Vermicelli Rice

5 from 10 votes
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Delicious, flavorful 3-ingredient Middle-Eastern vermicelli rice cooked perfectly every single time – this dish is perfect for serving alongside stews, curries, and even with yogurt!

Lebanese Vermicilli Rice

I recently took you through how to cook fluffy basmati rice perfectly every time, and now I’m back again with another favorite. This post will take you through how to cook vermicelli rice perfectly, what is vermicelli, and all the usual tips and tricks. That as you’ll have perfectly fluffy, delicious vermicelli rice every single time!

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What Is Vermicelli and what is vermicelli rice?

Vermicelli is a type of pasta noodle, also called ‘angel hair pasta’. While they look similar to Asian thin rice noodles, vermicelli is traditionally made with durum wheat, like other pasta – but much thinner than the general spaghetti.

By adding these to your rice dish, you end up with additional color, flavor, and texture. Vermicelli rice is incredibly popular with Middle Eastern and Lebanese cuisine, and I’m sure many other places globally. Especially, when it comes to specific ‘takeaways’.

With a combination of the vermicelli noodles, long-grain white rice, and some oil or butter, this is just a super simple, flavorful side dish to any meal. These ingredients also make the perfect base for rice pilaf, stir-fried rice, and several other rice dishes.

First, let’s take a little bit of a closer look at the ingredients used for this vermicelli rice recipe.

The Vermicelli Rice Ingredients

Vermicelli rice Ingredients

As I said above, there is literally nothing to this recipe. It’s made up of just four ingredients and yet is still super flavorful. The ingredients are:

  • Long grain white rice: You can use either brown or white, but long grain is preferred. This blends better with the long pieces of noodles and is least likely to clump up. If you want to see a full comparison of white vs. brown rice and their various health benefits then you can do so.
  • Vermicelli noodles
  • Canola Oil: Or any other neutral-flavored oil, such as sunflower or avocado oil. You can use olive oil, but make sure it’s not too strong in flavor like extra virgin olive oil will be. You could also use Ghee/Clarified butter, for a truly sinful buttery flavor.
  • Salt

So, how is it that these simple ingredients lead to such a flavorful dish? It’s all in the method. By lightly sautéing the vermicelli noodles till browned, and then even sautéing the rice for a couple of minutes, this helps the ingredients to deepen their flavors. All before the water is even added to the pan.

However, if you do find that you want to pack even more flavor into the plain rice vermicelli, then I have a few options.

Cooked Vermicilli Rice in a spoon

Flavor Options

  • One of the most “obvious” tips is obviously to cook your rice in stock rather than water. You can use homemade vegetable stock, or a stock pot/tablet.
  • Sauté some garlic in the pot before adding the rice and noodles, that way they soak up the flavor as they fry and cook.
  • Drizzle with a little soy sauce (of GF tamari) after cooking, for that slight salty bite. This packs a lot of flavor in not much product, so even just a couple of spoonfuls will make a difference.
  • And, my favorite option, adding a big dob of butter into the rice once cooked. Butter, of course, adds a creamy, salt flavor that just elevated everything!
  • Alternatively, simply substitute 1 Tbsp of melted butter or ghee/clarified butter, in place of some of the oil for richer, buttery flavor.
  • You can also add extra flavors to the boiling water too. For example, a bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, and even a cinnamon stick, etc.

Let me know in the comments if you have any other useful simple “hacks” to more flavorful rice.

Cooked Vermicilli Rice

How To Cook Long Grain Rice

The method of cooking this vermicelli rice is actually very simple. There are a few must-do steps, to have fluffy, light rice grains. But definitely nothing too complicated – I even have some top tips for making the most of this dish every single time.

Top Tips

  • Make sure that you toast the vermicelli noodles for long enough. They need to be a deep brown color for the truly nutty, buttery, rich flavor. They go from deep brown to burnt quickly though so keep an eye.
  • As soon as the noodles have gotten dark, add the rice immediately. This will cool down the pan and stop the noodles from burning.
  • I don’t soak the rice for this recipe, just rinse it. The key is to rub the rice with your hands, while rinsing. This will help to remove the starch from the outside of your rice with no soaking required. That way you won’t get any rice clumping or becoming stodgy.
  • Ignore the package instructions when it comes to the rice to water ratio. A ‘normal’ 2:1 water ratio is far more likely to leave you with stodgy, clumpy rice. I stick to the side of slightly below 1:1.5 ratio for perfectly fluffy grains every time.

The Method

Begin by rinsing the rice until the water runs clear If doing so in a bowl, then you may need to do this 3-4 times (this water can be used to water plants). Alternatively, place the rice in a sieve and rinse under running water.

Either way, make sure to rub the rice between your fingers to rub off all the excess starch from the rice. This will stop it from clumping up, for fluffy rice.

Rinsing long grain rice steps

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the vermicelli. Stir fry on medium heat (avoid high heat as they’ll burn easily) for 1-2 minutes until the vermicelli becomes a deep golden brown. Stir constantly so they don’t burn on one side.

Add the rice and stir well to incorporate it. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.

Finally, add the water and salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the saucepan, and simmer for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.

Cooking vermicelli rice steps

As an optional step, once removed from the heat, place a clean dish towel between the lid and pot and leave to steam for a further 5-10 minutes. The tea towel will absorb all the excess steam so it doesn’t drip down onto the rice. Thus super fluffy rice. However, I say this is optional – as it doesn’t always need it.

Serve Immediately!

Vermicilli Rice before cooking in a white pot

How To Serve

Serve plain or topped with some lightly toasted pine nuts or herbs of your choice, such as parsley or even finely chopped green onions.

This vermicelli rice tastes amazing when served alongside stews and curries. I sometimes even add a few spoonfuls to soups, for a heartier, more filling dish. Here are some options you may want to pair it with:

Other dishes you may want to serve this rice with include:

How To Store

Any vermicelli rice leftovers will keep fresh in an airtight container within the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also freeze it for two months in the freezer. 

More Simple Rice Recipes

If you give this Vermicelli Rice recipe a go, then let me know your thoughts in the comments (and any questions). Also, feel free to tag me in your recreations @AlphaFoodie.

Vermicelli Rice

5 from 10 votes
By: Samira
Delicious, flavorful 3-ingredient Middle-Eastern vermicelli rice cooked perfectly every single time – this dish is perfect for serving alongside stews, curries, and even with yogurt!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 5

Ingredients 
 

  • cups water
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • ½ cup vermicelli
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil or sunflower oil

Instructions 

  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear If doing so in a bowl, then you may need to do this 3-4 times (this water can be used to water plants). Alternatively, place the rise in a sieve and rinse under running water.
  • Either way, make sure to rub the rice between your fingers to rub off all the excess starch from the rice. This will stop it from clumping up, for fluffy rice.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the vermicelli. Stir fry on medium heat (avoid high heat as they'll burn easily) for about 1-2 minutes until the vermicelli becomes a deep golden brown. Stir constantly so they don't burn on one side.
  • Add the rice and stir well to incorporate it. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the water and salt. Stir well and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat, cover the saucepan and simmer for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  • As an optional step, once removed from the heat, place a clean dish towel between the lid and pot and leave to steam for a further 5-10 minutes. The tea towel will absorb all the excess steam so it doesn’t drip down onto the rice. Thus super fluffy rice. However, I say this is optional – as it doesn’t always need it.
  • Serve Immediately!

How To Store

  • Any vermicelli rice leftovers will keep fresh in an airtight container within the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also freeze it for two months in the freezer. 

Video

Notes

Top Tips
  • Make sure that you toast the vermicelli noodles for long enough. They need to be a deep brown color for the truly nutty, buttery, rich flavor. They go from deep brown to burnt quickly though so keep an eye.
  • As soon as the noodles have gotten dark, add the rice immediately. This will cool down the pan and stop the noodles from burning.
  • I don’t soak the rice for this recipe, just rinse it. The key is to rub the rice with your hands while rinsing. This will help to remove the starch from the outside of your rice with no soaking required. That way you won’t get any rice clumping or becoming stodgy.
  • Ignore the package instructions when it comes to the rice to water ratio. A ‘normal’ 2:1 water ratio is far more likely to leave you with stodgy, clumpy rice. I err to the side of slightly below 1:1.5 ratio for perfectly fluffy grains every time.
 
Course: Main, Side
Cuisine: Lebanese, Middle Eastern
Freezer friendly: 2 Months
Shelf life: 5 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving, Calories: 409kcal, Carbohydrates: 79g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 518mg, Potassium: 92mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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