Pilaf with vermicelli, chickpeas and pistachios

Silvena Rowe takes inspiration from Turkish street food for this colourful and nutritious side dish
Pilaf with vermicelli, chickpeas and pistachios
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes plus 15 min steaming
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 80 g vermicelli
  • 3 tbsp dried berries, such as blueberries and/or cranberries
  • 100 g cooked chickpeas
  • 80 g dried apricots, chopped
  • 300 g baldo or basmati rice
  • 400 ml vegetable stock
  • 80 g shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ bunch mint, chopped
  • ½ bunch coriander, chopped
  • ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Tips and Suggestions

This dish can be found in the markets of Istanbul, sold as a hot lunch, often topped with freshly boiled chicken breast.


1. In a medium saucepan, sauté the shallots in olive oil for 2 minutes over a moderate heat. Add the vermicelli and, stirring continuously, cook until golden, keeping a sharp eye on it because the colour changes quickly.

2. Add the dried berries, then the chickpeas, apricots and rice. Stir well to ensure the rice is coated with the oil.

3. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and add some salt and pepper. Cover and cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes, without stirring.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Lay a cloth between the lid and pan so that the pan is tightly covered and leave the pilaf to steam for 15 minutes off the heat.

5. Once the rice is fully cooked, add the pistachios and chopped herbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

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