If you aren’t a rice maker at home, get ready you are going to become one. This rice dish is so easy to make, requires only 3 ingredients, and while it is screaming to be paired with a stew, it goes with just about anything. Whether this dish you are pairing with this recipe is Middle Eastern or not consider this vermicelli rice your everyday basic rice recipe. Save it, memorize it, cause once you perfect it you won’t make rice any other way.
Vermicelli is a super thin noodle / pasta, thinner than spaghetti in diameter. In this rice dish it is crushed up into small, about 1/2 inch stick, toasted, then cooked with rice. Vermicelli noodles are sold in a lot of major supermarkets in either nests or pre-broken pieces. Chances are you aren’t going to find this cut in your major nation wide brands, however I have had luck finding it in smaller brands. Can’t find vermicelli noodles? Capellini or Angel hair pasta nests are a great substitute.
If you’ve had bad luck cooking perfectly fluffy rice in the past dish for you. Surprisingly, by adding the vermicelli you add a little bit or foregiveness to the rice. I am not saying you can be over a tremendous amount, but if you happen to add in a touch too much water chances are the rice will be just fine.
Those who love rice know how to make it, and make it right every single time. Don’t get me wrong I mess up from time to time, but once you master rice you can nail it 99% of the time. Below are some tips and tricks whether you are making this rice recipe or another one.
Add the Right Amount of Water – Not all rice is a 1:2 rice to water ratio. In fact even within the same type of rice water can vary. Always read the packaging first. I personally love using jasmine rice for my long grain variety, and that is closer to a 1:1.5 ratio. Slightly more if you want softer grains. A tip of advice you probably wont see on many sites is to find your favorite rice/brand and stick to it. They all can vary ever so slightly, so if you want to make perfect rice every time learn the in’s and out’s of your rice.
Keep the Lid On– Rice does not need to be babysat. Add the water, put the lid on and leave it alone. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT lift the lid until a few minutes before it is done. If you are the type of person who feels compelled and needs to lift the lid, cook use a glass lid.
No Need To Mix– Other than the initial mix to submerge all the grains there is 0 reason to mix the rice. Just let it be, it will cook itself. This isn’t risotto.
Salt, Salt, Salt – Like pasta, rice water needs to be salted to impart flavor. I like to add approx. 1/2 tsp or a hefty pinch per cup of rice.
Keep the Heat Low – It is so important to lower the heat during the cooking process. Too high and you risk scorching the bottom, leaving you with a nasty burnt taste.
Ah the age old debate, to rinse or not to rinse rice before cooking it. On one hand we rinse to remove debris, dirt, and god forbid bugs from the rice before cooking. In addition you wash some of the starch off which allows the grains to be fluffier and not stick to each other. Truth is, I don’t always rinse my rice, and it is not because I don’t have time. I personally like to toast my rice in fat (either butter or oil) before adding the water. Not only does toasting impart some flavor, but it improves texture, helps separate the grains, reduces sticking, and cooks more evenly.
Long story short if you feel compelled to wash your grains wash until water runs clear. If you are washing you aren’t toasting. Hot oil + wet grains = a huge mess. If you don’t care then you can choose whichever method works best for you (both are outlined below).
As stated above it is SO important to read the instructions on your particular bag of rice. The below instructions are simply the method of making this type of rice. However, rice to water ratio and cook time will be located on the bag.
Toast the Vermicelli – In a pot melt the butter (low-medium heat) or heat up the oil (medium heat). The recipe below calls for 1 tbsp per cup of rice. If you want to scale back a tiny bit that that fine. Add in the crushed vermicelli noodles and toast until golden brown, mixing every few seconds to ensure all noodles are cooking evenly. Do not walk away! It might seem like nothing is happening, but they will go from light golden brown to burnt fast. Also keep in mind if you are opting for butter, keep the heat low to avoid burning/browning the butter. If this happens that’s fine you will get a nuttier end result.
Add the Rice– See below for toasting vs not toasting.
Toasting – If opting to toast add the rice and cook for 3-5 minutes until rice is completely coated, mixing every few seconds. Add in the water, salt, and mix to ensure all grains are submerged and cover.
Not Toasting– If you aren’t opting to toast and have already washed your grains, add the water to the pot with salt and then the rice. Mix to ensure all grains are submerged and cover.
Let the Rice Cook Itself – Reduce the stove to low. Do NOT open the lid. Do NOT mix. Just let the rice cook itself. About 2-3 minutes before the time on the bag is up check the rice (the only time this is allowed), but don’t mix it. At this point the top grains should be cooked. Put the lid back on, take it off the burner and let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. If by some chance your grains are still hard and you know all the water is gone you can add a little water, about a tbsp or 2, and continue cooking on low.
Hate hard fridge rice? There is an easy way to bring it back. Place the desired amount of rice in a bowl and drizzle approx. 1 tbsp of water. Pop in the microwave for 1 minute. Mix then place it back in for minute intervals until the rice has steamed back to life. You can also do the same on the stove in a frying pan.
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