Today we’ll learn more about pilaf, a rice dish that is both storied and delicious.
The term pilaf, or pilau, is used to talk about a cooking method and the resulting dish. As a cooking method, it involves sauteing onion in butter or oil, adding uncooked rice, and then cooking it all in a broth, usually with chicken or fish, until all the water has been absorbed.
As a dish, the word pilaf is most often used to refer to rice prepared according to the method described above, although you can also make wheat pilaf.
Where Does Pilaf Come From?
Experts believe that pilaf was created either in India or Iran. Thanks to the Arab conquests during the Abassid dynasty (750 CE-1258 CE), the dish gained popularity across a vast territory that stretched from India to Spain. This explains why some consider Spanish paella, another iconic rice dish, a variation of pilaf.
The word “pilaf” itself entered the English language 19th century from Turkish, which in turn had adopted it from the Persians.
Pilaf vs. Risotto: What Is the Difference?
Italian risotto is the only rice dish that rivals the popularity of pilaf and paella, so it’s natural to draw comparisons among them.
The key difference is that risotto has a creamy consistency while pilaf is relatively dry.
This happens because an important part of the preparation of pilaf is to ensure that the rice absorbs all the water during the cooking process.
Obviously, there are also historical differences. While pilaf comes from the Middle East or India (see above for more information on that topic), risotto is a quintessential Italian specialty.
Learn More About Iconic Dishes From Around the World
Hungry for more food facts? At Chef Gourmet we know good food, and we love sharing that knowledge with you. These are some previous posts you may find interesting:
- What is red cargo rice?
- What is edamame and what are its health benefits?
- How to make marinara sauce: 3 delicious tips
- How chicken became a global food
- Why is it important to eat vegetables?
- Soba Noodles: Everything You Need to Know
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