Fairly quick and easy to throw together, this Moroccan broken vermicelli (chaariya) dish features a buttery saffron sauce with onions and tomatoes. Don't be put off by the amount of butter – it adds delicious flavor and helps keep the fine noodle strands from sticking together.
Offer the vermicelli as a vegetarian light supper or as a side to meat dishes. For a beef or lamb variation, see the Moroccan Vermicelli with Meat and Sauce Recipe. Also try Seffa Medfouna, a sweet and savory steamed vermicelli dish.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
- ----- For the Sauce -----
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 to 6 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 2 large onions, very thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (optional)
- ----- For the Noodles -----
- 1 liter (or 4 cups) broth (beef, chicken or vegetable)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 500 g (or 1 lb.) broken vermicelli
- ----- Optional Garnish -----
- 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Edam cheese
Place all of the sauce ingredients in a deep skillet or large saucepan. Stir to combine and cover. Cook over medium heat for about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a thick sauce forms and the onions and tomatoes are soft. Discard the cinnamon stick. If using garlic, add it at this time and continue cooking the sauce, uncovered, until the garlic is fragrant and soft. Remove the sauce from the heat.
When the sauce has finished cooking, bring the broth and butter to a boil in another large pot. Wash the broken vermicelli two or three times in large bowls of water, drain, and add the vermicelli to the broth. Cook the pasta for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring gently several times, until almost tender. Immediately stir in the onion and tomato sauce, and leave the vermicelli on low heat for several minutes longer, or until it is tender and has absorbed most of the broth and sauce.
Arrange the vermicelli on a large serving platter and garnish with parsley and grated cheese. Serve immediately.