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Browned in Butter Sha’reyya

Browned in Butter Sha’reyya

Served for a mid-week late lunch or early dinner, Egyptian Sha’reya is a great comfort food, especially on cold winter nights.
By Sarah Khanna

Broken up and easy to eat.

Steamed rice is not a common occurrence in the average Egyptian home. We like to coat our rice in butter or ghee before letting it drink up the liquid it cooks in.  This way and if we cook it for the right amount of time, we can guarantee that each rice grain is an individual, with a personality of its own. It will grow to shine and shun its fellow sister grains when they come too close. Glistening in the light, rice in an Egyptian kitchen doesn’t smell of rice. It smells of butter.

Browned in butter before adding water.

Apart from buttered rice, we also enjoy adding Sha’reyya, or fried vermicelli to the pot, mixing it into the rice to get the best of both rice and pasta worlds. Vermicelli, always browned before cooking, is also cooked alone as a side dish. On occasion, dinner or “dessert dinners”, where we’ve already had a big meal for lunch (being the main meal of the day) and can allow ourselves or our kids a sweet treat for dinner, comprises of browned-in-butter vermicelli and sugar, sprinkled and mixed in. Some people add milk while cooking. I prefer the delicate crunch of some plain white caster sugar.

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Allow it to cook at a gentle simmer.

Here’s a recipe for the basic Egyptian sha’reyya. To sweeten, cook without salt and sprinkle with sugar in the last minute.

Serve steaming hot.
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Browned-in-butter Vermicelli

  • Author: Sarah Khanna
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


Served for a mid-week late lunch or early dinner, Egyptian Sha’reya is a great comfort food, especially on cold winter nights.


  • Egyptian Vermicelli (Sha’reyya)
  • 500 grams/ 1 lb. of uncooked vermicelli
  • 1 full tablespoon of butter or ghee
  • 2 cups water
  • salt or sugar to taste


  1. Break up your vermicelli into small equal bits.
  2. Fry in butter or ghee until it reaches a golden brown color.
  3. Add the water and salt and bring to a boil.
  4. When the water seems almost absorbed, lower your heat and continue to cook until done (al dente).
  5. Serve.
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