Spiced noodle rice


This is the kind of dish you could find served as a side at the various Middle-Eastern style “workers’ restaurants” — the places that serve home cooking for the office crowd. I learned the recipe from my roommate Naifeh in Haifa. We would eat it alongside stews, and sometimes just salads. I consider it a kind of easy majadera.

Naifeh’s version got its flavor from the spices listed below, along with a few spoonfuls of powdered soup mix. I admit that mine did too, until I opened up my soup mix container and found things living in it. Gross. I was looking for an excuse to make this with more natural ingredients, anyway.

The noodles are a form of very short vermicelli, about 1-2 centimeters long. You can get them here in a bag. I’m not sure what else they’re used for, possibly in soups. If you can’t find these kind of noodles, you could just finely break a handful of vermicelli noodles.

frying-noodles1/4 cup tiny noodles
1 T oil
1 1/2 cup rice
2 1/2 cups water or broth
1/8 t turmeric
1 1/2 t salt (omit if you’re using broth that contains salt)
pinches of spice (about 1/32 t each): black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves
oil for frying

Put the noodles in a thick-bottomed pot with enough oil to lightly coat them. Fry them on a medium flame until they begin to brown, stirring frequently so that they don’t burn.

When all the noodles are an even brown, add the rice, the spices and the water. Cover the pot and cook on a low flame until the rice is done, about 10-15 minutes.

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