Makes 4 ample servings (serving a crowd?)

2 Tablespoons butter
a handful of fine egg noodles, soup noodles, or capellini in a pinch (between ½ and 1 oz)
1 ¼ cups rice
2 10½ oz cans of chicken broth
1 cube chicken bouillion (opt.)

Special equipment

a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid


Brown the noodles in half of the butter. Stir in the rice, coating the grains. Pour in the chicken broth and turn up the heat. When it boils, cover with the lid and turn down to the bearest simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat; fluff, stir in the remaining butter, and let it rest for a few minutes. Serve.


This is the barest form of the recipe. The only constants are 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid, some oil to coat the grains to prevent them from sticking, and no peaking while it's steaming. The rest is up to you.

Anglo-Saxon Americans grow up with meat and potatoes at every meal. Middle-Eastern Americans grow up with meat and pilaf; potatoes, when served, go to the side of the pilaf.

You can make this quite easily in the microwave by (1) browning the noodles in the butter on high for two minutes, (2) stirring in the rice, (3) adding the broth, (4) cooking for two minutes on high and an additional 18 on medium low, and (5) folding in the remaining butter. Or if you want to set the timer to cook while you're commuting, chuck all the ingredients into your microwave-proof pot, and set it to cook 2½ minutes on high and 18 minutes at medium low: you're done. But don't tell my grandmother I told you.


If you're using homemade chicken broth, you won't need the bouillion. If you're halving the recipe, you can shorten the time a bit. The noodles are optional; omit or subsitute onions. You can use part beef broth and part tomato sauce, as in Wiglaf's Spiced Red Offal®. Change your rice: long-grain, short-grain, basmati, bulghar wheat (especially with beef broth). Add pinenuts. Add apricots. Use some white wine.

Need more ideas? Toasted almonds, dates, lentils, tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms, mussels, flaming brandy. Still more? Look up pilau in the index of any Indian cookbook or plov in a Russian cookbook. Same word, same dish, different flavouring.

First served: Lughnasad 1995, can you belive it!
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Last modified: © July 1995