Syrian Pilaf

Preparation info

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To prepare this simple pilaf, Syrian Jews briefly sauté fine, dried egg noodles with rice before adding the liquid. Use subtly perfumed basmati rice to heighten the distinctive nutty flavor.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • cup fine egg noodles
  • cups (about 9 ounces) long-grain rice, preferably basmati, rinsed in a colander in several changes of cool water, drained, and patted dry
  • About 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. Crush the noodles with your hands, and add them to the oil. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Watch carefully so they don’t burn. Add the rice, stir the mixture until the rice is coated with the oil, and add 3 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover and cook over very low heat for 18–20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat. Fold two paper towels or a small kitchen towel and place on top of the rice. Replace the cover, and let the rice sit for at least 5 minutes, or until ready to serve (the rice will remain warm for about 30 minutes). Fluff the rice with a fork before serving.