Egyptian Rice and Vermicelli
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This recipe for Egyptian rice is remarkably easy to make and insanely versatile. This humble side dish requires only a handful of simple ingredients and less than 30 minutes of your time. Gently toasted vermicelli, sauteed short-grain rice, olive oil, and kosher salt come together to form a simple, elegant masterpiece I’m certain you’ll love!
Just about every culinary tradition along the Silk Road has its own spin on rice. From Persian Saffron Rice with Apricot and Mediterranean Rice Pilaf to Hibachi Fried Rice and Sizzling Rice Soup, the influence of this staple food reaches far and wide. Furthermore, did you know that there are over 120,000 classified varieties of rice in the world!? Talk about variety!
Today’s recipe is a simple classic rice recipe from the world of Middle Eastern Cuisine and might just introduce you to a new variety of rice. If you have never cooked this type of rice before, don’t worry. Egyptian rice cooks much differently than long-grain rice such as basmati, but it is just as easy.
I also like how customizable this recipe is. If you feel like spicing it up a bit, bust out any of your favorite mixes from my Spice Blends Archives and go nuts!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Olive Oil – A high-quality olive oil accentuates the natural flavors of the dish with a delicate and fragrant nuttiness.
- Vermicelli – This is a super thin, Italian wheat pasta. It comes either broken up into small pieces or is often packaged as a coil. Check with the other pasta in the supermarket or, if needed, check the international aisle. Thin spaghetti broken into pieces works as a substitute, too.
- Short-Grain Rice – In general, short-grain rice is shorter, starchier, and stickier than long-grain rice, and the cooking methods are quite different. Egyptian, Arborio, or Baldo rice varieties will work. I personally like the Calrose brand.
- Salt – Just a dash of kosher salt is all it takes to bring the subtly sweet and nutty flavors of the rice and vermicelli to life.
HOW TO MAKE EGYPTIAN RICE WITH VERMICELLI
- Cook the Vermicelli. Use a medium saucepan to heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the vermicelli and cook until it turns a light golden brown. Be sure to stir the vermicelli constantly to prevent it from burning.
- Stir in the Rice. Reduce the heat to low and add the rice and salt. Mix well to coat the rice with oil and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often. You will see the color of the rice change from clear to white.
- Add Water. Stir in the hot water and cover the pan. Cook on low for 15 minutes.
- Remove from Heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside. Keep it covered for an additional 5 minutes.
- Fluff and Serve. Remove the lid and gently fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Do I Need to Soak Egyptian Rice Before Cooking?
For the fluffiest results, be sure to at least give your rice a thorough rinse before cooking. Put the rice in a colander and rinse with cold water until the water turns from cloudy to clear.
Soaking is not required for this recipe but, if desired, you can soak the grains for about 20 minutes. If you choose to do this, rinse thoroughly and drain well before adding to the pan.
Keep in mind that other rice varieties may have different soaking and cooking times. If you make any substitutes, be sure to check out the specifications. To read how to cook all different rices, grains and beans, check out the information detailing each on my Kitchen Basics page.
What to Serve With Egyptian Rice with Vermicelli
Egyptian rice with vermicelli is wonderfully versatile. You can enjoy this deliciously humble dish with just about anything you can dream up. Here are a few of my favorite ideas to help you narrow it down and get you inspired.
- Enjoy Egyptian rice with your favorite chicken dishes such as Grilled Saffron Chicken, Chicken Koobideh, or this Baharat Spiced Chicken Kofta.
- Pair it with beef and lamb dishes like Beef and Lamb Koobideh Kabob or Lamb Shawarma (Shredded).
- This rice dish works great with fish dishes too like Palestinian Fish Kofta Meatballs or any other seafood recipes.
- Serve a steaming pile of this rice along with traditional stew like this Spiced Eggplant Stew or Moroccan Chicken Stew.
- For a vegetarian meal, pair Egyptian rice with a batch of my Master Falafel Recipe and some White Bean Hummus. Be sure to see my recipe for Egyptian Pea Stew (Basilla wa Roz) to serve on this rice, it’s coming out next week!
How to Store Leftover Egyptian Rice
Store any leftover Egyptian rice in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for 2-3 days.
If you don’t think you will eat your leftovers in that time span, freezing is an option but should be done right away. Don’t wait until 3 days have passed and then decide to freeze your rice, as this might not be safe. Rather, spread the rice out to be frozen on a baking sheet and cool it completely in the fridge. Immediately transfer the cooled rice to freezer bags to store in the freezer for up to a month.
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Egyptian Rice with Vermicelli
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup vermicelli 1/2″ length
- 1 cup short grain white rice (I use Calrose)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 3/4 cup hot water
- Heat the oil in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add vermicelli, stirring constantly cook vermicelli until golden brown (do not burn).
- Turn heat to low and add the rice and salt, stirring to coat with oil. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Rice will go from clear to white in color.
- Add hot water. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and leave covered for about 5 more minutes. Fluff rice with fork.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Hi there, the rice portion of this recipe did not fully cook, what did i do wrong? Although the vermicelli was fine. It seemed it cooked faster as a matter of a fact. Thx
Not sure Sel, after a 3 minute toast in the oil, then 15 minute steam and 5 minute rest there should be no problem. How old is the rice? Was the lid on properly to keep the steam in? BTW, you must have been up early as this just posted a few hours ago!
yes, i take care of my 100 yr old mother, and that said early works best for such a long day ahead. But about the rice, i would have not thought about the age of it, however the noodles cook quick and the rice had a sort of a raw taste. I will try again, perhaps it was too early and i was in a hurry. thanks for your comment.
Greetings Sel Runn!
My recipe is slightly different and it’s been passed down from my Great-GrandMother…
To cut down time on browning noodles, break noodles into small pieces and spread them out on to a cookie sheet.
Roast in oven at 350 for 5 to 7 minutes, or to the color you desire. Be close to by to oven otherwise noodles, especially the really thin Vermicelli will burn.
Store in a airtight jar until you are ready to use.
For oils you have options: grape 🍇 seed oil, I personally use often or unsalted butter 🧈
Two Tablespoons of oil
1/4 cup roasted noodles
One cup of rice 🍚
Two cups of cold water or chicken broth.
* Liquid must be cold or room at temperature.
Salt to taste.
Give rice quick rinse and set aside.
1. Melt butter or if using oil to heat up use medium strength for burner.
2. Add 1/4 cup roasted noodles and rice give a stir to coat dry ingredients.
3. Take pot off burner, add water and salt. Give a good stir and put pot back on burner. It’s important to keep pot on a steady medium heat to bring all ingredients to a full boil. Big bubbles will surface to top of pot & liquid will be absorbed by rice. Give one stir to even out rice in pot.
4. Bring down heat to simmer and cover the pot with lid tightly.
5. Steam half hour. Use timer ⏱️ Open lid, your rice should be fully cooked & evenly.
6. Shut down burn. With wooden spoon stir from bottom of pot the rice to the top.
7. Let rice rest a 5 minutes before serving.
If you are serving rice later, place a sheet of paper towel on top of pot and place lid back on.
Bon appétit to you and your Mom♥️
Parev….(greetings in Armenian) Kevin Jan!
This is the rice I grew up on. My Mom served it every Sunday. Traditionally Armenian Pilaf is prepared with butter, chicken broth with perfectly roasted vermicelli. Yes indeed the number one favorite for young and old…. if she had any left overs, Mom would add the pilaf to roasted chicken & veggie soup to serve the following day.
Parev to you as well! Thanks for stopping by and sharing this. 🙂