Sunday, October 21, 2007

no tongues this time, only nests

this side dish is a standard pilaf well known throughout the mediterranean and middle east and even beyond that. mixing rice with different sorts of paste is nothing new — if you've ever been to any lebanese restaurant or eatery, you have seen this one for sure.

this was always made in my home with noodles we called fideyos (fidellos). basically, they are very thin coiled noodles, as shown above, which were/are hand-crushed. of course, if you are not able to find these you can use angel hair pasta which you will snap into smaller pieces. alternately, you can use ones which are already cut into small pieces like the kind which are used for chicken noodle soup (about 1 1/2 inches long).

the best way to make this is using a good stock. since we don't use butter with chicken stock, we added shmaltz which is seasoned chicken fat. if it was for a dairy type meal we used parve (non animal/vegetarian) stock powder and butter. as the saying goes, everything definitely IS better with butter, LOL :)

what's with the title of this post? look here & here, if you haven't followed my blog.

classic rice & noodle pilaf


1 c long grain white rice (not basmati)
1/2 c fine noodles (1 1/2 - 2 nests)
1 - 2 tsp salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp garlic powder (not salt)
2 c stock or water
3 tbsp margarine/oil or salted butter


1/8 - 1/4 tsp cinnamon and/or allspice [and/or]
1 tbsp tomato paste


either measure out the already "cut up" noodles or take the nests over a bowl, one a time, and crush them with your hand. they should be about 1/2 to 1 inch. don't worry if they are not perfectly even. if you want that you have to use ones that are machine made and precut to size.

heat 2 tbsp of margarine or butter over medium heat and add the noodles.

fry them until they are only golden brown. if they are still too big, you can break them up in the pan as they fry with a wooden spoon.

add the rice to the pan.

add only 1 tsp salt and the pepper and garlic powder. if using the other optionals add them now, too.

add the water and mix well. bring to a boil.

lower the heat to minimum and cook well covered for 18 - 20 min.

after all liquid has been absorbed, remove the pan and let it sit covered for 15 minutes. this helps it to firm up and the flavours to blend nicely.

add the last tablespoon of butter or margarine and mix well.

taste and adjust the salt and pepper. it will probably taste a bit bland at this point if you used unsalted stock or just water. it will taste better once well salted.

serve and enjoy with your main course!


sari said...

i hadn't noticed this post! and it's fun, i make just the same dish BUT :
-never stock, plain water
-never butter(heresy!),pure olive oil
-no garlic powder,just caramelize 2 cloves of garlic in oil,then brown fideos and rice, add water, cook thru and take out the garlic at the end-you can eat them-and serve
have you liked my version?

burekaboy — said...

hi sari - you have to look better! LOL.

your way sounds like our way, too. funny -- a lot of people never add stock. i find it tastes better.

i think adding the garlic powder is a little bit of a north american thing. i doubt they used anything but real garlic in the original ;)