Oriental Rice Pilaf


        1 cup long grain rice
        1 cup water
        1 heaping Tbsp. samneh (or other shortening)
        1 tsp. salt
        Hot water
Rice may be cooked in many ways. This method produces a fluffy but slightly moist pilaf with only a slight flavor of the small amount of fat which is stirred in to separate the grains. In Lebanon, a plateful of this pilaf covered with laban makes a full meal.

If rice is purchased in bulk in Arab markets, it should be soaked in hot water for half an hour and then rinsed well to remove loose surface starch which would make the finished pilaf gummy. Packaged, washed rice need not be further cleaned. Melt samneh in heavy skillet and when smoking, add rice. Stir until each grain is well coated. Add salt and water. Place over high fire until mixture boils up well and rice begins to absorb the water. Then cover. Lower heat and cook without further stirring until tender. If all water is absorbed before rice is tender it may be necessary to add 1/4 cup more water. Remove from fire when tender, but leave covered in a warm place for 30 minutes, or place a wire rack between a very low flame and the pan. Stir very gently when ready to serve. Serves 4.

(From Food from the Arab World Marie Karam Khayat and Margaret Clark Keatinge, Khayat's, Beirut 1959)