Lebanese rice is a classic, Middle Eastern style rice pilaf with spiced meat that is an easy one pot meal to throw together. Served alone or as rice stuffing mixture- an easy family favorite.
What is Lebanese Rice?
Lebanese rice is known as hashweh in Arabic. That translates literally into “stuffing”. This rice mixture is commonly used to stuff items (like filo pockets). Hashweh in it’s simplest form is made of spiced rice and spiced ground meat.
The rice: I use basmati rice that I presoak for 15 minutes or so, then rinse until the water runs clear to remove any excess starchiness
The meat: You can use either minced lamb or minced beef. I’ve used both depending on what I have in the fridge or freezer. This post gives you full details on how to cook minced meat, Middle Eastern style.
The spices: seven spices, or all spice are essential. Cinnamon comes next, along with salt and pepper. That’s how I make it! That simple. Some people add cumin or ground coriander or a bunch of other things, but I find that these give just the right flavour I need.
The extras: We always use frozen peas. You don’t need to pre-thaw the peas completely, just rinse them a little to get rid of any ice chunks and throw them in the pot. We sometimes add frozen corn too, or some of that frozen pre mixed pea/corn/carrots. It’s peas that are always the common denominator- they really help turn the Lebanese rice into a complete meal.
Ratio of water to basmati rice:
My family has always done it this way: 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of water. The water will end up covering the rice by a 1/2 inch or so, and will give you fluffy rice that still holds its shape and isn’t mushy.
What to serve Lebanese rice with:
Use Lebanese rice as a stuffing mixture, (like for stuffing a chicken before roasting, or stuffing filo pockets of dough).
It can also be eaten alone, with toasted pine nuts (find method in recipe notes) and a side of yogurt cucumber salad, like the one outlined in this recipe. Some people choose to top it with shredded chicken, which makes another delicious meal.
Storing leftover rice:
Leftover rice can be refrigerated tightly covered and stored for 3-4 days.
Lebanese Rice – Hashweh
For the spiced meat:
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 small red onions, diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 500 g ground beef or lamb* 1 lb
- 1 tsp all spice or seven spices
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2-1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper to taste
For the rice:
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 3.5 cups water
- 200 g frozen peas
- pinch salt, pepper, and seven spices/all spices
- toasted pine nuts and slivered almonds** See recipe notes
- fresh chopped parsley
For the minced meat:
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the diced onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened, stirring continuously.
- Add the crushed garlic, and cook for a further minute or so, then add the minced lamb.
- Cook for a minute, breaking apart any clumps of meat with a wooden spoon, then add all the spices (seven spice or all spice, cinnamon, salt and black pepper). Continue cooking, a good 6-8 minutes until lamb is all cooked through and brown with no pink bits remaining. Keep stirring and breaking apart clumps of meat through out- you can even use a potato masher to break the meat apart a little.
- If desired, drain any extra fat. Taste the mince and adjust for seasoning.
For the rice:
- Soak the basmati rice for 15-20 minutes, then drain and rinse with water until water runs clear.
- To a large saucepan, add the minced meat (I don't always use all of it, I usually use around 300 grams or so), plus the drained basmati rice, the frozen peas, and 3.5 cups of water. Sprinkle with a big pinch of salt, pepper, and some additional all spice or seven spices. Stir to combine.
- Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil, uncovered, then cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce heat to a low simmer, and simmer for 20 minutes or until water is all absorbed. Remove pan from heat but let it sit covered for an additional 10 minutes, then uncover and fluff with a fork.
- Garnish with toasted pine nuts/almonds (See notes) and chopped parsley, if desired
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