The addition of sha’riyya, or vermicelli, is common in Levantine cookery. Sha’riyya is Arabic for “hair,” which aptly describes the thin strands of vermicelli.
For more Sephardic holiday dishes, see The Best Sephardic Rosh Hashanah Recipes to Start off the Jewish New Year.
In a medium saucepan, toast the vermicelli in the vegetable oil over medium- low heat until it begins to brown. Watch the vermicelli carefully as it tends to burn quickly.
Add the rice to the vermicelli immediately and mix well. Add the salt and three cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the rice is fluffy.
To make a’hata (crispy rice), if desired, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and let the rice cook until the rice at the bottom of the saucepan begins to transform into a toasted crust, about one hour. Monitor the a’hata closely so that the rice does not burn.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Aromas of Aleppo (Ecco, 2007).