According to the Sultan’s Kitchen’s cookbook by Ozcan Ozan, rice is used extensively in Turkish cuisine. Pilafs are those exotic rice dishes flavored with spices, nuts, and fruits-others, made with meat, fish, and vegetables, are known as Sultan Pilavi.

This Sultan Pilavi was prepared for the Sultans in the kitchen of the Topkapi Palace. Topkapi Palace is a palace in Istanbul, Turkey, which was the official and primary residence in the city of the Ottoman Sultans for approximately 400 years.

The dish is made by preparing a simple white rice pilaf (without any meat and vegetables) and served with eggplants and meatballs. Very easy and pretty quick to prepare and you have a complete meal :)


2 cups of peeled and diced eggplants (about 1 medium size eggplants)
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 medium tomatoes (2 cups), peeled, seeded and chopped
White Rice Pilaf (recipe below)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 slice day-old bread, crusts removed
1/2 pound ground lean lamb or beef
2 eggs
1 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 tsp Turkish red pepper or ground red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

White Rice Pilaf
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, washed, soaked and drained
2 1/2 cups hot chicken stock or water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Prepare the white rice pilaf by heating the butter in a heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Add the rice and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes, until the rice is coated with butter. Pour in the chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and cover the saucepan, and cook gently for about 15 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let the pilaf stand, covered, for 5 minutes; then stir the rice and serve

2. Prepare the eggplant by sprinkling it with salt, then cover it with cold water and set aside for 20 minutes

3. Soak the bread in cold water briefly and squeeze out the excess water. To make the meatball mixture, combine the meat, bread, eggs, cumin, parsley, and Turkish red pepper in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well for about 2 minutes. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for about 15 minutes

4. Shape the meat mixture into 24 small meatballs. Dust them with the flour. In a heavy, large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil over high heat and brown the meatball all over for about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cover the skillet, lower the heat, and cook gently for about 12 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let it stand

5. Drain and rinse the eggplant and pat it dry with paper towels. In a separate skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat and gently fry the diced eggplant until it’s brown all over

6. Stir the white rice pilaf and place it on individual warmed pates. Make a well in the center of each serving and divide the eggplant among the plates. Top with the meatballs, sprinkle with parsley, and serve at once

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