Vermicelli rice, in my book, is the perfect side dish to pair with a saucy and rich beef stew or braise (check onion-beef braise recipe ). My grandma never cooked a pot of rice without vermicelli. It is not necessarily the lightest carb side dish, but it is a treat every once in a while.
What makes it so special is the playful texture, and the subtle flavor of toasted vermicelli that complements the plainer carb. Traditionally, vermicelli rice is made with short grain rice, but I prefer basmati, or long grain rice as both have less starch and cook faster.
Cooking the rice in low-sodium chicken, beef or vegetable broth takes the dish to the next level. Adding few bays leaves to the cooking liquid, leaves an appreciated refreshing taste.
The clear instructions of Ottolenghi in his “basmati rice and orzo” recipe in “Jerusalem” book, helped me improving this recipe to perfection.
This dish freezes well, which makes it a handy make-ahead side dish. Additionally, its leftovers never go to waste. Mix leftovers with either/or steamed vegetables, pieces of chicken or meat strips to turn it into a main dish.
Vermicelli Rice Recipe
- 2 cups of rice (long grain or basmati)
- 1/2 cup vermicelli
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 to 4 cups broth (chicken, meat or vegetables
- Salt and pepper (preferably while pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- Rinse the rice under running water until water runs clear.
- Melt the butter and oil in a dutch oven or a heavy bottom pot.
- Toast the vermicelli in the oil-butter mixture until it gets golden brown. Don’t walk away as vermicelli burns fast.
- Add the rice, stir it in the pan until it is coated with oil.
- Add the broth, bay leaves, pepper and let it simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, covered. Don’t uncover it so it steams properly.
- Turn off the heat, remove the lid and cover the pan with a clean tea towel. Place the lid back on the top of the pan and leave it for 10 minutes.
- Fluff the rice with fork.
- Decorate the dish with fresh parsley leaves, lemon slices and/or toasted nuts.
- Serve it hot.