Buttery Arroz Arabe (Arabic Rice)


2 cups long grain white rice 
6 Tbsp melted butter or ghee
1⁄2 cup of approximately 2 to 3-inch vermicelli noodles 
4 cups of cold water for rinsing the rice 
4 cups 
2 teaspoons salt
4 Tbsp toasted slivered almonds 
Fresh mint leaves for garnish



Arabic rice, unlike Asian-style rice, is not meant to stick together. I love Basmati rice because of its long grain and wonderful fluffy, separated texture when cooked well.  Choose a Basmati Rice with a natural white, not super white color which signals high quality.  Interestingly, this is because good basmati is actually aged to ensure that the grains are fully and properly dried before packaging. In my experience, brands in cloth bag rather than in plastic packaging and marked "extra-long grain" are superior.  A key step in ensuring that your rice doesn’t stick is to begin by rinsing it in cold water and then, if time allows, soak it for about 15 mins in warm water.  After soaking, drain the rice and put aside. In a medium pot, on a stove top,  add melted butter of ghee and vermicelli.  Stir often ensuring not to burn the vermicelli but keeping it on medium heat until brown in color.  Reduce to low heat, then add the rice, tossing it together with the vermicelli and butter for about 5 mins.  Then add hot water and salt, increase the heat and wait for the rice to boil. After reaching a rapid boil, reduce heat to low and cook until all the water is absorbed.  In a shallow pan, roast slivered almonds until light brown. Spread rice pilaf over a serving dish and garnish with fresh mint leaves.