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How to make individual rice pilaf pies that are tasty, elegant, and very easy to prepare. These also make a perfect light meal, accompanied by a salad or yogurt.

Seafood Rice Pilaf

Did you hear about Ouzi?
No!
Not a problem then, I will help you.
It is a term you’ll never hear it except in middle eastern cuisine. This might be called for the mixer of rice, vegetable, and ground meat pilaf, or sometimes for the phyllo pocket or pies that filled with rice pilaf. The traditional recipe using the ground lamb or beef. In this recipe, I tried to go over and change a little by substituting the shrimp and crab instead, you can also prepare it with chicken or turkey too.

Seafood Rice Pilaf Phyllo Pockets

Usually rice dishes considered as a side dish, but this one is a whole main dish. My family enjoy it with some chopped fresh salad or yogurt on the side.

I love the ease on this dish, either when preparing or serving, never the less to say about the healthy side. You can make the rice a head of time, you just need to assemble the phyllo pies and bake them a little before serving to better enjoy the crunchy fresh phyllo. Some said it’s ok to put it in the fridge after baking then bake it again before serving but I never tried that.
For extra flavor, I added some chopped fresh dill with the rice pilaf, it goes well with the seafood dishes.

Variations:

- Traditionally, using short grain rice to make the pies, but works good too with long rice grain like basmatti rice.

- You can use vegetables any of your choice or favorite. Usually with this pies, carrots and peas with pine nuts or almond are widely preferred, I added also some chopped bill pepper to add value and color too.

- Use any kind of meat you like, I used fresh large shrimp and king crab legs. The traditional Ouzi pies prepared with ground meat, beef or lamp. Chicken also makes a good choice.

- The pies can be prepared using puff pastry too.

- If you want the pilaf alone but not to bother with the pastry crust, press the pilaf in a ring or dome-shaped mold and heat it through in the oven, turn it out and surround it with the meat and vegetables.

Seafood Rice Pilaf

To make Seafood Rice Pilaf:

2 cups white basmatti rice, washed
1 cube chicken bouillon broth
1 lb fresh shrimp, any size available
1/2 lb chopped fresh crab legs
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup peas
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
Salt and pepper
Olive oil & sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon ground of each: all spice, cardamom, coriander
1 cube frozen chopped dill greens

In a large pot, add 2 tablespoon sunflower oil, add the washed rice, season with salt and cardamom, toast a little on medium heat for 1-2 min, stir occasionally. Add water (for every cup of rice you need 1 1/4 cup water or stock, notice that this will vary from brand to brand so read the directions). Let the water boil, cover and simmer on low heat until all the water absorbed and the rice cooked evenly, about 10-15 min, fluff the rice with fork and put a side covered.

Meanwhile, in saute pan, add some olive oil, cleaned and chopped shrimp (you have the choice to use any size, if it large chop into smaller pieces). Clean the crab legs, take out the meat, chop into smaller pieces, add it with minced garlic to the pan, season with salt and pepper, add the other spices, stir and cook all together on medium heat for 5-10 min. Leave it a side.

In a pot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, sauté the carrots and peas then add chopped red pepper and cook for 5-10 min on medium heat, you may add a couple of tablespoon of water to help the veggies cook without burning.

Add together, the rice, the shrimp and crab, the peas and carrots. for extra flavor add some frozen dill leaves. Stir gently all together and be careful not to break the rice grains.

Seafood Rice Pilaf Phyllo Pockets

To make the individual pies:

1 package frozen phyllo pastry
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon sunflower oil

Assemble the pies not too long before the serving. Roll out the phyllo pastry, follow the directions on how to thaw and handle. Cut into squares about 6-7 inches, it depends on how big or small you prefers the pies. Take two sheets, brush with a mixer of butter and oil, take another two and brush with butter and oil too, overlap each ones’ angle, use a small bowl dish as a mold to assemble your pies, fill with the rice pilaf mixer. Fold the edges of phyllo over the rice to close the pies. Arrange the pies into oven baking sheet, brush the top with oil butter mixer, bake 5-10 min on 400 degree.

Seafood Rice Pilaf Phyllo Pockets

Seafood Rice Pilaf Phyllo Pockets

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