Middle eastern rice with noodles
So does it seem I am cooking a lot of rice recently? It’s probably true and I am not apologizing. Rice goes well with so many dishes and is relatively easy to cook. I have also been on a Middle Eastern “kick” in the kitchen and rice is an important part of this cuisine. I find the flavours of the foods I have tried to be robust and generous, much like the people that make up the middle eastern and mediterranean cultures.
One thing I can suggest about cooking rice in general is that it’s good to rinse and then soak it for while in plenty of cold water. The rice cooks better this way, with the grains more fluffy and distinct. Give it a try and see of you find a difference.
Most of the time I use long grain white basmati rice because I like the way it cooks. Sometimes I venture into whole grain rice and use brown rice but, hummm, dare I say I prefer the white?
Rice can be a base for many dishes, especially once it’s cooked. Cooked rice is the basis for a pilaf, meaning you sauté vegetables, add the cooked rice, herbs and spices and there you have it, a beautiful rice and vegetable dish. I use rice as a basis for vegetarian patties (or croquettes) for its biding effect, in rice salads and occasionally add it to soups. And of course it’s great with curries, dals, stir fries and more.
For this recipe use thin vermicelli noodles, or soup noodles. If they are long, break them into smaller pieces. To prepare, heat up olive oil in a skillet, add the noodles and cook, stirring, until they are golden. Add the rice and liquid and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. To serve, chop some parsley and toast a few pine nuts in a skillet and add to the rice.
I am working my way through a few cookbooks, some new, others have been on my shelves unattended for too long. I am in the mood for making things I haven’t made before so if you follow the blog expect some fun recipes in the next while. I am a creature of habit and one way to shake things up a bit is in the kitchen, so stay tuned.
1 cup long grain rice
1 1/2 cups (about) vermicelli noodles or other thin noodles broken into small strands
2 tablespoons oil
Salt and pepper
A handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
A handful pine nuts with 1 teaspoon olive oil
Rinse the rice well, then place in a bowl, cover with cold water and soak for a couple of hours. Drain well before proceeding.
Heat the olive oil in a deep straight sided skillet that has a lid.
Add the noodles and cook, stirring, until they turn golden, being careful not to burn them.
When the noodles are golden add the rice all at once, stirring and coating it with the oil.
Add the 2 cups water and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat to low, cover the skillet and cook until the rice is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Check to make sure there is enough liquid half way through.
Once cooked, remove from heat and let sit, covered for another 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Place olive oil and pine nuts in a skillet and heat over medium heat until the pine nuts begin to turn golden. Remove from heat and add to the rice.
Add chopped parsley, mix gently and serve warm.