Almost Turkish Recipes

Leeks in Olive Oil (Zeytinyağlı Pırasa)

Pırasa is one of those vegetables that you either love it or hate it. The existence of both positive and negative references to leeks in Turkish culture proves how divided we are on the topic of pırasa as well as many other issues. My favorite saying related to leeks comes from Albanian Turks. When they are very full and cannot eat more, they say "I wouldn't eat, even if it is pırasa." It seems like the divide between the pro- and anti- leek people inspired Baba Zula, a popular Turkish band, to compose a song called pırasa. The lyrics of pırasa goes: "There are two different kinds of people in this world: those who love leek, and those who don't."

4 leeks, washed well and chopped in 1/3 inch rounds
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped in rounds or half moons
1/4 cup rice
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of half lemon
2/3 - 1 cup hot water
1 tsp sugar

-Heat olive oil in a pot and add onions, stir for 4 minutes
-Add carrots and stir for 3 more minutes
-Add sugar and stir for another minute
-Add leeks and stir for a couple of minutes
-Add water, sugar, and salt (black pepper and crushed pepper)
-when the water boils add rice and lemon juice
-Cover and cook on low heat until rice is cooked

Pırasa is best when it’s served cold with a little lemon juice on top.


  1. My mother used to make a similar dish adding sometimes cabbage too. I hated it as a kid and still don't like it now, but I love leeks, so I really can't explain it!

  2. Niiiice... One of the finest Turkish comfort-food dishes ever! Certainly better on day two. I find that if you increase the olive oil + onion, it can almost have a dip-like texture.. great for scooping up with pita..

  3. Oh, I love leeks and rice (gr. prassorizo)although I also hated as a kid. Sometimes I add some spearmint too.

  4. Anonymous5:18 AM

    Leeks are of the onion family. So cook without onions the next time and also, add the lemon juice just before you eat. You may want to try.

  5. I love zeytinyagli pirasa. Yours looks great! SO true about loving/hating it:) I LOVE it, he HATES it. So sadly I don't get to cook it too often in our house:( I have to convert him somehow:)

  6. Ouuu that nice onion flavour with rice, I know I'd enjoy this dish.

  7. This looks delicious. I love leeks, and I can't imagine anyone not liking them as well. I think once you try them you are 'hooked'. Yum.

  8. Anonymous6:36 AM

    just like i remember from istanbul! thanks for all your great recipes.

  9. this tastes exactly like my moms recipe! delicious:)

  10. Anonymous11:01 AM

    Just bought (one prasa from Sainsbury)
    I don't remember how I cooked itbut it seems you need meat to compliment it.Well,tough! I will just put a little oil& tomato puree,or some tinned tomato, stir it awhile then add the chunks of prasa & see it I can enjoy it.(oh it is for one person)
    I never heard of mixing onion or carrots with it.Nor rice in the recipe.
    And if I don't like the result ...into the bin it will go
    p/s Lemon is definitely should be

  11. Anonymous6:26 AM

    Hi, I was borned and raised in An kara. I love your site. Sema

  12. We love Prassa! Good thing I watched my mom make it a few times. Bamyas as well!