SYRIAN RICE is a traditional holiday food in my family. It’s butter, rice, pine nuts and cinnamon but it’s not a sweet dish and it’ll be a favorite Thanksgiving recipe in your family from the first bite!
A lot of people are surprised to learn that I’m Lebanese. Really I’m a mut made up of a lot of everything, from all over, but my great grandmother’s family was from Lebanon and we still have family over there. When my family settled here in the states they were in Norfolk, VA and we still have a LOT of family out there. What I love though is the mix of food culture that happened. Some of my favorite memories are going over to her house when we were in town after church for breakfast. She would have the WHOLE family over. This was no small feat because she came from a family of 13 kids who all had kids, who had kids……. Oh, and her house was one of those tiny little houses I think first built after WWII when the suburbs were just starting. So everyone would wait outside for their turn to eat. Breakfast was the best illustration of the mix of southern food with middle eastern. We would have the GIANT rolls she would make, bacon, eggs fried in bacon grease (mmmmmm) and a big ‘ole helping of kibbi nayeh (kib-bee nay-yah). This is a dish of raw ground beef (not the stuff you make burgers out of) mixed with bulger and spices for yummy deliciousness. I’m not advocating the consumption of raw meat but this is one of my favorite dishes. For rookies, like my husband, we eat kibbi balls that are cooked and still pretty great. I just love the southern meets Lebanese food that I grew up with.
Today I want to share with you our holiday tradition, Syrian Rice. We always make Syrian Rice for the big holiday meal. I haven’t seen this anywhere else so it might have a different name but this is what we’ve always called it. Like a lot of food from the middle east, it has cinnamon in it but it’s not a sweet dish. It’s a mix of rice, spaghetti noodles and pine nuts. When I was little we used to pretend we were eating worms and now I hear my kids saying it. 🙂 Give this a try and I’m sure you will love it. I am SO grateful that I come from a very diverse family with great history and stories that continue to be passed down. What are you grateful for?
- 2 handfuls of pine nuts
- 1 T cinnamon
- 1/4 of a package of raw spaghetti noodles broken in half
- 1 stick of butter
- 4 chicken bullion cubes
- 2 c rice
- 4 1/2 c water
- melt butter in a large pot over med heat
- add broken spaghetti noodles, pine nuts and cinnamon
- allow to saute until golden brown to dark brown (but not burnt)
- break up chicken bullion cubes into the butter mixture and toss to coat
- add rice and mix
- pour in water and bring to boil
- once boiling turn down to low and simmer with the lid on for 20 to 30 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed