Showing posts with label Rice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rice. Show all posts

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rice Tabbouleh {Gluten-Free}

Fresh and verdant, light and lemony, there is so much to love about tabbouleh, the classic Middle Eastern salad.  And as much as I enjoy the well-known parsley and bulgur version, today I am sharing a recipe for a rice-based tabbouleh, which is just as lovely as the original, but even easier and gluten-free!

Today, I am blogging over at the beautiful Middle Eastern food blog, MidEats.  To find my recipe for rice tabbouleh, click here!


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Saturday, February 22, 2014

How to Make Fluffy, Flavorful Rice (Like an Arab)

Sticky rice, fluffy rice, gummy, gluey rice, bland, wet or crunchy rice.  I have made all of these things.

I remember rice as my first culinary challenge out of college.  If I can just cook rice, I thought, I can feed myself.  And while the instructions on the sack always seemed so simple, so straight forward, the results were rarely good.  My Chinese roommate had a little electric rice cooker that she swore by, and I loved the beautifully steamed rice that she produced, but even that little gadget alluded my attempts.  For a while, I gave up and accepted half-soggy, half-crunchy bland rice.

It was very sad.

Because we Arabs love our rice!  Like our friends farther east, from India all the way to Japan, we love our rice.  Our rice style is more similar to Indian rice, and every time I dig into a vibrant dish of biryani, it reminds me of home.  Arabs pride themselves in producing light, fluffy rice, with a nutty and rich flavor, well seasoned enough to stand on its own.  We love to serve mounds of fluffy white rice, warmly spiced with the flavors of allspice, turmeric, cinnamon or nutmeg, topped with buttery pine nuts or almonds fried in ghee.  For a simple childish favorite, we serve this with just a scoop of fresh plain yogurt, and we call it rooz ma' laban.  Please, mama, we would beg my mother, can we skip the sauce and just have rooz ma' laban?

Can you blame me?

After watching my mother, badgering her with questions, and then (this was the hard part), actually doing what she told me to do, I learned how to make a decent pot of rice.  If you want to make delicious rice that will wake up any basic fish, chicken or steak meal, look no further.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Maqlouba, or Upside-Down Dinner

Mmmm . . . ma'loubi. 

The mouth-watering flavors of lamb, rice, and cauliflower, all simmered in cinnamon and allspice-seasoned broth was enough to make my children and their little friend all yelp "yum" when they walked in the door after playing outside.  When I inverted the steaming pot of food onto a platter and then sprinkled toasted almonds on top, they said excitedly, It's like a cake!  I allowed them to pick as many almonds off of the top as they wished.  Served with mounds of fresh plain yogurt, which of course, they could also not keep their fingers out of, this dish made for a very happy children dinner party.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vermicelli Rice

This is another one of those dishes that brings me back to my childhood, my toddlerhood, even, as I was served up bowls and bowls of this with fresh whole yogurt.  It's a soft and flavorful rice, fragrant with cinnamon and allspice, often topped with browned almonds or pine nuts.  The broken peices of noodles, sauteed in butter and then cooked along the rice, make this a dressed-up rice.  As soon as I could safely see over the rim of a pot, it became my job to saute the broken noodles in the butter, stirring diligently to prevent the noodles from burning.  Of course, I still remember the smell of those noodles burning, and my mother chidding me, and my defense:   I just turned away for a second! 

When we would have American friends over, they would point at this rice and declare, "Rice-a-Roni!"  My mother would always smile kindly and say, "Yes, very similar."  Except that it's not.  It's much, much better.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lentil Rice Pilaf, or Mujadara

Lentil rice pilaf, or mujjadara, is poor man's food in Palestine.  Affordable or otherwise, I find it delicious and homey.   A complete protein, and nutrient-dense with its powerful combinations of bone broth, rice, and lentils, it is a satisfying and nourishing meal all by itself,  served with a scoop of yogurt and a chopped cucumber and tomato salad.   A meatless dish, Arab Christians often eat this during Lent. 

My uncle, who grew up in poverty, ate this meal so often as a child that as an adult he banished it from his home.  But I love this meal so much that I once wept when my mother made it after I had dental surgery.   Like Esau, I would give anything for a bowl of lentils.