I got this recipe years ago from a former co-worker when I was a wage slave. For full  disclosure: I included the recipe in my first cookbook, Puerto Rican Cuisine in America (Running Press) since I needed additional rice recipes at the time. I titled the recipe Arroz de Persa (Persian Rice), and it is the same recipe we are doing today. In that dish I noted that, following my Nuyorican influence, I like to add peas to the rice, and sometimes olives and pimentos. This time around I experimented with it and added canned pigeon peas. Arroz con Gandules, rice and pigeon peas, is one of the staples in Puerto Rican cooking. So I thought I’d do the same with Persian Rice. I guess you could call this a fusion dish. Whatever, it’s delicious. Note that, if you can’t find pigeon peas, you can substitute a package of frozen green peas,

This entrée would make a great side dish to any meal, be it beef, chicken or pork. In this instance, we serve it with salmon.



1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup vermicelli or thin spaghetti, broken up into 1-2 inch pieces
Water or chicken broth
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup rice
1 15-ounce can pigeon peas, drained


  1. Heat oil in a skillet or saucepan. Add vermicelli and stir-fry until golden brown.
  2. Add water or broth to cover by ¼ inch, and salt. Add rice and mix well.
  3. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  4. Add pigeon peas and stir to combine. Cover again and simmer another 10 minutes.
    Yield: 4 servings.