Serves a Crowd


November  4, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Serves 6-8 as a side dish
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  1. Dissolve the bouillon cube in the water and set aside.
  2. In a large sauce pan, sauté the olive oil and onion over medium-high heat until the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and the pasta and continue to cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes to toast them slightly.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cheese1227
  • HandRocksLadle
  • mrslarkin
  • Sagegreen
  • iuzzini

7 Reviews

cheese1227 November 9, 2010
Got a chuckle out of the name, thanks!
HandRocksLadle November 7, 2010
This is just like my grandmother's recipe -- so good!
mrslarkin November 5, 2010
One of the best advertising jingles of all time! So good to have your MSG-free version! Thanks for the recipe!
Sagegreen November 5, 2010
Great name!
iuzzini November 5, 2010
"Who knew I was such a fan of hydrolyzed grains and disodium guanylate?" really made me smile! I can remember a similar experience in college when my friend brought rice-a-roni to a potluck. I'm definitely gonna make this sometime. :) Thanks for the whimsy.
lapadia November 4, 2010
dymnyno November 4, 2010
I love it...rice a roni...the san franisco treat!!!