I mention serving some Lebanese stews with vermicelli rice but did not have the chance to post the recipe yet. Here it is! :)
Sometimes a big bowl of vermicelli rice with a generous dollop of yogurt is the best comfort food you will ever have. It is the basic, most satisfying spoonful of love.
Every excuse is a good opportunity to make some “riz wou laban”; rice with yogurt. We would have it when mom did not have time to prepare anything elaborate for the day, when we were sick, when we were in a hurry, when we had leftover rice and the rest of the fridge content was uninspiring, or now that we are all grown up, when we simply crave the simplicity of rice and yogurt.
I have a fond memory of my best friend’s father serving his rice & yogurt with a few toasted pine nuts, a lovely combination in my opinion. You can also sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds if you have some on hand.
Bon appetit! Or as we say in Lebanese: “Shatein!”
Recipe credits: Rafaella Sargi
Serves 4 to 6
2/3 cup vermicelli
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups medium rice*
4 cups water
1 teaspoon sea salt
For serving (optional): Plain Yogurt, Toasted pine nuts or Toasted sesame seeds.
Prep all the ingredients.
You need a medium pot with a lid and a wooden spoon.
Place the vermicelli and vegetable oil in a medium pot over high heat (the highest marker). Mix with a wooden spoon continuously so all the vermicelli is coated and starts to brown. Do not stop mixing otherwise, one part of the vermicelli will burn and the other will stay white / uncooked (and don’t forget the ones stuck in the side the pot, get them back in the game!). When all the vermicelli is evenly dark brown, add the rice and mix well. Add the water and salt then mix again. Wait for the water to come to a boiling point then lower the heat to the lowest marker. Mix one last time and cover. Let it cook slowly until al the water has been absorbed, approx. 15 to 20 minutes (it really depends on the type of rice you are using). Turn the heat off. Let the pot stand uncovered for 15 minutes.
Serve with a generous dollop of yogurt or next to your favorite stew…
*note 1: I usually don’t rinse the rice, but it depends on the brand, the rice type etc… My husband likes it just a little bit sticky. Keep in mind two important factors: if you are not using vermicelli and just cooking plain rice you would need less water than mentioned in this particular recipe. The pot you are using let the water evaporate at a certain ratio… every pot is different. Adjust the rice/water ratio to your liking :)
note 2: If you plan on making more than two cups of rice, do not double the amount of water! Here is a very helpful video on rice and cooking liquid. It made me understand why my 4 rice-cup recipes attempts were sometimes mushy!