Just about anywhere you travel in the Middle-east, the Mediterranean or the Indian sub-continent you will find a local variation of pilaf. In its simplest form it is rice, usually lightly sautéed then cooked in a flavored broth. As well it may include meat, vegetables and in some cases fruit. Already extant in Central Asia, pilaf was served to Alexander the Great in Samarkand. His followers brought the dish back to Greece and the Mediterranean. In later centuries Europeans would present the dish to the New World.
Local inhabitants would add to the recipe using foodstuffs from the local area and in many cases became the area’s signature version of pilaf. This version, a compilation of many styles really, is reminiscent of pilafs in the Indo-European corridor of Central Asia. A crossroads of commerce, there the saffron, cinnamon, pepper, cardamom and turmeric of the east met the cumin and pistachio nuts of the Mediterranean.