As soon as the sweet, juicy scent of hot butter slowly spreads in the air and makes its way through the flat, butterflies start to flutter inside me. Just the thought of butter rice makes me happy. Even though I have the recipe here Butter rice it is simply called Riz in Arabic. And Riz (with a buzzing S) translates simply as: rice. But it is much more than just rice.
As children, we never had to ask when there would be riz again, because it was available several times a week. Besides pita bread, butter rice is the most common side dish in Lebanese cuisine - and sometimes it simply becomes a main course. I also like to eat steaming hot butter rice with a dollop of Greek yoghurt. It makes me feel like a child again and I'm happy up to my ears.
When I tried to prepare the butter rice myself for the first time, it turned into a mush that also wanted to crawl out of the pot and take over my kitchen - The Blob says hello ... What happened? Too much rice, far too much water and a pot that was far too small.
Yet the preparation is child's play and is even fun to watch. It is a beautiful sight when the butter melts and slowly throws little bubbles. And then that smell! As soon as the little vermicelli are roasted in the butter and the roasting aromas are added, a little explosion of aromas is created.
"Now we'll tease the noodles a bit in the butter and then deglaze them again", my mother always likes to say before adding the vegetable broth. How does she come up with "annoy"? Absolutely no idea! 😀
When I was a kid, I liked to pulse around in the buttered rice and sort out the noodles and eat them one by one. Today I just stuff it all in at once.
I see - you're probably wondering why there are vermicelli in it, aren't you? The vermicelli provide a subtle roasted flavour and give the whole thing an interesting mouthfeel. It's really hard to describe, but you can experience it: Just try a spoonful 😉
Recipe for Lebanese butter rice
- 230 g Basmati rice
- 35 g short vermicelli - short soup noodles
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 400 ml Vegetable broth
- 1/2 Tl Salt
- Wash the rice several times until the water is reasonably clear when you pour it off.
- Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the vermicelli and fry on a high heat until golden brown in the butter.
- Add the rice and stir everything briefly once.
- Deglaze with vegetable stock, add salt and cook for about 1 minute.
- Turn the cooker to the lowest setting and cover the pot with a lid.
- Leave the rice to soak for about 15 minutes.
- In between, carefully loosen the rice with a spoon.