armenian rice / lebanese rice pilaf
[arishdaov printz / riz bish'ayriyyeh / ruz bish/irreeyeh / roz bil shariyah ?]
Not being an international culinary expert, it is hard to decide who gets the credit
for this dishthe Armenians or the Lebanese. In fact it appears to be a widespread
Middle Eastern staple with slight regional variations. The two tone mixture of browned
vermicelli noodles and white rice with optional scattered pine nuts makes it an attractive
[and tasty] addition to the dinner table.
Whatever its origin, this is a frequent starch component in the Middle Eastern /
Armenian diaspora dinner menu at the in-laws, and is an absolutely necessary complementary
dish to the red wine pot roast we inherited from them. We
always serve it with a couple of heaping tablespoons of some good quality plain yogurt on
the side of each serving portion to eat together as a kind of accompanying sauce. We like
doing this so much that we have transferred the yogurt serving practice to our Italian
risottos, to which even a few of our Italian guests responded approvingly.
||long grain rice
||vermicelli spaghetti-like egg noodles broken into small pieces
||optional pine nuts (variation of basic recipe)
||butter (can be substituted by oil or mixture)
|2 1/2 c
||veggie broth paste /cube (optional chicken broth substitute)
- Wash the rice by raking your fingers though it in a bowl (like raking leaves in the
fall) under running water (or rinse 2 to 3 times) until the water runs clear, to remove
the extra starch. A plastic rice cleaning bowl with a water escape grid on one side makes
this step easier. Drain and set aside.
- Heat butter in a deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the noodles (and optional pine
nuts) and stir to coat them. Cook about 7-10 minutes stirring constantly until golden
brown but not dark brown.
- Add rice and saute about a minute.
- Pour in water, salt, and veggie broth paste/cube and bring to a boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 20-30 minutes untl the water is completely
absorbed [and the rice is nicely softened].
- Turn off heat and let sit 10 minutes.
- Serve on a large serving platter.
- The optional pine nuts can also be browned before the noodles and set aside, then
sprinkled over the top of the rice on its serving plate for an attractive presentation.
- Cooked chick peas can also be added to make this dish more substantial.
- Isgouhi used to make this with twice as much butter (one American stick for 2 cups of
rice) before increasing American health conscious considerations modified her traditional
- The whole food awareness of the third millennium led to using faster
cooking brown rice in place of the long grain white rice, leading to a more
nutritious as well as tasty improvement on the original dish. Trader Joe's
has brown Jasmine rice and also brown Basmati rice, both of which work well
in this recipe.
- Illustrations available.