If there is any recipe that I always get requests for, it is this one. This recipe was made infamous by my mother, as any time we had a dinner party, this was how rice was served. Well, the apple did not fall far from the tree, and every time I have guests over, this is the rice that I make. I only associate this rice with guests, so I very rarely make it for a regular weeknight dinner for the family. I should just call it “ruz lil 3zooma”, which means rice for house guests. Ha!
Anyway, there are a few key things to remember about making this rice. One, you have to make a batch of fresh white rice. If you haven’t mastered that, I provide the recipe below. This is probably the only thing that I measure when I cook, and that was after many miserable experiences with soggy rice. You could just get a rice cooker and call it a day though. The second thing to remember is to always keep your nuts in the freezer. Nuts are naturally oily, and keeping them at room temperature could cause them to go rancid. Nobody wants no nasty rancid nuts. Eww. I have a few small jars that I keep in the freezer – pinenuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios. Those are my go-to nuts, and they last for quite some time in the freezer. Lastly, you can really use any beef here. When I have a large dinner party, I always buy mass quantities of meat, and I always have a little left over. For the dish, you don’t really need more than about 1/3 lb of ground beef or of stir-fry beef. The important thing is the spice combination. I always use seven-spice because the cinnamon and nutmeg create a nice warm flavor that compliments the nuts nicely. If you have never used seven-spice, then you haven’t lived. I am kidding, but seriously, get some. It is commonly sold at Middle Eastern markets, and online. Seven spice is a delicious combination of nutmeg, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander and cloves. Every brand has a different ratio, but for the most part the predominant flavor is the nutmeg and cinnamon. (Check out the great Annisa Helou’s recipe for seven spice.)
From start to finish, this takes exactly 20 minutes, which is how long it takes to cook the rice. Easy peasy, and a great addition to the dinner table! You can also get creative and add various items to the meat mixture – try raisins, cranberries, or different nuts like hazelnuts. All taste great with beef and rice. Enjoy!