A staple in Middle Eastern cuisine, Lebanese Rice Pilaf is made with vermicelli noodles toasted in clarified (rendered) butter.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again. I could eat Lebanese food everyday for the rest of my life. Today I thought I’d share a classic recipe, and one that is eaten often in my household: Lebanese Rice Pilaf with Vermicelli. Extremely simple, but tasty and satisfying, it’s a great entry recipe into the world of Middle Eastern food.
- White rice: I like to use long-grain, enriched white rice as it cooks to by nice and fluffy and has a low starch content.
- Clarified butter: Also called ghee, it tastes like butter with with a slightly nutty flavor.
- Vermicelli: A thin noodle similar to spaghetti, it commonly is browned or toasted before being cooked, and pairs well with rice.
- Salt & pepper: Simple seasoning that is all you need for this simple dish.
- Parsley: Freshly minced parsley is the perfect finish for this pilaf, as it’s clean, and somewhat peppery in taste.
How to make Lebanese Rice Pilaf
Start your Lebanese Rice Pilaf by rinsing your rice. You want to remove as much of the starch as possible, and rinse till the water runs clear.
Next, you’ll melt the clarified butter in a large pan over medium high heat.
Then add the broken up pieces of vermicelli to the pan.
Cook the dry vermicelli until golden-brown, being careful not to let them burn.
Add the dried rice and stir in with the vermicelli, letting the rice toast for a couple minutes.
Season the rice and vermicelli with salt and pepper.
Then add hot water to the pan. Bring to a boil, stir once or twice, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Let cook for about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat, then fluff with a fork before serving garnished with fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy your Lebanese Rice Pilaf!
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the difference between rice and rice pilaf?
A pilaf usually just means the rice has been toasted in butter before cooking.
What kind of rice should I use for rice pilaf?
I like to use a long-grain white rice, but you could use whatever rice you have on hand, including brown rice.
How can I boost the flavor of this dish?
Cook the rice and vermicelli in chicken broth instead of water!
More Lebanese Recipes
- Lebanese Baked Fish with Tahini Sauce
- Classic Hummus with Toasted Pine Nuts
- Vegan Tomato Kibbeh
- Lebanese Potato Salad
Eat It, Like It, Share It!
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Enjoy it on it’s own as a simple lunch or snack, or share it with the family as a part of dinner, either way my Lebanese Rice Pilaf is sure to be a hit.
Your fork is waiting.
Lebanese Rice Pilaf With Vermicelli
- 1 ½ cups white rice (enriched parboiled long grain)
- ¼ cup clarified butter (homemade or store-bought ghee)
- ½ cup vermicelli pasta (broken in 2 inch pieces)
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- minced fresh parsley (optional garnish)
- Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly using your fingers to rub off as much starch as possible. You’ll know the rice is properly rinsed when the water comes out clear from the bottom. Set aside.
- In a large, deep pan heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the broken vermicelli pasta and brown, stirring frequently, until it is golden/dark brown. Be careful to not let burn – don't walk away from the pan. This takes about 4-5 minutes.
- Add rinsed rice to the pan and stir into the vermicelli and butter. Toast the rice for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Carefully pour boiling water into the pan and stir once. Add salt and pepper then stir again.
- Bring to a boil, stir once, then reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove pan from the heat and fluff rice with a fork before sprinkling with fresh parsley to serve.