The Noodles (kinda look like pieces of wood--huh?!?)
Growing up, I always loved when my mom made her rice & noodles dish. It's a Persian style dish that she learned after escaping to Iran. Her and my father escaped to Iran after fleeing Northern Iraq when Saddam Hussein took over in the early 70s. And I have always been so appreciative of that escape because my mom has made such great Persian dishes over the years.
Persian cooking is just amazing. They often combine different styles of cooking and use some European ingredients and cooking techniques. They also use a lot of saffron, which I love! But the best part of Persian cooking is the rice. Honestly...no one makes rice like the Persians. They cook Basmati rice perfectly. It still amazes me that every time, each kernel is separate and cooked perfectly. I can always tell when someone is Persian or has lived in Iran just by how the rice looks!
In Iran this rice & noodles dish is called Reshteh Polo. I know it's a bit of a carb-overload...I mean who needs to eat both rice and noodles in one meal....well I do!!!! And you're gonna love it when you try it. Kids really love this side dish, too! I used to pick out the noodles out of the rice and eat them first when I was a kid! And the roasted noodles give the rice such a nice, toasted flavor. It's a great side dish to any meal. Of course my mother always served it with roasted chicken and a big salad....aaahhh...that so reminds me of being a kid!
2 cups Basmati Rice (washed and soaked for 15-20 minutes, drained)
3 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 finely chopped onion
salt to taste (about 1-2 teaspoons)
2 ounces (about a handful) of roasted noodles
I buy these already roasted (they've got that nice golden, toasted flavor to them) noodles from a Middle Eastern market. If you can't find these noodles, you can use Vermicelli or Fettuccine noodles.
Break up the noodles to whatever size you'd like. I like my noodles to be a bit long, but when my mom makes this dish, her noodles are broken up into really small pieces. I've had this dish when the noodles have even just been broken in half.Saute the noodles in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1/4 cup finely diced onion. The ones I bought are already roasted so I just sauteed them to get a nice coating of butter and oil on them. If your noodles are not toasted or roasted, saute until they turn a nice golden brown. Make sure your heat is not too high so your noodles don't burn.
After you've drained your rice from soaking, add to the pan and mix the rice with the noodles, onion and butter and oil. Add the salt and water and bring to a boil. Once rice is boiling, stir and then turn down heat to low, cover and do not disturb for 20-25 minutes. After 20-25 minutes, turn heat off and use a fork to fluff the rice and noodles. Cover again and do not disturb for about 10 minutes.
In Iran, this dish is sometimes sprinkled with cinnamon and sometimes raisins are added to it. If you want to try it that way, add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 raisins to the dish after it's cooked.