Pacha Rice


Pacha Rice

This is an Egyptian/North African version of a dish that, from what you can see, seems to be made all the way from Northern Africa, through Afghanistan to southern India.

There are a number of versions of pacha and not always veggie – in Afghanistan and some Middle Eastern countries, their versions are mainly meat based

This dish has a great texture, is aromatic, the flavors are subtle and you can easily eat it as is. That said, it goes really well with plain cooked lentils, steamed or stir-fried veggies, or any kind of a lentil or bean recipe.


3 tbsp of butter or oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp of dried thyme, or 4 sprigs of fresh
2 tbsp of fresh coriander, chopped
½ tsp of dried basil, or 5 or so leaves of fresh
½ tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of coriander seeds, crushed
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup of sultanas
1¼ cups of rice (any long grain rice will do)
2 cups of water
125g of vermicelli or angel hair pasta, cut or broken into pieces
1 tbsp of butter or oil
1/3 cup of blanched almonds, coarsely chopped



Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the butter/oil.

When melted/warm, add the onion and cook until translucent

Add the garlic, herbs, spices and seasonings.

Stir for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, and then add the sultanas and rice.

Stir so the rice is coated, then pour in the water
Stir, cover and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the rice has absorbed all the water and is tender, about 15-20 minutes depending on the rice used

While the rice is cooking, cook the vermicelli according to instructions, rinse and drain once cooked

Melt the remaining butter or heat oil in a frying pan over a low-medium heat and add the almonds.

When they begin to color, add the cooked pasta.

Fry until the pasta becomes crunchy and golden in places (I find that the mung bean vermicelli takes around 15 or so minutes to crisp up and probably doesn’t get as crunchy as a wheat pasta).

Stir into the cooked rice mixture and serve sprinkled with coriander leaves.

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