Patlicani (aubergine) pilau

So yes there’s a definite theme to my cooking still. Turkish food is dominating! Although truth be told there’s not a whole lot of cooking going on at all here at the moment. What with mega work deadlines and sunshine, the last thing I’ve been thinking of is slaving over a stove. But tonight I missed it and thought I’d treat Scott to one of his favourite dinnertime combos – aubergines and rice (with his favourite dill) all smushed up in a Turkish pilau. It was truly delicious, but I can’t take the credit because I used Claudia Roden’s recipe from Arabesque, a not-new book that’s new to me (a purchase inspired by this rather wonderful looking Gather & Graze recipe). All I did to alter it was add chickpeas (I had some leftover, but they worked nicely) and an accompaniment of my standard tahini-yoghurt-lemon-garlic sauce. I’d definitely advise serving with a sharp sauce like this if you’re eating this dish as a main.



You will need:

3 medium aubergines, chopped into rough cubes
1 red onion, chopped
3 tbspns pine nuts
100g cooked chickpeas (optional)
2 tbspns sultanas
200g white long grain rice, well rinsed and drained
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1.5 tspn sugar
350ml water (I used the leftover water in which I peeled the tomatoes)
1 tspn cinnamon
1/2 tspn allspice
4 tbspns chopped dill
At least 8 tbspns olive oil


  1. Preheat your oven to the highest setting. Place the aubergine in a baking tray and season well with salt and pour over a generous 2-3tbspns olive oil. Roast for 25 minutes until golden, turning occasionally, adding more oil as needed.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbpns olive oil in a deep saucepan and add the onion. Cook until lightly golden, then add the pine nuts. Continue to cook until the nuts turn golden, the stir in the rice.
  3. Stir the rice well to coat with oil then add the tomatoes and sugar. Simmer for a few minutes before stirring in the sultanas, chickpeas if using and spices. Season well the pour over the water.
  4. Cover the pan with a lid and leave to simmer for around 10 minutes until the rice is cooked. You may want to remove the lid a few minutes before cooking to allow the liquid to evaporate.
  5. Stir the browned, cooked aubergine into the cooked rice and then stir in the dill, then 4 tbspns of olive oil.
  6. Tip into a serving bowl and leave to cool before serving either warm or at room temperature with a sharp and creamy tahini sauce.




10 thoughts on “Patlicani (aubergine) pilau

    1. Thank you, yes it really was indeed. Sometimes surprising how much of an intense, fragrant flavour you can get using only a couple spices. I’m only just starting to really get my head around Turkish cuisine, but I’m having a lot of fun (and delicious meals) learning! :-)

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