A recipe for a simple, deliciously buttery middle eastern vermicelli rice dish made with toasted vermicelli pasta bits and white rice. A fantastic way to switch up the type of rice side you serve up!
I'm going to be quite honest here, rice is usually very boring to me, so when I tried vermicelli rice at a friends house for the first time a few years ago - I was literally blown away with the types of flavours that a simple dish like that could have.
I know it's just rice right? There can't be that much flavour right? But there is. There are a few layers of flavours going on in this simple vermicelli rice dish that makes it very nutty and buttery without the use of a lot of added ingredients. The vermicelli pasta is toasted in butter which brings out a nice nuttiness to it and the mini strands of noodles add bit of texture to the rice dish itself as well.
For this vermicelli rice recipe, I used a jasmine rice since this is always what I have at home but you can use any kind of long grain rice that you prefer.
For the vermicelli, I will reference this as vermicelli pasta as it is closer to pasta than the vermicelli rice noodles in Asian cuisines. They can usually be found at a middle eastern super market but you can substitute this with angel hair pasta crushed up into small pieces if you cannot find it. I wrote a bit about this ingredient and the differences between the two here.
For this dish, I like using salted butter but if you don't have salted butter, unsalted butter is fine just add a bit more salt to the finished dish and adjust this to your taste. 🙂
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Rinse and Soak - Crucial Steps!
These two steps are crucial for this recipe. Vermicelli rice is never mushy and clumpy. To get this result, it's important to rinse out the excess starch from the rice. This will produce a less starchy rice so you get individual whole rice grains and not a mushy dish. Soaking the rice for 20 minutes will actually help the rice cook all the way through properly.
Another very crucial step as well is to let the rice rest and continue to steam untouched for 15-20 minutes after it is done cooking when you have removed it from the heat. This allows the rice to settle and cool a bit before you fluffy up the starches. When the rice is freshly cooked, hot and very moist - any type of fluffing will create a glueiness which potentially will give you that mushy texture.
Toasting the Noodles
Here is where the flavours all come from. The butter and the toasting of the vermicelli pasta. It is very easy to burn the noodles, so keep a close eye on them and once they turn brown, quickly add the rice in to cool the pan down to stop the browning of the noodles.
If you notice a few very burnt noodles, pick them out but if your whole batch of noodles are burnt then you may have to make a new batch again.
Using a Rice Cooker to Make Vermicelli Rice
You can actually make this in a rice cooker as well. Make the rice the way you normally do in the rice cooker (rinse your rice first, but no need to soak your rice). In a frying pan, toast the vermicelli pasta with butter. Pour the butter and toasted noodles into the rice cooker with a bit of salt and turn it on! 🙂 Just make sure you don't stir the fresh hot rice right away. Let it cool a bit so you don't end up making it sticky.
Yes, I do eat hummus with rice - it's actually pretty good! Maybe weird? but good! 🙂
- 1 ¼ cup long-grain rice
- ½ cup vermicelli pasta
- 2 ¼ cup water
- ½ onion (optional)
- 2 tablespoon salted butter
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Rinse the rice in cold water until the water is clear. Soak the rice for no less than 30 minutes
- Once the rice has finished soaking, drain it and set it aside. The rice should look less translucent and somewhat opaque.
- Heat up a pot on medium heat with the oil
- (Optional) Add the onions in and brown it
- Add in the butter and the vermicelli pasta and toast it for 3 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to watch it, they burn easily
- Once the vermicelli pasta is brown, add in the rice and salt in the pot and mix well with the vermicelli pasta to coat it with the remainder of the butter.
- Add in the water and let it come to up to a boil. Once it is simmering turn the heat down to low and give it one quick stir and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes with the lid on. It is important to keep the lid on at this point so that the rice cooks properly.
- After the rice is done, try one of the grains of rice to make sure it has cooked all the way through. If it hasn't continue to cook it for 1-2 more minutes.
- When it is done, turn off the heat and remove the pot off the burner and set it aside. Keep the lid on the pot and let it steam for about 20 minutes undisturbed.
- After 20 minutes has passed, remove the lid and fluff it gently with a fork and serve it! 🙂
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