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Maltese Baked Rice

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Resting Time 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb. (454gms) lean ground beef
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder or 1½ teaspoons if you'd like a more pronounced curry flavour.
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large can (28 oz/800gms) San Marzano whole tomatoes (or crushed tomatoes)
  • 2 cups (400gms) white rice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups (360ml) water
  • 2 cups (200gms) grated cheese, any kind, divided

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet or medium dutch oven. Cook the onion and garlic for 2 – 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the chunks with a spatula, until it is browned and all of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the salt, pepper, curry powder and oregano, and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes to release the flavours in the spices.
  • Add the tomatoes. If using whole canned tomatoes, crush each one in your fist (holding it over the pot) to mush it up before adding it to the pot, then add the juices from the can (or purée the tomatoes before adding, using an immersion blender.)
  • Cook the tomato sauce over medium heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  • Put the rice into a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) pan.
  • Pour the hot tomato/meat sauce over the rice.
  • Beat the eggs and mix them with the water. Pour them into the pan with the rice and sauce. Add 1 cup of the grated cheese.
  • Stir everything together, mixing it very well right in the baking dish.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered. Then open the oven and sprinkle the remaining cup of grated cheese over the casserole. Bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Scoop out portions to serve. Serve with a green salad and steamed vegetables (broccoli or carrots are nice).
  • Serves 6 to 8.

Notes

Either short grain or long grain rice would work for this dish. No need to rinse the rice, as the extra starch helps thicken the dish.
Check the rice occasionally throughout baking - if it looks like it's getting too dry, drizzle a little bit more boiling water over the top of the dish. There are variables that can affect how a dish turns out, like oven heat, age of rice, size of pan, liquid in tomatoes, etc, so adjust accordingly if needed.
If you'd like to halve this recipe, just use 1 egg and make it in an 8-inch (20cm) square pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Bake it for 45-50 minutes.