Riz Bi Har – an addictive recipe with eggplant, vegan Tzatziki sauce, and rice
Once upon a time, there was a local Ann Arbor restaurant called Sharayar. Whenever I ate there, I always ordered a dish called Riz Bi Har. They had lots of other good food on the menu too, but I really especially adored the Riz Bi Har, so I started to order it every time I went there.
The restaurant Sharayar was a favorite for many years of happy eating. It was a sad day when they closed.
After years without Riz Bi Har, I decided to undertake making my own.
I started by asking people on the Ann Arbor Parenting e-mail list, Arborparents, if they remembered the Riz Bi Har from Sharayar, and what they thought was in it.
People remembered eggplant, rice, cauliflower, other veggies, vermicelli noodles, and a tantalizing white garlicky sauce, wrapped in a cylinder of flatbread.
So, I set out to make that. My experiments led to something really good, even on the first try. But over time this dish has evolved into something less like Sharayar’s version and more truly my own.
The magic in this is the combination of eggplant with a creamy, tangy, garlicky, vegan Tzatziki sauce. All of the other ingredients in this recipe can be swapped around and the results will still taste good. As a variation, you can serve it in a bowl
instead of wrapped in a tortilla. You can swap around which vegetables you choose. If you are not a fan of eggplant, you can swap it out and replace it with some additional grilled or roasted veggies instead.
I am so glad that I tried making my own Riz Bi Har. If it was gone forever I would have missed it — it is very yummy and one of my favorite recipes.
Riz Bi Har - an addictive recipe with eggplant, vegan Tzatziki sauce, and rice
- 11 tortillas or a double batch of my homemade tortilla recipe, made with a little salt added to the batter
- Either tzatziki sauce - https://valeriesrecipes.com/ingredients/tzatziki-sauce-vegan-garlicky-tangy-addictive/ - or creamy white salad dressing (click to see my recipe for it)
- 1 small to medium sized eggplant
- 4 cups of assorted veggies can be red bell peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.
- optional: a 15-ounce can of beans eg. pinto beans
- olive oil
- brown rice
- Start cooking the rice, according to package directions.
- Cut the eggplant and other veggies (but not broccoli or cauliflower) into bite-sized pieces or half-inch cubes. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and some salt. Bake at 400 to 450 degrees, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are getting well-browned and the eggplant looks toasted.
- If the tortillas are not warm, warm them up.
- Inside each tortilla, place a few tablespoons of rice, a few tablespoons of veggies, a few tablespoons of tzatziki sauce, and optionally the beans, if you are including beans.
- Roll up the tortilla and serve! Or, if it is too full to roll, then fold it in half -- that works nicely too. Mine are always too full to roll! :)
Funny, I don’t remember this restaurant at all! I have often lamented the lack of good Middle Eastern restaurants in this town; I am spoiled because I work in Dearborn, home to many. This dish isn’t a traditional Middle Eastern one to my knowledge, I have never seen it anywhere else. This vintage restaurant review from Laura McReynolds review wasn’t all that positive about the place http://oldnews.aadl.org/taxonomy/term/36589 maybe that is why I never got there. Anyway, reading about it, the owners were Lebanese, so my guess is that the garlic sauce they served with this sandwich was probably toum…that is very traditional. Here is a recipe for it,and it is vegan: http://motherskitchen.blogspot.com/2014/11/chicken-shawarma-with-toum.html I am sorry that I missed this place….there still isn’t any good Middle Eastern in Ann Arbor.
Hi Cynthia! I meant to reply to your comment long ago, but a few days after you wrote it my life got turned upside down. :-(
I originally discovered Shahrayar from an Ann Arbor Observer review of them, a few years before the one by Laura McReynolds that you linked to. I think that review was by David Bloom, and it’s been a really long time since he was the Observer’s restaurant reviewer. It must have been the early 1990s when I first ate there.
Your recipe for Toum looks delicious! I once tried making a Middle Eastern emulsified garlic sauce recipe, but I didn’t get it emulsified enough, so I ended up making a lemony salty garlic oil. That was delicious, and I happily used it as an ingredient in other recipes until it was all used up. But it wasn’t the paste that I had been hoping for. Yours looks like it really worked — gorgeous!!