Tag Archives: vegetarian

Lebanese Rice

This is my absolute favourite rice dish at the moment. You seem to be able to get it in delis all over London and combined with chicken schnitzel and a big squeeze of lemon, it’s pretty hard to beat… It hadn’t occurred to me to make it at home until a colleague was doing a larder clean-out and brought a pack of vermicelli into work and I made off with them… And now I have to force myself to make rice any other way.

If you’ve never had it before, it’s gorgeous. Savoury and rich and more interesting than plain rice has right to be… It is good. It’s broken up noodles, sautéed in butter and rice, cooked with stock. Perfect with anything but we had it the other night with crisp chicken thighs and garlicky courgettes.

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Lebanese Rice (Serves 3-4 comfortably!) 

  • A fat slice of butter (about 50g)
  • 125g vermicelli noodles (I use these ones – you can find them in the kosher bit of the world food section in Sainsburys!)
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 500ml stock (I use chicken but veg would be fine if you’re that way inclined!)
  • Salt

Crunch up the noodles until they’re about a centimetre long – I lay the bag on the worktop and bash with a rolling pin. Heat a medium saucepan (need a lid for it!) and add the butter. Let it melt and then foam and then add the noodles – stir them in the butter and they’ll start to brown. You’re aiming for a medium brown all over but keep an eye on it and don’t let it linger too long in the pan without stirring as the colours change rather quickly…

Add the rice and stir to coat in the butter and pour in the stock and a generous pinch of salt. Bring it to the boil and then stick the lid on and turn down the heat to gently simmer for a while (check the rice packet – 12-ish minutes probably) until all the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked.

Top tip for fluffy rice – when it’s cooked, turn off the heat, lift up the lid and lay a clean tea towel across the pan (not on top of the rice, sweetie) and pop the lid back on and leave for a couple of mins for the excess steam to be absorbed by the towel. And the rice will have dried out a bit and be lovely and fluffy!

Serve and enjoy!

 

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bulgar wheat pilaff

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I’m really into bulgar wheat at the moment – it’s great in a lunchbox as part of a salad with some parsley, chopped tomato and cucumber with lots of olive oil and a big squidge of lemon juice and it’s just so much more interesting than couscous…

Here’s another way with bulgar wheat – cooked with stock and spices, it makes a great accompaniment to curry or tagine or anything with a lovely rich sauce to mop up. I should say, this is probably as authentically middle-eastern as toad-in-the-hole but I think it’s great, anyway.

Bulgar wheat pilaff – serves 3-4 (it’s surprisingly filling!)

  • One large onion
  • Vegetable oil – a good slosh
  • Ground cinnamon – 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • Bulgar wheat – about 150g
  • Chicken stock – I use those stock jelly pot things, 1
  • Butter – a generous slice

Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and cut the onion in half and slice the onion relatively thinly. Cover the base of the pan (and a little more) with the oil and cook the onion until it is golden with small brown bits and then add the spices and give it a good stir – it should smell pretty wonderful at this point…

Add the wheat and stir to coat with the spices and oil and then cover with boiling water from the kettle (plus about a centimetre – you can add more later on if it starts to get too dry) and add your stock cube/pot/whatever. Pop the lid on and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the wheat is tender with a bit of bite and the liquid has been absorbed. Check the seasoning and stir in the butter just before serving

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