote pilaf in Iran, where grains remain after cooking and the grains of rice do not stick together. Similarly, in today's Turkish, grain reinforcement is used to characterize pilaf, which has separate rice grains because it is cooked properly, not like porridge, but not sticky to each other. Let's give a few examples of the use of the word “grain” when talking about pilaf in the Ottoman Empire: Bulgur pilaf or rice pilaf varieties called grain-i plain (plain pilaf), grain-i fülfül (only rice with black pepper), grain-i rice. crush (sugar pilaf), grain-i zucchini ma' asel (pumpkin and honey pilaf) etc.





Other than soup, the most prominent dish of rice in the palace cuisine is pilaf. So much so that there was a separate kitchen section in the Ottoman palace kitchen where only pilaf was cooked and those cooks were called pilaf makers. All pilafs cooked in the palace were supervised by the head pilaf cooker  . It was one of the main working groups in Matbah-ı Âmire, such as pilaf makers, cooks, pastry makers, dessert makers, kebab makers, coffee makers, and compotes. Although Topkapı Palace is one of the places where rice pilaf was consumed in large quantities during the Ottoman period, we should not forget the soup kitchens. At the end of the 15th century, rice appeared on the menu of soup kitchens and public kitchens as soup, zest, and pilaf.18 This situation continued for centuries.


Rice and pilaf in aid institutions, soup kitchens and madrasahs in the Ottoman Empire   (Madrasah - the name given to Universities in the Ottoman period)


Orhan Ghazi established the first soup kitchen in the Ottoman period. In the soup kitchen he had founded in Iznik in 1336, he first lit the fire of the hearth and distributed the first meal to the people himself. His son, Sultan Murat I, had the Nilüfer Hatun Imaret built in Bursa on behalf of his mother, Nilüfer Hatun. It is estimated that the number of soup kitchens in the Ottoman lands reached 200 in the following years.


In the Ottoman Empire, in addition to soup kitchens, palace kitchens were also a help gate. Food aid was given from the palace kitchen as well as food was distributed in the soup kitchens, and rice was among the main materials of these aids. Three types of food aid were given to those in need from the palace kitchen. The second type of aid included the distribution of raw food materials such as rice, as well as the distribution of bread, oil and wood.


Rice was one of the important ingredients of the meal distributed in the soup kitchens established in various parts of the empire. Dersnschwam speaks of the rice dish served in the soup kitchen of Ali Pasha Imarethane, where he stayed, when he came to Istanbul, as "delicious".


Adding saffron gives it a yellow color and is sweetened with sugar. This food could be Zerde. It also states that soup is distributed in the soup kitchens. Wheat was served in the soup kitchens on ordinary days, while grain with rice pilaf was served on feast, Friday and Ramadan evenings.


In the distribution of Fatih Imarethanesi soup kitchen of 1545, “Let the food be cooked twice in the morning and in the evening, rice soup in the morning and wheat in the evening should be cooked on nights other than Friday nights, and grain, zerde and zirbac should be cooked in the evening.” The expression indicates the place of rice in the kitchen of the soup kitchen.


In addition, special meals given on oil lamp days and offered to guests who come to the soup kitchen. Rice was used in food. When the distributions showing the distribution of goods in the soup kitchens are examined, it is understood that rice is one of the most important materials of the soup kitchens when the amount of rice taken and the amount of rice consumed are taken into account.


Apart from the foundation soup kitchens, rice was indispensable for the meals served in the soup kitchens of the lodges. In fact, more than one type of pilaf was placed on the same table. The fact that 11 types of pilaf were placed on one table and 7 types on another table during Ramadan in Kadirîhane lodge in Istanbul in 1906 shows the richness of pilaf varieties in places where mass meals are eaten at the beginning of the 20th century, as in previous centuries.


These pilafs that cheered the palates of the guests were as follows: grain rice with meat (pilaf with meat), grain rice (plain rice), grain-i nardeng (pilaf with pomegranate molasses), grain rice with vermicelli (noodle rice), grain-i saru (yellow rice), grain -i green (green pilaf, grain-i scarlet (red pilaf). As seen in the list, there were colored pilafs in the 16th century Ottoman cuisine. Yellow pilaf was colored with saffron, green pilaf was colored with spinach juice. Today's tomato pilaf is one of the last examples of the colored pilaf category.


As I mentioned, the queen of Turkish Cuisine is rice. As with every meal, cooks show this respect and care to every meal they cook with rice.


How elaborate can a rice soup or rice pilaf be?

If you want to transform quality into taste and taste into art...


So, you welcome to a rice soup recipe from the palace cuisine...

4 spoons of rice, 4 glasses of meat or chicken stock, 4 glasses of milk, 1 spoon (30 g) of honey, 3 spoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of saffron, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, 1 coffee cup of rose water (to infuse saffron).


Put the saffron in rose water and infuse for two to three hours, let it release its color and smell. Wash the rice thoroughly. If you use broken rice, your soup will be better helmed. Add measured broth and a little salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Then release the rice and cook it for about 30 minutes until it is very soft. When the rice is ready, add milk little by little to the pot and cook for another 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the soup thickens, add the oil, honey and saffron, let it bubble for a couple of times and take it off the heat. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and serve. Don't ask if there's any pepper in the sweet soup. Black pepper and honey are a very pleasant combination.


You can adjust the sweetness of the soup according to your taste, you can add half or two spoons of honey instead of one. If you cook the rice soup with 5 glasses of water and 2 glasses of milk, after it has thickened enough, season with the yolk of an egg and a lemon and add a bunch of finely chopped parsley, you will have prepared a lush parsley soup. Of course, in this case, you will not use honey.


Dane-i pirinç aşı ( rice pilaf ) Quality must be in the details...


Lamb tail fat is chopped into small pieces and melted, the cartilage is removed. Chopped meat is placed on it according to the custom and roasted until the meat is browned and fully cooked. A little salt and a little crushed coriander are left on it. Add enough hot water and boil it and remove the foam. When it is close to cooking and its water is low, add some crushed and sifted dried coriander, cumin, cinnamon, mastica [gum drop] and salt if needed. The meat is boiled until it is completely cooked and its water is absorbed. After that, the cooked meat is taken out of the pot and placed on it with the available spices. Fresh lamb tail fat, which is three times as much as the meat, is chopped into small pieces, melted in the pot, and the cartilage is removed. After this process is finished, three and a half measures of water is poured into a separate pot, the prepared lamb tail fat, a little crushed cinnamon and mastic are added and boiled.


When the water boils, one measure of thoroughly washed rice is put into the pot after it is dyed with saffron, and its mouth is closed without mixing. When the rice is cooked a little and the water boils a little, the meat that was taken out of the pot is put on the rice. The mouth is tightly closed so that it does not get air. In order to prevent air from entering, two layers of cloth are covered, the fire is drawn, it is kept on the coals until it reaches a consistency, then it is lowered, eaten, even if there is no saffron in it. (Grain - grain , cooking rice pilaf without sticking grains in Turkish cuisine in every period requires special skill . The rice house is a separate section in the Ottoman palace kitchen)


Another type of pilaf that has gone into oblivion is the sweet rice pilaf, whose name is Dane - i Kırma, which was included in the banquet tables given to foreign ambassadors who came to Topkapi Palace in the 17th century. Of course, it should not be forgotten that the use of sugar in meals was considered an expression of complete wealth at that time.


Rice pilaf was often served at council meetings in the palace. The names of some of these pilafs . Again, among the rice pilaf varieties presented in the palace council in the 17th century.  Dane-i plain (plain pilaf), dane-i Acem (Acem pilaf), Pilafs with various additives such as minced meat, vegetables, raisins, mulberries and currants, dane-i fülfül (only black pepper rice), dane-i kırma (pilaf with sugar ) dane-i asel (honey pilaf) dane-i kabak ma’ asel (zucchini and honey rice).


The earliest Ottoman rice recipes are found in Şirvani's book. The first recipe is for muzafferiye pilaf made with chicken, almonds, saffron and sugar, and the second is for grain-i kabuni pilaf with meat and chickpeas. According to the earliest recipes, rice was cooked with other ingredients, but in some 18th-century recipes the rice was first boiled in water or broth, and then melted oil was poured over it. Covering the pot with a cloth after cooking is a very old way of brewing pilaf, it is described in Arabic recipes from the 13th century. We learn from a 17th century source that the same method was continued in Ottoman cuisine. Cooked chicken, mutton or scrambled eggs in the form of omelettes or scrambled eggs were sometimes placed on the cooked rice. Pilafs served in sweet sauces were also served at the end of the meal. Pilaf was eaten with a wooden spoon.



Golden chickpea rice


In the famous banquets given by Mahmut Pasha, the grand vizier of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, pilaf with golden chickpeas was served, and whoever found golden chickpeas on his spoon, that person would be lucky.


Pilaf varieties were served both in the early and late periods in the Ottoman palace after official meetings such as divan meetings, in the meals eaten in the palace and in the banquets given after various official receptions, from the receptions of the ambassadors to the emperor's receptions in the last period.


Rice pudding and pudding culture has an important place among the rice usage areas in the Ottoman Empire. The taste of rice pudding, which had a respectable place on the palace table, managed to go beyond the borders of the country. At the dinner given by Pope Pius V in 1570, rice pudding was served as 'Turkish style rice with milk'.

                                                          

In addition, the British Ambassador Lord John Finch, IV. Rice pudding was also included in the meal given by the Grand Vizier after he appeared in the presence of Mehmed. Custard was one of the famous desserts with plain and chicken breast types. It is known that Fatih loved pudding with chicken breast. While pudding, known as the Abbasid dish, was a dish with meat, rice, honey and saffron at first, it later became optional to add meat. Custard was among the delicious desserts made for feasts and ambassador feasts at the palace.



THE PLACE OF RICE AND PİLAF  IN THE TRADITIONAL TURKISH CUISINE

One of the indispensables of traditional Turkish cuisine culture, pilaf is the name of both a cooking technique and one of the food categories in the kitchen. Such a meal; There are both daily tables and feasts. There is both at the wedding and at the death. Pilaf is the food of ritual celebrations that point to the turning points of life in Anatolian geography or the seasonal cycle and changes in nature. In circumcision weddings, marriage, death dinners, rain prayers, and Hıdrellez celebrations, either bulgur or rice pilaf is served on the tables. Just like halva, pilaf makes its aromas come from the kitchens in every period of bittersweet life. It has become such a place in our culture that we have it in our proverbs, idioms and folklore. It has a unique culture with its accompaniments and the way it is presented. Yoghurt, ayran, pickles, greens, cold cuts, seasonal salads, turnip juice, must and compote are the first accompaniments that come to mind.


Cookware and cooking techniques may vary from region to region and according to the type of main material. Pilaf cooking techniques in general; It can be specified as releasing, roasting, boiling, straining, steaming. What makes Pilafs made in Turkish cuisine so popular is the variety of ingredients and cooking techniques. There are many types of pilaf made with meat, fish, seafood, legumes, and vegetables. It is a deep-sea subject that needs to be studied and studied in various aspects. It is a multifaceted and deep subject, but it is necessary to start from somewhere.


So everyone take their spoons, please come to the pilaf

Rice and rice dishes have been known to Turks for thousands of years. While rice is generally consumed for bread in the homeland of China, India and surrounding geographies. Pilafs, which are generally used as a side dish in the cuisines of Western countries, have always occupied a very important place in Turkish cuisine, and even created a category on their own. Even the simplest form of pilaf is never a side dish. Pilaf is a main course and a feast in Anatolia and still today in Turkish cuisine, with dozens of pilaf varieties and traditions.





lights in the air

impatient lovers

zerde and pilaf 

Wooden spoons await.


Tradition starts in the kitchen...

Traditions and ceremonies, which are of great importance in Turkish culture, are evidence of the historical success of the Turkish nation, which has enabled it to continue its existence for centuries. In this sense, Turkish culinary culture is a rich heritage that has been shaped over centuries around different traditions and rituals with the transfers that have continued for generations. Both its long history and the fact that its people have come together from a very wide geography ensure that Turkish cuisine draws attention, is considered important and gains an advanced place among other world cuisines.


In this very rich cultural heritage, there are countless dishes and eating habits that have survived to the present day, along with their traditions and rituals. Among these, birth, betrothal, engagement, wedding, funeral, circumcision and military service are the main rites of passage in Turkish culture, and on these most important days in the life of the individual, friends and relatives gather and perform some practices. Food is an important part of these rituals.


Rice is the leading part of the meal rituals on special days in traditional Turkish cuisine. Although pilaf is prepared with different food products from ceremonial meals to daily tables, the first thing that comes to mind when "pilaf" is mentioned in Turkey is rice pilaf and has always had a special status.


Today, many different pilaf cooking techniques are used in traditional Turkish cuisine. However, in the widely used roasting technique, the rice is sorted and washed, then drained by keeping it in salty water. It is then fried in oil (especially butter) and cooked by adding boiling water (or meat or chicken stock) and salt. The "brewing" (resting the rice for 15-20 minutes) after the cooking process is necessary for the rice to have the desired consistency. Salma technique, on the other hand, is considered healthier as it does not involve the roasting process.


The type of rice is a prerequisite for a good pilaf. Because how many measures of water the rice absorbs, its color and smell determine the quality of the rice that will come out. The feature of the oil used, the use of meat or chicken broth, the sufficient brewing of the rice after the cooking process ensures that the rice has the desired flavor. The criterion for a good pilaf in Turkish cuisine is "the rice should be grainy and not stick together". Although it gives the impression of a simple meal, pilaf making has been the most important type of food tested by cooks and housewives from the palace cuisine to the present day. The idea that a good rice cooker can also do other types of food well lives in the oral tradition.


Prepared with different techniques such as roasting and salma, pilaf is enriched with meat, chicken, sometimes fish, various vegetables and sometimes nuts such as walnuts and almonds. The most consumed pilaf varieties are noodle, plain, meat-chicken, meat-chicken juicy, chickpea rice pilaf and plain, tomato and green lentil. Ingredients such as vegetables, aromatic herbs, chickpeas, lentils, meat, chicken, mussels, shrimp, peanuts and grapes added to the pilaf not only increase the nutritional value of the pilaf, but also improve its appearance.


Pilaf can be eaten as a one-pot meal with ayran, yogurt, salad and greens. Pilaf, which is an indispensable complement to the juicy dishes called pot dishes, then turns into a variety that is eaten together with the meal. Meat dishes, especially kebabs, are always served with pilaf. In general, lambs and chickens are fried or cooked as a whole after stuffing with "stuffed rice". Stuffed pilaf prepared for this ceremonial dish has flavors that vary from region to region. Small pieces of liver, pine nuts, currants, mint, dill, parsley, cinnamon, allspice, and black pepper, which are usually added to rice, establish the flavor balance of the stuffed rice.


Turkey's main rice production areas are in the Marmara, Central Anatolia, Black Sea and Aegean regions. The provinces with the highest production are Edirne, followed by Çorum, Samsun, Sinop, İzmir, Manisa, Balıkesir and Kastamonu, respectively. The most preferred rices such as baldo, bersani, Osmancık, jasmine and calrose are examples of long grain rices. Karacadağ, one of Turkey's most famous rices, and Derviş, Sarıçeltik and Serhat rices are in the medium grain group.


Good wedding, beautiful wedding, no rice, empty wedding. No matter how glamorous a wedding is, if there is no rice at the wedding, that wedding is not considered a good wedding.


Pilafs have a special place in weddings. It takes the first place among the prepared dishes and is cooked with meat broth and served with pieces of meat placed on it. Rice pilaf is an indicator of status, tattoo pilaf, that is, keskek is symbolic. Even if bulgur pilaf is prepared, adding some rice in it is a very common tradition in Anatolia.


For example, in the villages of Hatay/İskenderun Azganlık, Karayılan, Sarıseki, at least 2-3 goats are slaughtered at the wedding, their meat is boiled until they are in pieces, bulgur pilaf is cooked with meat broth, rice is sprinkled on the bulgur pilaf  and the meat is arranged on the cooked pilaf.


The wedding meal in Hakkari is gulol and is prepared with buttermilk, rice and butter, with cauterized oil and molasses poured in the middle. Alatlı pilaf is a kind of rice pilaf with meat, chickpeas and raisins in Sivas/Divriği. Kabune, a kind of rice pilaf with meat, can be counted among the wedding meals in Isparta.



However, even in some centers where rice is not grown, it is possible to witness magnificent rice pilafs.


Risotto, the most famous rice dish in Italy, takes its name from riso/rizo/oryza, as can be understood from the word itself.





Paella  interpreted by Salvador Dali.

It is not a coincidence that the painter, who is considered the master of surrealists like Salvador Dali , was born and lived in Figueras, near Girona. The works of Dali, who fit into two world wars and a civil war in his 86-year life, are like an escape from the realities and a reflection of not being accepted.





Paella is a pilaf that emerged thanks to the rice brought by the Arabs to the Iberian Peninsula. Famous painter Dali, in the article he wrote for the Salvador Dali exhibition, which was opened in Istanbul, touched on this subject and described Paella with his unique interpretation.


Paella is a traditional dish consisting of a mixture of fresh vegetables and meat or seafood. When rice is accepted as the symbol of the dominant culture, the fresh vegetables, meat and fish that are included in the paella symbolize the minority cultures. The anxiety of creating a common new taste in the resulting dish is not felt. Most importantly, paella is a decomposable dish. If desired, the components of the paella can be extracted from the food in accordance with its original form. Paella is the food of the Iberian Peninsula, a geography that does not allow cultures to mix with each other and where conflicts and wars are experienced all the time.


For the Iberian people, because of the conflicts and wars, life has turned into an effort to escape from reality, to make reality acceptable or to transform it. The effort of the dominant culture to impose its own truth and to eliminate the others, the history written in blood, and living face to face with this bitter truth have led to the sprout of surrealism in these lands.


It is seen that in ancient Anatolia , as in many dishes in Turkish cuisine , rice pilaf maintains an important tradition , a culture of sharing , and bridges the developments that will make people happy , social cohesion and unity .


One of them, İskilip Dolma (its name is stuffed, but it is a type of pilaf) is remarkable with its unique cooking technique and equipment.


The 500-year-old Ottoman tradition of food and pilaf, which was prepared as an Ottoman army meal in history, is continued at weddings. In the meal, in which huge cauldrons, which are called the first pressure cookers in history, are used, special rice is used that does not scatter despite being cooked for a long time.





İskilip Stuffed is a traditional dish, also known as Ca Stuffed, which is made in the villages on the skirts of Deveci and Köse Mountain, which takes its name from Çorum's İskilip district. An original type of pilaf made on special days and meetings. Iskilip stuffing, which is only made by experienced masters, is difficult and laborious to make. İskilip dolma is an indispensable dish especially for circumcision and wedding invitations.


Why is it called stuffing?

Rice, meat, onions and butter with limited supplies And, of course, huge cauldrons in which at least  or  people fit, called the pressure cooker of time. Meat is the meat we know. Small or big head. Rice is a special rice called Akceltik.

    

Special rice is important here.

If normal rice is used, it becomes dough, so to speak, but due to the rice special to the region called Akçeltik, it does not lose anything from its appearance and becomes even larger and more beautiful.  


The reason why the dish has not entered daily life is that it is both laborious and skillful, and it is cooked in large cauldrons and for a very long time. As I have stated, this dish is served at weddings, and since it is cooked for about 18 hours, it starts to be cooked the day before the wedding. As in every meal, the butter, meat and pilaf used are special to the İskilip stuffing that gives the food its taste.


After the rice is fried with plenty of butter and onions, it is placed in large cloth bags called CA. Meat and broth are placed at the bottom of large, 1 m high cauldrons. A hair foot is placed in the middle of the cauldron and the bag is placed in the middle so that it does not come into contact with the meat.





Dough is squeezed between the lid of the cauldron and the cauldron so that it has the effect of a pressure cooker. (There is a very small hole in the lid of the cauldron).


The cauldron is cooked in wood fire until the first light of the next day. That is, until the morning of the wedding. Then, the broth is poured over the pilaf cooked with the steam of the meat. Beef thighs are placed on it in abundance and served.





İskilip dolma is prepared by boiling the rice in a specially woven bag in a large copper cauldron set aside for this purpose, and combining it with a spicy seasoning with butter and onions. Iskilip Stuffed Stuffed, which is indispensable for special occasions, has its own unique table tradition. If those who eat this stuffing do not tip the cook, the lid of the cauldron, which is covered with dough, will not be opened.



CURTAIN PİLAF

Another very special rice plate with a ritual and tradition in Turkey, the famous ceremonial dish of Siirt and its surroundings, Curtain Pilaf  is cooked in a unique 'fez-shaped' copper pot. Distinguishing Features: Rice fried in butter and fried piece of chicken is rice cooked in the oven by closing the lid in a special curtain pilaf pot placed on a specially prepared phyllo.    


Another very special rice plate with a ritual and tradition in Turkey, the famous ceremonial dish of Siirt and its surroundings, Curtain Pilaf is cooked in a unique 'fez-shaped' copper pot.  


Distinguishing Features: Rice fried in butter and fried piece of chicken is rice cooked in the oven by closing the lid in a special curtain pilaf pot placed on a specially prepared phyllo. 


Although it is usually made with chicken today, the original curtain pilaf is made with partridge meat . Moreover, it is not made from every partridge. must be a sand partridge. This is a small partridge variety with a henna-colored red ring on its neck and black spots on a dark brown body. It is even known that the leading families of the city had special partridge hunters under their protection in the past.


Curtain pilaf has an important value and story in the traditional folk culture and life of the region.


It is told that the curtain pilaf is actually the story of a bride.  In ancient times in the region, young people were married to people their families saw fit, by arranged method. At least that was the way it was. The seer goes, that is, the boy's family demands to be a guest from the girl's family and they go to see the girl. If the girl is liked, she is asked. Wedding dinner is done. The table is prepared, the curtain pilaf is laid out, the bride is cut.





In addition, the materials used in the Curtain Pilaf also make sense and give a message.

Two Partridges or two chickens placed on rice represent the bride and groom. Rice indicates abundance, almonds indicate the will of grandchildren. The curtain that surrounds the pilaf is said to the bride, 'Look, my daughter, until you open it, it is not known what is inside. If you cut it, you will see it, but once you cut it, you cannot bring it back to the way it was. So is our house. You won't tell anyone what's going on at home. No one will know, especially on the father's side.' This is a lesson, actually.”


A very special rice is grown in the Karacadağ region, which is near Göbeklitepe, which is considered the zero point of civilization. What makes it different are the local production, the structure of the soil where it is grown, the fact that the irrigation water is snow water from the volcanic Karacadağ, the product grown with local seeds and has never been processed. Karacadağ rice, which is grown on the slopes of 2025 meters high Karacadağ, is considered the best quality rice in the world.


The most striking aspect of the paddy in terms of external appearance, instead of the thin and long rice we are accustomed to, is that it resembles small, lumpy lentils and is in straw yellow and light brown tones. It is stated that there are plenty of minerals in the lands where Karacadağ rice is grown, where studies are also carried out to obtain geographical indications. Being an extinct volcano, Karacadağ's special soil structure and adaptation to irrigation water distinguish this rice product from other varieties.


Karacadağ rice produced in Diyarbakır-Siverek and Adıyaman regions is grown by the local villagers to use in their own kitchens and according to the needs of the people living in the region. Since the production is low and this breed is known only by the people living in the region, only a very small part of the production goes to the industry. 


IRRIGATION WITH SNOW WATER

While in other parts of Turkey, cultivated paddy is grown with irrigation water with a temperature above 15 degrees, Karacadağ paddy is grown with cool snow water flowing between 5-10 degrees in streams when the snow falling in winter melts. Due to the soil structure of the region and the way it is grown, Karacadağ rice differs from other paddy varieties for this reason. For this reason, Karacadağ rice is richer than other rice in terms of protein, vitamins and enzymes. The high protein and high starch product in the grain makes this rice delicious.


This paddy has aromatic properties due to the volatile fatty acids it contains during cooking. While breeding varieties sold in the market have an odorless or chaff-like odor specific to rice after cooking, Karacadağ rice has a uniquely pleasant smell of mint and thyme mixture.


In addition, from a health point of view, the nutritional values of Karacadağ rice, which has a low starch rate and a positive effect on blood sugar values, are remarkable.

Nutritional Value (100 gr): 109 calories: 2.4 gr. protein; 24.2 gr. carbohydrate; 0 cholesterol; 0.1 gr. oil; 0.1 gr. fiber; 28 mg. phosphorus; 10 mg. calcium; 0.2 mg. iron; 374 mg. sodium; 28 mg. potassium; 0.02 mg. vitamin B1; 0.01 mg. Vitamin B2 and 0.4 mg.  Vitamin B3.


A traditional pilaf made in Şanlı Urfa province in this region is Üzlemeli Pilaf. Besides its traditional feature, it has distinctive distinctive features. It is made with very special Karacadağ rice. It is known that the general name of the dishes served at the weddings of Urfa is the supha dish, and Üzlemeli pilaf is also included in the menu.


“Towards the evening of the day when the bride is brought to the groom's house, a supha dinner is served by the groom's family in a place other than the bride's house. Today, it is the general name of the food given at weddings. Relatives, friends, everyone is invited to the Supha dinner. In addition, needy and needy people are also called and their stomachs are fed. As a meal in supha, pilaf with meat, ribs or lamb, and Üzleme pilaf are served.”


Other special features in the preparation of pilaf with raisins are that the reason why it is made with plain oil is that this oil does not solidify, the ingredients need to be cooked very well. Because when they are combined with molasses, the ingredients come alive. “Coarse-grain chickpeas are boiled, peeled and cut in half. Izmir grapes are boiled and black molasses is cooked with plain oil.


Grapes and chickpeas are added to molasses and cooked very well. Molasses is used for its color and fragrance. Unsalted pilaf is cooked from plain oil and Karacadağ rice.


Plain oil

(Known as "clarified fat" in Anatolia and the Caucasus, it is the most natural form of fat obtained from butter made from cow's milk. At the end of the process, plain oil containing 99% milk fat is obtained. An average of 900 grams of plain fat is obtained from 1 kilogram of butter. Plain oil contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E. It is also rich in vitamin K2. Clarified butter (252 °C) has a higher smoke point compared to regular butter (163-190 °C),[3] and therefore may be preferred in some cooking applications such as roasting/sautéing. Clarified butter also has a much longer shelf life than fresh butter. Its very low lactose and casein content allows people with lactose intolerance or milk allergy to consume clarified butter.)


In Turkish cuisine, pilaf varieties are one of the culinary traditions that are carefully preserved in the line from rural to urban. The scope of this tradition, which seems to have narrowed down with a few varieties in urban life, expands with flavors that differ from region to region and maintains its currency in culinary culture.


There are dozens of Rice Pilaf varieties in Turkey. We can list some of them as follows.  Plain, porridge, peas, fresh tomatoes, artichokes, eggplant, fresh broad beans, cabbage with olive oil, carrots, chestnuts, chickpeas, lentils, braided, vermicelli, curtains, meat-chicken broth, meat, ribs, chossebabi, wedding pilaf, Persian, Uzbek, with meatballs, alipaşa, veil, stuffed liver, chicken, gendime, mussels, egg.


In many cultures, observations about rice also find a place in idioms. Malaysians: “Ikutlah rasmi padi, makin tunduk makin berisi.” They say, “The more the branch of rice bends, the finer the grains will be.


For example, in Turkish culinary culture, there is an interesting story of the idiom "Extract the stone from the rice"; It is based on Ottoman history. During the reign of Sultan Yavuz Sultan Selim, a rebellion broke out in Yemen, and as a result of long struggles, Yemeni Conqueror Sinan Pasha dominated the situation; Rumor has it that Sinan Pasha's soldiers stopped in the desert one day. They poured the corn rice in straw bags on a big tent they had laid on the ground for cooking and started to clear the stones.


Meanwhile, a storm broke out and a sand cloud blown by the wind descended on the rice and piled up in a small mound. A playful soldier among the janissaries, who was staring at the rice under the sand, told his friends, "We did not like the blessing of Allah because it is stone, even three or five stones are not enough for sinful servants like us. Now, sort out the rice stone. Our great god had rained stones from ebabil birds on the heads of the elephant owners who were attacking the Kaaba. Let's repent immediately before he rains bigger stones on us," he made his friends laugh. The phrase "sorry out the rice stone" was born from this story.


Rice and Pilaf still have a very special value in Turkish cuisine. Rice is traditionally used in rituals such as weddings, funerals, circumcisions, and feasts. Rice pilaf is cooked. So much so that many private organizations , schools and sports clubs organize plav days.



GALATASARAY PİLAF

Galatasaray High School is a school established in the middle and most beautiful place of Beyoğlu. The building where the high school is located has been known as Galata Palace since 1481. There is a football club founded by Galatasaray high school and university graduates . In the Galatasaray community, Pilaf Day was held on the first Sunday of June every year and Galatasaray Pilaf was served on Pilaf Day, as a result of a series of decisions taken by the Galatasaray People's Association in the 1930s. Pilaf Day, which has become a tradition, was held for the first time on 1 June 1934.


At the meeting of the Galatasaray People's Association on April 17, 1935, it was decided that "Galatasaray People's Annual Meal will be given on Friday, May 31, 1935, and Lamb Rice, Vegetables and Creamy Bread Dessert will be served". This dish, which won extraordinary acclaim, was established as Galatasaray Pilaf and formed the main menu of Pilaf Days. Galatasaray Pilaf is offered to all Galatasaray fans on the Traditional Pilaf Day, organized by the Galatasaray People's Association on the first Sunday of June every year. In addition, Galatasaray Pilaf is served to students at lunch every Friday, in the normal life order of the school. Thus, the start date of Galatasaray Rice Day is June 1, 1934, and the start date of the presentation of Galatasaray Pilaf on Pilaf days is May 31, 1935.


GALATASARAY

PİLAF  

Materials used: (Per person) , Rice for Pilaf 80 gr. Meat 300 gr. , Currants 7 gr. Stuffed peanuts 7 gr Butter 25 gr. Liver – Salt, Onion Black Pepper


From the palace tables to the public cuisine and from the past to the present, itinerant pilaf sellers.





Rice pilaf is prepared in dozens of different ways in the palace kitchens and served to sultans and kings, while at the same time it is a street flavor in traditional Anatolian and Turkish cuisine for centuries. As in the past, there are businesses that only make rice pilaf today. At the same time, rice pilaf, which is carefully prepared in mobile cars, maintains its place as an important street flavor in daily life.





Couscous and pilaf makers from Anatolia used to sell couscous pilaf prepared with çerviş, or tallow, on coffee tables in Eminönü, Beyazıt and Fatih squares, to porters and capstans in the mornings. The rice pilaf with chickpeas, which is still sold on the street between 1906 and 1922, is known under the name "Anatolian pilaf". Giant pilaf piled in a cone shape on huge pilaf trays and chickpeas, which are hot in a pot and barbecue fire, is a dish sold at the crossroads of the Grand Bazaar and other bazaars.


Since the Ottoman period, there have been businesses selling only rice pilaf for centuries in Turkey.

Give me 1 Kilo of Pilaf....


In the 1853 Ottoman-Russian war, the Ottoman army gathered in the city of Trabzon and from there food was distributed to the fronts in Kars, Ardahn, Ağrı, Batumi, and the Caucasus. Only rice pilaf, compote (grape compote) and bread could be given to the soldiers every day as food. Osman Efendi, who was the governor of Trabzon at that time, saw this situation and asked the sultan for a pilaf chef from the palace kitchen. For this reason, Master Süleyman, nicknamed Kalkanoğlu, came to Ttrabzon and started to prepare rice pilaf.





After Governor Osman Bey, who liked the pilaf prepared by Süleyman Ağa very much, said, "All Trabzon residents should eat this pilaf," a soup kitchen was opened in the Pazarkapı district of Trabzon city to distribute rice pilaf to the public. Pilaf and compote are distributed free of charge to the public.


One day, the governor visits the soup kitchen and is disturbed by the way of distribution of pilaf. Turning to Süleyman Ağa, Süleyman Ağa orders that pilaf is not fair to be distributed like this. From that day on, Pilaf is weighed with scales and distributed.


After the end of the 1854 Crimean War, at the insistence of the people, the Sultan's Pilafcıbaşı Süleyman Ağa settled in Trabzon and started to sell rice in his own shop, and it is today. The history of Kalkanoğlu Pilav dates back to 1856.


The secret of Kalkanoğlu Pilaf's taste is hidden in its ingredients. Bone broth is used to make rice. The water obtained after boiling the bone and bone marrow in a large cauldron for 24 hours is used in rice. In addition, special rice is used. In Kalkanoğlu, rice is still sold by kilo as on the first day.


Today's mobile pilaf is actually a tradition from the Ottoman period.

In the Ottoman period, pilaf was cooked with the juice of the head, and the heads that were boiled and fried adorned the pilaf tray. ( Lamb , ram head cooked in the oven by skinning the head ) Not only plain pilaf , but also pilaf with chickpeas was a popular taste in Ottoman streets.


Today, Rice Pilaf, which is prepared meticulously in traditional Rice Pilaf shops that sell only Pilaf, and in many districts, in mobile cars on the corner, is eaten by people with admiration as an extension of traditional culinary culture.





Although it took a long time to spread to the world, societies all over the world used rice in their kitchens. Rice produced with traditional farming methods and modern methods that has been passed down from generation to generation maintains its importance as a very important grain and food source for the whole world. When researched, we can come across many more ceremonies, stories and idioms about rice and pilaf, thousands of very special rice recipes, street delicacies and rituals in traditional culinary cultures.


Today , we know the importance of rice and similar grains and nutrients for humanity . We see how important it is in sustainable Eco-Gastronomy for the continuation of life.


When "pilaf" is mentioned in Turkey, the first thing that comes to mind is rice pilaf and it has always had a special status.



“Wherever and however you eat it, remember that rice has been grown with a lot of hard work and not a single grain of it should be wasted, or you may anger the rice goddess!”


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Kütükoğlu, Osmanlılarda Narh Müessesesi ve 1640 Tarihli Narh Defteri, Enderun Kitabevi, İstanbul, 1983, s.48, 51. Mübahat S. Kütükoğlu, 1983, s.92-93. Muhammed bin Mahmûd Şirvanî, 15. yüzyıl Osmanlı Mutfağı, Haz. Mustafa Argunşah-Müjgân Çakır, Gökkubbe, İstanbul, 2005, s.231 ve çeviriyazısı 70. Tarif Şirvani’nin metninde, san‘atı dane kabûniyye çeviri yazıdaysa kabuniye pilavı adıyla verilmiştir. Burada tarifin özgün metindeki halinin transkripsiyonu alıntılanmıştır. Şirvani’nin bu eseri 13. yüzyılda Bağdadi tarafından derlenmiş Arapça yemek kitabı olan Kitâbü’t Tabîh’teki tariflerin çevirisine orada yer almayan bazı tarifler de eklenerek yapılmış tercümesidir. Bağdadi’nin eserinin İngilizceden çevirisi için bk., Kitâbü’t TabîhAbbasi Bağdatından Yemekler, Tatlılar, Çeşniler, Çev. Nazlı Pişkin, Kitap Yayınevi, İstanbul, 2009. Marianna Yerasimos, 500 Yıllık Osmanlı Mutfağı, Boyut Yayın Grubu, Üçüncü Baskı, İstanbul, 2005, s.65.44. Muhammed bin Mahmûd Şirvanî, 2005, s.123. 45 A.g.e., s.237. Bağdadî’deki tarifte zîrbâc tarifinde ayrıca, damlasakızı, biber ve kişniş tohumu da vardır, krş. Kitâbü’t Tabîh Abbasi Bağdatından Yemekler, Tatlılar, Çeşniler, s.49.



Copyright images: Veyis Durdu.

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