Riz (Syrian White Rice with Fried Onions and Pine Nuts)

photo taken by Su-Lin, taken on September 22, 2006, CC licensing

Adapted by Jennifer Abadi from her book, A Fistful of Lentils: Syrian-Jewish Recipes From Grandma Fritzie’s Kitchen (©2002, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press)

Yield: Serves 6 / Makes about 4 ½ Cups

Preparation Time: 45 Minutes


For Rice:

  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
  • ½ to 3/4 teaspoon salt

For Serving:

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts

1. Place the rice in a medium-size bowl, add enough cold water to cover, and let soak for 10 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan for about a minute over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the onions and cook, stirring, until wilted and golden, 3 to 4 minutes;
do not allow to brown or burn.

3. Add 3 cups cold water and the salt to the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer and add to the boiling water. Stir once gently and continue to boil briskly, uncovered, until the water is cooked down to the surface level of the rice, about 5 minutes.

4. Cover tightly, reduce the heat as low as it will go, and steam until all the water is fully absorbed and the rice is tender but not mushy, 10 to 20 minutes.

5. Fold rice over very gently with a soupspoon.

6. Just before serving the rice, heat the oil in a small, heavy frying pan. Stir constantly over medium heat until the nuts are brown, about 2 minutes. (Watch carefully so that they don’t burn.) Put the rice in a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with the hot nuts. Serve immediately.

Sephardic or Askhenazi