Friday, August 13, 2010

Armenian Rice Pilaf

Let's talk about Rice Pilaf.

This isn't the rice pilaf you'll get at the average restaurant or out of a box.  This is strictly the Armenian version baby.  And it's the only rice of any kind that my Lone Wolf will eat.  Weird no?  But then, she really is a weird girl.  It's part of her charm.

GG and LW's Grandmother told me a story of how she learned to make this recipe over the phone.  Her mom would call a little before she left work, and tell her to start it, do the first step and then call her back.  Then she would give her the next step, and have her call back.  By the time she was ready to leave work all the steps would be done, and by the time she got home, the rice would be ready.  How's that for learning?

So, onto the recipe!

This is what you'll need.

1 cup of long grain rice
1/2 cube of butter
1/2 cup of vermicelli bits or 1 coil (or you can use thing spaghetti if you can't find vermicelli)
2 cups hot water (not pictured)
1 tsp salt (not pictured)
2 tbs grapeseed oil or extra light olive oil if you can't find grapeseed

Wash and drain the rice in a strainer and set aside.  Brown the vermicelli bits in 2 tbs of light oil.  Stirring is the key here.  You cannot stop stirring.  It's best if you can find a big kid to do it for you.  I mean, why strain yourself when you have children? 

Once the vermicelli bits are brown, remove from heat and add 1/2 cube of butter.  Do not substitute with margarine - it will go horribly wrong.  Trust me on this one.

When butter is melted add rinsed rice and return to heat and stir until rice is coated and changes texture (it goes a little whiter when done). Again, stir, stir, stir.  I find bribing kids with extra helpings works well.

Add hot water.  It's important that the water be already hot, don't try to cheat and just add cold water, you won't like it.  Keep on the straight and narrow and follow the recipe!  Salt to taste (obviously, she uses more than a tsp, but you can start there and add until it tastes right). 

Bring to a boil.

Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes.

Now this is the most important part.  You MUST serve this on a platter or plate.  You cannot serve it in a bowl.  I have no idea why, but it's the family tradition, and since I'm just the evil-stepmonster just trying to fit in, who am I to interfere with family traditions.  Besides, some things are just better left as they are.

Sprinkle with pepper and viola!  Serves 3-4.  And just for kicks and giggles, this recipe can be double or even tripled.  If your family is anything like mine, you'll probably want to double or triple it just to keep the fighting over it down to a minimum.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. My mom made this dish as you describe above. My best friend Di's mom made it with orzo instead of vermicelli and used Uncle Ben's instead of regular long grain rice.

    Now that I find myself the mom in charge, I've learned that my family prefers the orzo variation. Go figure. (I don't mind because it's a lot harder to burn the orzo than the vermicelli.) But, either way, it's a dandy side dish.