Arabic rice with vermicelli is one of the most popular and complimentary of sides to many dishes. In Middle Eastern cuisine, often a carb like rice or bread is served alongside stews and meats. Honestly, it wasn’t until I was married that I learned how to cook rice properly. Making Arabic rice or really any rice, in general, was intimidating to me. Sometimes it would clump from adding too much cooking liquid or the grain would still be hard from not adding enough. Let me tell you though; it can be so easy to make! With just a handful of ingredients, you can have a delicious pot of Arabic rice with vermicelli that is sure to impress. I don’t make this often because quite frankly it is addictingly good!
What is Vermicelli in Arabic Rice?
It is not often that Arabic cuisine is just served with plain rice. Usually our rice dishes include spices, vegetables, or in this case vermicelli. Vermicelli is a yellow very thin form of rice noodles often cooked into rice or soups. It adds more dimension in flavor and texture to a dish and looks more appealing as well! You can find vermicelli in local grocery stores or even Middle Eastern markets.
Tips for a delicious Arabic Rice
Rinsing the rice a few times under water helps get rid of excess starch and therefore helps with the cooking process by not allowing for the grains to stick together as much.
It is important to know that depending on the type of rice being used then the amount of cooking liquid may vary. I always check the packaging instructions and recommend you do so as well! Not every rice cooks the same.
Toast the vermicelli noodles in oil or ghee before adding the rice to the pot. This enhances the flavor of the vermicelli and therefore the Arabic rice as well.
Don’t keep stirring and checking on the rice once it is covered. Just let it be for about 20 minutes until the cooking liquid is evaporated and the rice is cooked and fluffy.
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/4 cup Vermicelli Noodles
- 1 cup White Rice
- 2 cups Boiling water
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- Chopped parsley garnish
- 1/4 cup Toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts
- Rinse the rice several times under running water to remove excess starch then set aside.
- Add the olive oil to a pot along with the vermicelli. Let them get slightly toasted in the oil on medium heat for a few minutes stirring consistently until golden brown.
- Add the rice to the vermicelli along with the salt and the boiling water. Stir and let this come to a boil then reduce to lower heat, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes until liquid has evaporated. Fluff the rice with a fork gently. Top with toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts. You can even garnish with some chopped parsley and enjoy.