This classic Egyptian rice with vermicelli noodles is a staple in my home, and it is the best side dish for many middle eastern dishes. It is delicious, vegan, and easy to make with simple ingredients.
What is vermicelli noodle?
Vermicelli pasta is usually made of refined flour; it’s thinner than noodles but has the same appearance. Vermicelli doesn’t pack any flavor but soaks up the flavors of the ingredients it’s cooked with. It can be used in multiple ways to make savory and sweet dishes, such as rice and desserts. It is very popular in the Middle East, and I have learned that it’s also popular in other parts of Asia and Latin America! Check out my Easy Meatball Vermicelli Soup recipe.
What is Egyptian Vermicelli Rice?
The Egyptian vermicelli rice is basically a rice pilaf made of white short to medium grain rice, toasted vermicelli noodles, canola, vegetable oil or butter, and salt for seasoning. It’s also can be made with long grain or basmati rice. It is the perfect side dish for many middle eastern dishes (stews or grilled food).
- Rice: white short to medium grain rice. Soaked and drained; to remove the excess starch from the rice to avoid sticky rice.
- Vermicelli: adds a nice appeal and color to the rice and a little flavor. Toast the vermicelli to get a golden brown (if it turns into very dark brown or burnt throw them away and start over)
- Sea Salt: for seasoning.
- Oil: Canola, Vegetable oil, or butter to toast the vermicelli and coat the rice.
- Water: the ratio of water to rice is 1:1. But it depends on the type of rice you are using; I am using short-medium grain rice. (for Basmati rice, the ratio is 1:1.5 rice to water).
How to make Egyptian Rice with Vermicelli?
- Soaking and rinsing. start with soaking the rice for 10-15 minutes, then rinse a couple of times until the water is clear; this helps to remove the excess starch and avoid sticky, gluey rice, and that allows an even cooking of the rice grains (on the inside & outside) resulting to fluffy rice . (Sometimes, I don’t have the time for soaking, so I just make sure to rinse it well). Then drain well.
- Toasting. Heat the oil, then toast the vermicelli until golden brown. Add the drained rice and the salt, then stir until the rice is evenly coated with oil and toasted.
- Water. Add the water, stir and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the water is absorbed.
- Serve. Turn off the heat and leave it to rest for 10 minutes. Fluff it using a fork and serve.
- It is important to wash the rice before cooking to remove excess starch and avoid sticky rice.
- Don’t over toast the vermicelli, be careful, or it will turn into dark brown and burn, tasting very bad.
- The water to rice ratio depends on the type of rice used, so make sure the instruction on the rice’s bag before using.
What to serve with Egyptian Rice?
Literally, anything ?! I love to cook this rice once or twice a week; it is fluffy and delicious. Serve as side rice with many middle eastern dishes such as stew or sauce-based main dishes, etc.
Store the leftover in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Before reheating in the microwave or a saucepan, add one tablespoon of water; it will add some steam making the rice fresh and not dry.