A classic and traditional Greek side dish of rice cooked with fide
Frugality. Simplicity. Versatility. These are definitely values that homemakers of years gone by looked for in recipes that they would prepare for their families. You can be sure that women in villages all over Greece, and our mom when she came to Canada, would often make this side dish of rice with fide to serve their families. More economical and easier than this is hard to come by!
Everyday meals had to be filling and made of items that homemakers easily had on hand. But also, the recipes needed to be delicious, in order to satisfy hunger and palate. Rice with fide, although simple, is able to do both.
Our mother would often make rice with fide to serve as a side to some chicken or souvlaki. Any leftovers she would serve the next day, often with some peas or cooked lentils mixed in; this makes a great take-along lunch. And, her liquid would often be some of the cooking water left over from boiling chicken for avgolemono soup or from boiling meat that would then be used for soup.
What is fide?
Fide, sometimes spelled fithe, is a thin pasta cut quite short. Similar to angel hair pasta but much shorter or to vermicelli. It is often used to make fide soup, or chicken noodle soup. If you can’t find Greek fide, you could use angel hair pasta that you cut up, or small vermicelli noodles.
Can I use various liquids to make rice with fide?
You can definitely. The flavour of your liquid, will change the flavour of your final dish. Although you can use plain water, we prefer to either use a vegetable, chicken or beef bouillon cube dissolved in the water. Otherwise, home made or store bought veggie, chicken or beef broth would be delicious as well.
Can I toast my fide in butter instead of olive oil?
Yes, you can. Again, the flavour of the final product will change if you do that. Our parents rarely use butter in cooking and therefore we opt for olive oil; it is what we are familiar with, and is more healthy. At the same time, our mother would occasionally add a little bit of Nea Fytini to the pot when toasting the fide. Nea Fytini is a Greek vegetable shortening, with quite a unique taste. Occasionally, and in moderation, Nea Fytini is a great treat. We have spoken about it before in our recipe for Pasta with Nea Fytini.
Do I have to use brown rice in this recipe?
Actually, brown rice is our own variation; our mother always used white Carolina or long grain rice for this recipe. But we prefer the nutty taste and firmer texture of brown rice, to say nothing of its nutritional benefits. At the same time, you can use any rice you like; adjust your cooking time and the amount of liquid you will need accordingly (check with your rice packaging).
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