Rice Pilaf with Eggplant | Turkish Eats

This is a cherished summer time recipe in Turkey. It is also a unique recipe because it is served at room temperature with water melon.


  • 2 medium eggplants (2 inch diameter, 6-8 inches long)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 1.5 cups boiling water


  1. Cut the eggplants into small pieces (1/2 inch slices cut into 4 pieces), leave in cold water with plenty of salt (2 - 3 tablespoons) for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Chop the onion, set aside.
  3. Chop the tomato, set aside.
  4. Boil the water, set aside.
  5. Wash the eggplants in water, dry on paper towels, set aside.
  6. Measure the rice, put it in a strainer and wash it under plenty of running cold water until the water runs clear. By washing the rice, we are getting rid off the starch that makes the rice stick. Sticky rice is not favored in Turkish cooking, it can actually be a source of embarrassement for the cook.
  7. Lightly fry the eggplants in olive oil (the oil should be about 1/2"deep in the pan), set aside.
  8. Heat 1/3 cup olive oil (do not use the olive oil used to fry the egg plants).
  9. Sautee the chopped onions in olive oil for a few minutes.
  10. Add the chopped tomato and continue sauteeing for a few more minutes.
  11. Reduce the heat, add the rice and continue stirring for a few more minutes.
  12. Add 1.5 cups of boiling hot water, fried eggplant slices, salt and all spice into the pot.
  13. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes.
  14. Turn-off the heat and place a paper towel under the lid to seal the pan and absorb the excess moisture.
  15. Let the rice cool down to room temperature - do not open the lid.
  16. Serve at room temperature.
© Mehmet Ozturk 2017