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Author Notes: I grew up in a Chinese household where there was but one way to eat rice: plain, in a bowl, with chopsticks. No soy sauce, and certainly no butter and salt. Not long ago, I found myself invited to dinner at the home of someone I did not know well, eating a nice plate of chicken, vegetables, and a side of rice that was unlike any other rice I'd eaten; it was salty and tender, and I had to make a conscious effort not to shovel it in. After dinner, I wandered into the kitchen to help with the dishes, and as I praised the host for her delicious rice, I caught sight of her secret: empty Rice-A-Roni boxes in the recycling bin. Who knew I was such a fan of hydrolyzed grains and disodium guanylate? This version skips some of the less wholesome ingredients but is just as addictive-- and even has the signature yellow tinge that says "I'm chicken-flavored!" —vvvanessa
Serves 6-8 as a side dish
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1 chicken bouillon cube (the equivalent to be used in 8 ounces of water)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, finely minced
- 2 cups long grain white rice
- 1 cup fideos (short, thin pasta found where Mexican/Latin American ingredients are sold), or use vermicelli or angel hair pasta broken into 2-inch pieces
- 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/2-1 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Dissolve the bouillon cube in the water and set aside.
- In a large sauce pan, sauté the olive oil and onion over medium-high heat until the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the rice and the pasta and continue to cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes to toast them slightly.
- Stir in the turmeric and parsley. Add the water-bouillon mixture and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the rice and pasta and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover the rice, and allow it to cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat, remove the rice from the heat, and leave it to sit for about 10 minutes. Add in the butter, and use a fork to fluff the rice and distribute the butter. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve hot.
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