Fig Leaf Rice Pilaf

The figs aren't the only prize growing on your fig tree. Try using the leaves to add flavor to rice.
Bow of Rice and Fig Leaf

Fig Leaf Rice Pilaf

Fig leaves add a fruity and nutty flavor to food.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Fig leaves add a fruity and nutty flavor to food.

The fig tree is most noted for its fruit. The only other thing most people know about the fig tree is that it was used as a privacy screen for Adam and Eve. However, it has another flavorful secret...delicious leaves. Yes, the leaves. Pick one and notice the thick, milky sap that seeps out. Give it a whiff. It imparts a fruity smell similar to a coconut. Pair that aroma with sweet and savory dishes, and you have a new way to add great flavor to food.

Fig leaves are commercially sold for tea. Fig leaf tea has been said to contain special health benefits. Some have claimed that it can help control blood sugar, thus making it a favorite holistic alternative for diabetics.

The fig is a member of the mulberry family. The fruit of the fig is eaten fresh or dried. There are numerous cakes, cookies, breads and stuffing type dishes featuring figs. What about the leaves? In some parts of the world, fig leaves are steamed or boiled and used as a wrap for rice. If you are not keen on eating a fig leaf, try using it as an aromatic. When steamed on top of vegetables, rice or fish, the dish will take on a delicate nutty and fruity flavor. It’s a great way to flavor up a recipe without much effort.

Fig Leaf Rice Pilaf

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 fresh fig leaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Melt butter and olive oil in a large oven proof saucepan over medium heat.

Add onion; cook and stir until onion is lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes.

Add the 2 cups of rice to the pan.

Mix in the rice with the oil and onion mixture.

Add the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Turn off the burner and add the fig leaf to the top of the rice.

Put a lid onto the pot and place in it in the preheated oven.

Bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to rest, covered, for 10 minutes.

Remove lid, discard the fig leaf and fluff with a fork to separate the grains of rice.

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