Aubergine and veal layered pilaf

Aubergine and veal layered pilaf

Patlıcanlı pilav

Eat Istanbul
David Loftus

This is a brilliant way to make an all-in-one meal, where you line a cake tin with aubergine slices and fill it with an aromatic mix of meat stew and rice. It can be cooked in a bain marie on the cooker or baked in the oven. Either way, when you unmould it at the table, it’s bound to impress. Use lamb or beef if you prefer.


Quantity Ingredient
700g aubergines, thinly sliced lengthways
2 ripe, medium tomatoes
or 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
200ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1kg veal, cut into 3-cm cubes
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, including stems
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon turkish red pepper paste
1 tablespoon concentrated tomato puree
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
300g long-grain white rice, washed
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Quantity Ingredient
deep, 20-cm or 2-litre capacity round metal cake tin or mould, lightly greased with olive oil


  1. Soak the aubergine slices in a bowl of salted cold water for 30 minutes. If using fresh tomatoes, use a box grater to coarsely grate them into a bowl. Heat one-quarter of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the veal, stirring occasionally, for about 5–7 minutes until beginning to brown. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, dried oregano, cumin and allspice to the saucepan and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion has softened. Put the veal back in the pan, season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir the mixture well. Add the grated tomatoes, red pepper paste, tomato purée, vinegar, pomegranate molasses and about 250ml warm water or enough to just cover the stew. Stir well, lower the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 1–1½ hours, stirring occasionally, or until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened. Meanwhile, parboil the rice in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water for 10 minutes, then drain it well in a colander and transfer it to a bowl. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
  3. Drain the aubergines on kitchen paper. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sauté the aubergine slices, in batches if necessary, until golden brown. Drain them on kitchen paper. Line the inside of the prepared cake tin or mould with aubergine slices, making sure that they overlap and pressing them into the sides of the tin. They should come up all the way to the top of the tin and overhang enough so that they can be folded over the filling later. Transfer the veal with a slotted spoon to the lined tin, pressing it down with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  4. Heat the sauce left in the pan over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until it begins to reduce. Add the rice to the sauce, mix it well, then spoon it on top of the veal, pushing it down. Bring the overhanging aubergine slices over the filling, press them down tightly and place some baking paper or aluminium foil over the top. Transfer the cake tin to a deep roasting tin and pour enough water into the roasting tin to come halfway up the sides of the cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 45–60 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer the cake tin to a rack or board and leave it to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. To serve, gently peel off the paper or foil and run a long, sharp knife around the inside edges of the tin to make the pilaf easier to remove. Place a serving plate over the top and carefully invert the container onto the plate. Shake the tin slightly and the pilaf should come out immediately. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Use a sharp knife to cut the pilaf into wedges and transfer to plates with a cake slice. Eat immediately.
Turkish food
Middle Eastern
Andy Harris
David Loftus
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