Balli Mahmudiye with Saffron rice Pilaf

Balli Mahmudiye with Saffron rice Pilaf

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READY IN 40 mins
PREP TIME 10 mins
COOK TIME 30 mins

Most of you know how I love incorporating fruits in my cooking. When I came across this recipe I just couldn’t hold back. This flavorful Turkish recipe dates back to the Ottoman Empire that flourished in the 15th century. It reflects the classic sweet, sour and spicy notes that highlight the rich Ottoman cuisine. It is one of the fruit- nut rich dishes that was served at the feast of Shehzade Jehangir and Beyazid in 1539. And so this was one of the dishes I stirred up at the reality tv show Foodshala season-11, when the topic given was ”Things that used to be”, where we were to cook an ancient recipe. And Balli Mahmudiye fit the bill perfectly. I have paired it alongside a fragrant Saffron rice that speaks everything rich and merry. The sweetness from the apricots, sourness from lemon juice and crunch from the nuts play a balanced harmony on your tastebuds, that you will end up asking for more! I have made some tweaks to stir it up real quick. Here we go.


  • For the Mahmudiyye
  • Boneless chicken- (strips or cubes)- 500gms
  • Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp (optional)
  • Almond slivers 3-4 tbsp
  • Dried apricot- 5-6 (soak in warm water)
  • Dried raisins- 2-3 tbsp (soak in warm water)
  • Olive oil- 2 tbsp
  • Butter- 2 tbsp
  • Onion- Roughly chopped- 1
  • Salt- 1/2 tsp (or as per taste)
  • Black pepper powder- 1 tsp (or as per taste)
  • Cinnamon powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • Honey- 1 tbsp
  • Pine nuts- 1-2 tbsp
  • Chicken stock- 1/4 -1/2 cup (or water)
  • Pistachios- roughly crushed for garnish
  • Pomegranate kernels- for garnish
  • Saffron rice pilaf
  • Basmati rice- 1 cup
  • Butter- 2 tbsp
  • Cooking oil- 1 tbsp
  • Chicken stock- 2 cups
  • Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
  • Onion(chopped)- 1
  • Tomato (chopped)- 1
  • Saffron- 2 pinches
  • Saffron essence (optional) -1/2 tsp
  • Rose water- 1 tsp
  • Black pepper- 1/2 tsp
  • Salt -to taste


  • For the Mahmudiye
  • 1In a bowl, mix the chicken and ginger garlic paste and keep aside.
  • 2In a pot heat Butter along with olive oil. Add chopped onion and saute until lightly golden.
  • 3To this add the slivered almonds and saute them till slightly toasted.
  • 4Add the chicken to the sauteed onion-almond mix. Stir well. Add the black pepper and cook till the chicken is almost done.
  • 5To this add roughly chopped apricots. Add the raisins, salt, cinnamon and lemon juice.
  • 6Add salt to taste. If the chicken dries out, add the chicken stock or some more butter to achieve desired consistency.
  • 7Finally, add the honey and stir. Serve topped with pine nuts, pistachios and pomegranate kernels as garnish.Enjoy!
  • Saffron rice Pilaf
  • 1Soak the rice in warm water with some salt for about 30 mins.
  • 2Take a pot, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the chopped onion and saute till light golden.
  • 3Add to this turmeric, and salt along with the chopped tomato and saute till nice and soft.
  • 4Now drain the rice and add it to the onion-tomato mix. Saute it for 4-5 mins.
  • 5Now add the chicken stock to the rice. Allow it to cook in low heat for about 10 mins with the lid on, or until the water is absorbed.
  • 6Check on the rice whether cooked and turn off the heat. Keep the rice covered for about 10-15 mins.
  • 7Serve hot with Mahmudiyye. Enjoy!
  • Notes: Serving suggestion- I have filled a plain round bundt tin with the hot cooked rice. Press it gently into the tin. Place your serving plate inverted on the tin and invert it out on the serving plate. The middle cavity of the bundt tin is filled with the Mahmudiyye. True feast to the eyes and the tongue!