VANILLA LATTE is a blog dedicated to food & travel with occasional random stuff thrown in. It is managed and written by me, Maggie Ha.

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Classic Rice Pilaf 26May09

Rice Pilaf

It’s great having visitors in town, it means I get to entertain and cook some of my favorite dishes. Last night I made my roast chicken with rice pilaf and served with orange and fennel salad. I’ve been meaning to post my rice pilaf recipe for a while now… I finally remembered to take some nice pictures of the rice!

Rice pilaf is one of those amazing dishes that are so easy to make and never fails to please. It all depends on the rice though. You’ll have to experiment to find your favorite type. I use Uncle Ben’s Long Grain White Rice. Not the instant rice, not the 2-minute microwave rice, and definitely not the boil in a bag… it’s the regular original converted white rice. What’s special about this rice is that it’s parcooked so it doesn’t stick.

I’ve tried this with regular white rice, it tastes great but it doesn’t have that crumbly rice pilaf consistency. If you don’t have the Uncle Ben’s handy, basmati rice or long grain white rice will be fine. I’ll make sure to provide the different measurements for regular long grain white rice and this special Uncle Ben’s.

Important portions:
Uncle Ben’s original converted rice – 1 cup of uncooked rice = 2 cups of stock
basmati or long grain white rice – 1 cup of uncooked rice = 1 cup of stock

2 cups of Uncle Ben’s Original Converted rice
OR 2 cups of basmati or long grain white rice
1/2 cup of cut up vermicelli noodles or filini-vermicelles pasta
3 + 1 tablespoons of butter
4 cups of good vegetable or chicken stock if you’re using Uncle Ben’s
OR 2 cups of good stock for basmati or long grain white rice
pinch of sea salt
tiny pinch of dried parsley

Step 1: The toasting!
In a small frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on medium high heat. Once melted, toss in the vermicelli noodles. You want stir constantly until they toast to a nice dark golden color. Stirring constantly will let it cook evenly and not burn! Keep an eye on it, this only takes a few minutes to do! Once toasted, set aside.

Step 2: Rice boiling!
If you have a rice cooker, your life just got 10 times easier! In the rice cooker pour in your rice, stock, pinch of sea salt, pinch of parsley, and 1 tablespoon of butter. Pour in the cooked vermicelli with the butter it cooked in, and stir. Hit cook and leave that thing alone until it’s all done!

If you don’t have a rice cooker, you’ll need a medium pot with a lid. Pour in the stock and start a simmer on medium high heat. Once the stock is simmering, pour in the rice, pinch of sea salt, pinch of parsley, 1 tablespoon of butter and the toasty vermicelli. Stir and bring that up to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, stir again, lowering that down to a low heat, cover and let that cook for about 25 minutes. Try not to open it :) Turn off the heat and keep the cover on for another 5 minutes.

Voilà! Rice pilaf! Goes well with just about every dish. I like to chop up some fresh chives or cilantro to serve.

Rice Pilaf



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Ground Support

My local favorite is currently Ground Support in SOHO. I go there almost every day for a smooth creamy soy cappuccino or if it’s hot out an iced soy latte. When I’m not in a hurry to run out, I try to take a few extra minutes to enjoy the coffee in the shop… you know, chat with the staff, catch up on some calls and best of all… people watch. Always some interesting characters in NYC!

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