Cooking Ρύζι τηγανητό, Ryzi Tiganito With a Greek Grandmother, Greek Fried Rice Recipe

When I think fried rice, I immediately think of East Asian recipes, Chinese or Japanese, with soy sauce and ginger or garlic, definitely not European, definitely not Greek. But when I was in Crete, staying at my friend Vera's mother's house, her mother Maria was cooking rice that looked interesting and quite different from how I usually make rice. I asked her to teach me how to make Greek rice, and she told me that there are many different types, but she'll teach me to make Fry Rice [sic] (in her heavily Greek accented English) called ryzi tiganito in Greek, spelled Ρύζι τηγανητό in Greek. This fried rice is quite different than any other fried rice I've ever eaten, we made it two different times together, and I've made it again since I got back home, and made sure it worked with our local ingredients.

The recipe originally is with butter, and the first time I made it was with butter and it was amazing, but the second time I tried to see if I can make a vegan version; we made it with olive oil and even though it wasn't traditional, Maria pronounced it perfect, and said she now plans on incorporating it into her repertoire of recipes.

Maria used quite a lot of butter/oil in the recipe when she made it; I significantly reduced it and it came out just as wonderful. but I will admit that it was even better with the larger amount. I've included both amounts in the recipe.
Maria said to use a rice called blue bell or blue bonnet rice, but upon doing research that is just regular medium grained rice. Any will do.

Cooking Ρύζι τηγανητό, Ryzi Tiganito With a Greek Grandmother, Greek Fried Rice Recipe

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil or butter
2 1/2 cups medium grained rice
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon nigella seeds (optional, but makes it taste that much better)
5 cups water
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Sliver of potato or carrot (optional)

1. Heat up butter or oil on medium heat until very hot. If you aren't sure if it's hot enough, use a small sliver of potato or carrot and dip it in the oil. If the oil starts sizzling around it, it's hot enough for the next step.

2. Add the sesame seeds and nigella seeds and fry until starting to brown. Be careful that it doesn't burn.

3. Add the rice and mix it around until it starts sizzling.

4. Then flatten the rice as much as possible, and let it cook for approximately five minutes. Mix occasionally, flattening it in between each time that you mix it. "Make sure there's no mountains" Maria instructed. Scrape down the rice to make sure there's none on the sides and it's all flat against the bottom.


5. Add black pepper and salt, then one cup of warm water, mixing it well. Then add the rest of the water, and it can be cold.

6. Bring to a boil uncovered, mixing it often. Once its at rolling boil, cook for six minutes covered, on medium high, mixing occasionally.

7. Add this point, check the consistency of the rice by mixing it. You want it to at least look this wet. If it looks drier than this, add more water and mix well.

8. Cover with a towel around then cover, for 8 to 10 minutes. If you have an electric stove, turn off the burner but leave it on the cooling element. If you have a gas stove, put it on the lowest flame.

9. Give it a good mix and enjoy!

This works as a tasty side dish with any meal. I had it with a side of veggie stir fry.

This way of making rice is very different from how I always make rice, because my rule has always been don't touch the rice once its in the pan, keep it covered always, and leave it be. But this comes out quite amazingly. 

Have you ever made any Greek recipes? What were they? How do you generally make rice? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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