A Taste Of Tradition: Authentic Sayadieh Recipe

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Sayadieh (also spelled Siadeh) is a delightful Lebanese dish featuring fluffy basmati rice cooked with caramelized onions and crispy vermicelli noodles. The interplay of textures and flavors makes it a crowd-pleaser, perfect for vegetarians and a fantastic addition to any potluck or weeknight meal. Let’s dive into what you’ll need and how to create this culinary gem.



2 cups basmati rice, rinsed

  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup vermicelli noodles
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • Directions:

    1. Rinse the Rice: In a fine-mesh strainer, thoroughly rinse the basmati rice under cold running water until the water runs clear. This removes excess starch, preventing the rice from becoming sticky.

    2. Caramelize the Onions: Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until softened and beautifully caramelized. Patience is key here! The golden brown color adds a rich depth of flavor.

    3. Toast the Vermicelli: While the onions caramelize, heat a separate pan over medium heat. Add the vermicelli noodles and toast them for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Be mindful not to burn them; the desired color is a light golden brown.

    4. Spice it Up: Add the turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt to the caramelized onions in the pot. Stir to coat the onions evenly with the spices.

    5. Build the Layers: In the pot with the seasoned onions, spread out the rinsed basmati rice in an even layer. Pour the vegetable broth and lemon juice over the rice.

    6. The Water Trick: Carefully pour the 3 cups of water around the edges of the pot, avoiding disturbing the rice layer. This layering technique helps achieve fluffy, separate rice grains.

    7. Bring to a Boil: Increase the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil.

    8. Simmer and Steam: Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover the pot tightly with a lid, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and all the liquid has been absorbed.

    9. The Finishing Touch: After simmering, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for an additional 10 minutes. This allows the rice to steam further and develop its final texture.

    10. Fluff and Serve: Gently fluff the rice with a fork before serving. Top with the toasted vermicelli noodles for a delightful textural contrast.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving):

    Calories: Approximately 350 (depending on the oil used)
    Fat: 10g
    Carbohydrates: 50g
    Protein: 5g


    Sayadieh is a vibrant and flavorful dish that’s both simple to prepare and undeniably delicious. The caramelized onions add a touch of sweetness, while the toasted vermicelli adds a delightful crunch. It’s a vegetarian masterpiece that will impress your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    1. Can I substitute brown rice for basmati rice?

    Yes, you can substitute brown rice for basmati rice. However, keep in mind that brown rice has a longer cooking time. Adjust the cooking time accordingly, adding more water if needed, to ensure the brown rice cooks through completely.

    2. What can I serve with Sayadieh?

    Sayadieh pairs well with a variety of dishes. Consider roasted vegetables, a simple salad with lemon vinaigrette, or grilled chicken or fish for a more substantial meal.

    3. Can I make Sayadieh ahead of time?

    Yes, Sayadieh can be made ahead of time. Allow the dish to cool completely and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a covered pan on the stovetop or in the microwave.

    4. How do I reheat Sayadieh without drying it out?

    To reheat Sayadieh without drying it out, add a splash of water or vegetable broth to the pan before reheating. Cover the pan while reheating to trap moisture and prevent the rice from drying out.

    5. Is Sayadieh a vegan dish?