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Rice Pilaf (Rizi Pilafi)

Rice Pilaf (Rizi Pilafi)

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Rice Pilaf (Rizi Pilafi or Ryzi Pilafi), from the Greek word “ὄρυζα” (oryza), is one of the easiest side dishes, made with long grain yellow rice (bonnet) and stock.  

Rice pilaf with beef image


The Greek word is the source of all European words (cf. Welsh reis, German Reis, Lithuanian ryžiai, Serbo-Croatian riža, Polish ryż, Dutch rijst, Hungarian rizs, Romanian orez).  

During the 13th century the word “rice” is first used in English which derives from the Old French ris, which comes from Italian riso, in turn from the Latin oriza, which derives from the Greek ὄρυζα (oryza).

Pilaf, has its origin from the Persian pilau also called polao, pilav, pilaff, plov or pulao in other languages.


One of the earliest literary references to pilau can be found in the histories of Alexander the Great when describing Bactrian hospitality.  

Bactria was an eastern Persian (Iranian) province, which was the birthplace of Alexander’s wife Roxana and geographically located in modern Afghanistan.

Rice was introduced to Greece (where it is still cultivated in Macedonia and Thrace), by the army of Alexander the Great who brought it back with them when returning from Bactria to Macedonia.

Rice is also described by Theophrastus  ( 371 – 287 b.C..), in his Enquiry into Plants.  

Dioskourides and Galinos knew about the medicinal properties of rice and until today rice soups and desserts such as ryzogalo (rice pudding) are good for the stomach.

Rice pilaf with curry image

How to prepare the Pilaf

Pice Pilaf is a great side dish to any meat dish with a red or white sauces.

The variety of rice used is a long-grained rice called bonnet, although its name in Greek is “kitrino ryzi”, which means yellow rice.

The ratio of rice to water (or broth) is 1 : 2. However, you will have to stay close and watch it as it might burn if you cook it a little longer.

It takes about 10 – 20 minutes to cook, depending on how long the rice has been parboiled. (The time is shown on the package).

For this reason, I prefer to add more water and when the time comes to drain the excess water.

If you like, you can add a tablespoon olive oil in the boiling water but it you want to shape it in a mold, don’t add the olive oil and add some butter instead.

The butter holds the rice together and it doesn’t fall apart.

For a more colourful rice, cook some vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, peppers etc.,) and mix them in the rice pilaf.

Herbed rice pilaf image

Finely chopped parsley goes well with the rice and adds a touch of freshness. You can also use other herbs, such as chervil, Mediterranean Hartwort, dill, chives etc.

For a more festive look, you can add some pomegranate seeds in the rice.

rice pilaf with pomegrnate and chicken image

You can also make an omelette and finely chop it into small pieces and mix it in the rice with some parsley.

How much raw rice do I need to make one portion rice pilaf?

When it comes to making rice pilaf, there are many things you have to take into consideration, such as age, sex, weight, etc.

For a normal adult man or teenage boys, I suggest about ½ cup (90g) per person.

For an adult woman or a teenage girl, use a bit less – about 1/3 cup (60g).

For children, again use a bit less, about 1/4 cup (50 grams) per child.

And remember we are talking about uncooked parboiled rice here, which means that when cooked it usually doubles in volume.

rice pilaf with pomegrnate and chicken image

Rice Pilaf (Rizi Pilafi)

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Rice Pilaf (Rizi Pilafi), is one of the easiest side dishes, made with long grain white rice and stock. It takes about 20 minutes to cook and it a great side dish to any meat dish with a red or white sauce.


  • 2 cups of bonnet rice (American type, parboiled)
  • 4 cups of chicken stock or water with chicken bouillon
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)

Optional ingredients:

  • Finely chopped parsley (optional)
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • Corn
  • peas
  • Carrots, cubed to the size of the peas


  1. Bring the chicken stock or water with bouillon to boil and add salt.
  2. Add the rice, lower heat and cook for about 10 - 20 minutes (according to package instructions).
  3. Remove from the heat and mix in the butter or margarine.
  4. For extra taste, mix in some finely chopped parsley or pomegranate seeds.
  5. If you want to add vegetables to your rice, boil the vegetables in salted water, until soft.
  6. Drain and mix them in the rice


For this amount of rice, 1 cup of vegetables is enough.

Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 144Total Fat 4gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 10mgSodium 423mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 0gSugar 3gProtein 6g

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Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

Collage Classic Rice Pilaf image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

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