* I swear these raisins are not like other raisins (sorry I know that makes them sound like pick-me raisins). But you can leave them out if you really hate raisins. I explain at the top of the blog post, so feel free to give it a read if you’re curious. Or leave them out if you need to—you do you!
** You can buy pre-broken vermicelli in Middle Eastern markets and sometimes the international aisle of the supermarket (sh’arieh in Arabic, tel şehriye in Turkish).
If you can’t find that, buy vermicelli egg noodles and crush them up with your hands. If you go the vermicelli egg noodle route, they should be wheat-based (not rice-based), usually made with semolina. If you’re crushing up your own noodles, make sure they’re crushed very compactly (particularly if you’re not measuring with weight). If they’re loosely packed and not well-crushed, 1 cup won’t be enough, which will mean there will be too much water, which will result in soggy rice. Or use a scale and don’t even sweat it.
To make this recipe gluten free, you can even use crushed up gluten free angel hair/capellini, or even gluten free spaghetti.
I’ve even used regular old broken-up spaghetti in a pinch when I didn’t have any vermicelli around. It’s not exactly the same but totally works if you can’t find vermicelli anywhere.