Sweet vermicelli pasta (Sh’ariyeh be-sukkar)

In the Lebanese kitchen, capellini or vermicelli pasta is used on a daily basis to make our rice and pasta pilaf. This is a sweet version I read about in Ina’am Atalla’s Simply Lebanese. Mrs Atalla recalls how this dessert used to be her mother’s standby when people would drop by for a visit (a common situation in the country).

Incidentally, I found a Kurdish recipe that is almost identical except instead of vermicelli  kadaif (shredded phyllo dough) is used.

I have added a touch of orange blossom water to the dish.

INGREDIENTS: 2 to 3 servings

  • 2 ounces of dry pasta (vermicelli or cappellini)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water (or rose water)
  • 1/3 cup of chopped pistachios


  1. Melt the butter in a frying pan (with a lid and a heavy bottom); add the broken up vermicelli or cappellini and stir until the pasta is caramel in color. While the pasta is toasting, boil the water. As soon as it has reached the desired color, pour the boiling water, taking care not to catch any splatters; let the water cook the pasta for the required 3 or 4 minutes.
  2. Right before the water is totally absorbed, pour the sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar in the water, adding some orange blossom water (or rose water) the last few seconds of cooking.
  3. Add the chopped pistachios and serve.

NOTE: The idea here is for the pasta to be moist and sweet, but not wet; if there is too much water left after the pasta is cooked, drain the excess water. Honey can be added instead of sugar.

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  1. Posted May 21, 2011 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    So refined and scrumptious looking!



  2. Posted May 21, 2011 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    Nous avons les mêmes lectures. j’avais déjà noté la version turque et maintenant je note la tienne.
    C’est délicieux.
    Bon week-end et à très bientôt.

  3. Posted May 21, 2011 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Looks wonderful!

    One of my favourite desserts is my mum’s vermicelli kheer (the vermicelli is known as senvian, I think). It’s like a rice pudding but using the pasta in place of rice. Love it!

  4. Posted May 21, 2011 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    This is something really interesting and tempting!

  5. Posted May 21, 2011 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    So lovely and delicate. The orange blossom must be such a wonderful touch.

  6. Posted May 21, 2011 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    love this pasta, we use it for fideo. I must try this version, yum


  7. Posted May 21, 2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    A very delicious sweet pasta! Love to have it any time!

  8. Posted May 21, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Quel adorable nid gourmand plein de saveurs épicées et sucrées….

  9. Posted May 21, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I am an Estonian girl living in Egypt, married to an Egyptian. In my Egyptian family this is very famous everyday dessert, so to say. Egyptians are not eating sweets daily, mostly just fresh fruits, but if they carve for something sweet and fast, this is the dish. My husband aunt is making it just with water, no rose water added. But probably you can add it in almost every arabic desset if you wish.
    Nice blog, nice pictures!

  10. Posted May 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Ha on fait exactement le meme dessert qu’on appelle aussi sheriye mais on appelle ca du helva au sheriye
    La version kurde utilise l’eau de rose, cardamome, pistache et/ou noix de coco

    Le qadayif tawa est une variante de qadayif tout simplement(atayef en libanais)

    Bon appetit c’est vrai que c’est sympa comme dessert :)

  11. Posted May 21, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    THats so marvellous and inviting sweet pasta..

  12. Posted May 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m such a pasta lover, this definitely appeals to me!

  13. Posted May 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    It looks a lot like a kadaifi pastry. Your presentation looks incredibly refined.

  14. Posted May 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Such a fascinating dish! This sounds delicious and looks so beautiful!

  15. Posted May 21, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    This sounds delightful. Beautiful presentation as well! I never would have thought to make sweet pasta – love it.

  16. Posted May 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I never heard of this kind of dessert before but it sounds wonderful to me!

  17. Posted May 22, 2011 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    wow!! this looks just lovely!!

  18. Posted May 23, 2011 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    What a beautiful last minute dessert to resort to.

  19. Posted May 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I love pasta, savory or sweet, and this is such a pretty presentation!

  20. Posted May 24, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Hmmm…pasta for dessert, huh? I’m sold! Love the way the vermicelli toasts up all golden. I’ll have to try this with the in-laws. – S

  21. Posted May 24, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous idea, sweet pasta. Got to try this some time. And I love the nest like presentation, very creative!

  22. Posted July 19, 2014 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    That’s so cool, i’m Kurdish and my cousin would make this all the time for me in Kurdistan. Today i just remembered it and tried to google the recipe and yours came up! Thanks!

  23. Joumana
    Posted July 20, 2014 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    @Helan: my pleasure!

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