As promised in my Dawood Basha recipe post, here is how I make Riz bi Sharieh, the staple Lebanese style rice with vermicelli with just four simple ingredients! This traditional rice with butter toasted vermicelli is a great alternative to the regular rice dish. The lovely contrast in colour and texture makes it stand out and goes well with any Middle Eastern stew or main course. Did I tell you this is super easy to make too?
I was never drawn to the idea of adding vermicelli pasta to rice until I saw Riz bi Sharieh being served at all major restaurants here. Lebanese Vermicelli Rice is buttery, nutty and fluffy rice that is so good to eat on its own and my personal favourite with tomato-based stews. Ever since I made it during Ramadan to serve with Daoud Basha, I have been making it each time to serve with any Middle Eastern main course.
Though calling it Lebanese, Riz bi Sharieh can be seen across all the Levant and Middle Eastern countries including Turkey. Egyptians too have similar dish but they use short or medium grain rice.
- Butter: You can use salted or unsalted. You may mix in some olive oil or ghee.
- Vermicelli pasta: Any broken thin short stick pasta vermicelli will work. Don't use rice vermicelli.
- long-grain rice: I have used basmati. Nowadays, there are many varieties of long-grain and basmati rice, so make sure you follow pack instructions for soak time and water quantity.
- Water or broth: Use room temp water. As the vermicelli gets toasted in butter it doesn't need excess water to cook. I consider only the rice to decide the quantity of water. The vermicelli gets cooked along with the rice. You may replace some water with chicken or meat broth.
- Salt to taste
- Optional garnish items: Toasted or fried pine nuts or almonds and fresh parsley or coriander for garnish.
Riz bi Sh’arieh is a simple dish but looks grand and tastes good on its own. With a few steps, you can make this rice easily! I mentioned easy and easily but that does not mean quick or fast, ok? Any rice dish is best made when given the time and not rush it.
You will have to rinse the rice a few times or until the water is not too cloudy. Soak in clean water for at least 30 minutes or as per the pack instructions. Then drain the rice into a mesh colander and let it sit while you start with the vermicelli. I use the same vermicelli that I use to make Balaleet and semiya upma.
Riz bi Sharieh | Lebanese Vermicelli Rice
- 1 tablespoon butter and oil
- ¼ cup vermicelli pasta
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 cups water or as required
- Salt to taste
- pine nuts (toasted or fried) optional
- fresh parsley optional
- Rinse the basmati rice a few times and soak in water for 30 to 45 minutes or as per the pack instructions. Drain the rice and keep it aside.
- Heat butter or any cooking oil in a deep thick bottomed pan on a medium flame. If using pine nuts or sliced almonds, fry them until light brown, remove them with a slotted spoon, and keep them aside for later.
- Add more butter if required and stir fry and roast the vermicelli pasta for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are evenly browned to a dark golden shade. You will notice that the butter will foam and froth and smell fabulous as the vermicelli get toasted. Make sure you don't burn so keep the heat low.
- Next, stir the drained rice into the vermicelli. Saute for a few seconds to coat the grains with butter. Pour enough water (room temp) as per rice pack instructions or go with a 1:2 rice to water ratio. Pour at least 2 cups of water or just enough water that is 1 cm above the rice level. (1 cm is roughly half of the first knuckle of your index finger.)
- Stir in salt to taste and bring the whole thing to a full boil on a high flame. Boil until most of the water evaporates and the grains and vermicelli surface up.
- Reduce the flame to the lowest and cover the pan with a tight lid. Let it slowly steam cook for 8 to10 minutes.
- Open and stir the rice gently to bring the bottom portion to the top, cover the pot again. Cook for another 5 minutes and switch off. Let the pan sit undisturbed for another 5 to 8 minutes.
- Open, fluff and serve on a platter. Garnish with fried nuts and chopped parsley. Serve Lebanese vermicelli rice with any Arabic side dish like Daoud Basha, Dawood Basha