Top News

ERIN SULLEY: Treat your rice nice

I doubt you’ll look back at plain rice ever again after using these tips to create a flavorful rice dish. – Paul Pickett photo
I doubt you’ll look back at plain rice ever again after using these tips to create a flavorful rice dish. – Paul Pickett photo - Contributed

Don’t eat boring rice. Do I need to write any more than that? Seriously, with a little prep and imagination you’ll never have to eat plain ol’ bland rice again.

Lime, lemon or orange zest is a great addition to a rice dish.
Lime, lemon or orange zest is a great addition to a rice dish.

Rice will become your new fav dish.
Not that there’s anything wrong with plain rice, other than being a starchy filler. The thing is, why limit yourself to plain rice when you can add an abundance of flavor? Have you ever thought about all the flava flav with the addition of different liquids or ingredients? Just look at the pictures in this column. Long-grain rice filled with toasted cashews, cilantro and lime juice.

Are you licking your lips yet? Me too! Thank goodness I’ve learned my lesson from writing this column on an empty stomach. Apparently, it has the same effect as going to the grocery store in an empty stomach.  

 

 

Add a little herb, nuts, and lime wedges on top for presentation and you’re all set for serving.
Add a little herb, nuts, and lime wedges on top for presentation and you’re all set for serving.
“I like rice. Rice is great if you want to eat two thousands of something.” – Mitch Hedberg
Rice is truly a staple for a lot of dishes. If fact, I would go so far as to say that rice is the most widely consumed food staple in the world. There’s a variety of rice’s with different textures and flavors; brown, white, basmati, arborio, jasmine and sticky rice. It lends itself to a limitless number of recipes. There’s chicken fried rice, Mexican fried rice, sushi, pilaf, risotto, biryani, curried rice, toasted garlic rice, lemon rice, tomato and garlic rice, risotto, pesto rice and the list goes on and on. Although all of those flavors are unique, there’s one thing that ties them all together – the deliciousness of a flavourful rice. 
There are many ways to add flavor. A quick and easy way is to use different liquids. All you have to do is substitute the water for a chicken, beef or vegetable broth. This blew my mind when I first did it. One, because of the difference in flavor just by using broth. Second, why the heck didn’t I know about doing this before? I mean really. It just makes sense, doesn’t it? If you want to experiment even further try adding coconut milk or juices.

 

 

Toasting nuts takes just a few minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
Toasting nuts takes just a few minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
“Don’t trust a hungry man to watch your rice.” – Tibetan Proverb
It doesn’t stop there my foodie friends. You’ve prepared your rice with a different liquid. How about adding some spice or herb? I love, love, love, adding either fresh cilantro or basil to my rice dish. If it’s a fresh herb, make sure you save a little bit for the end to sprinkle over top.
How about adding dried fruit, seeds, or nuts? I have to say, I enjoy all of those suggestions. Nuts are probably my favorite though. You can throw them into the rice dish right away I suppose, but it’s best to toast them. Toasting nuts brings out the oils and adds an enhanced flavor. You don’t want to overdo it, though. Simply turn on the burner, add your nuts to a pan and keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn. It doesn’t take long – a few minutes max.
How about this? Instead of thinking about rice as a base for your dish, try putting it as your main ingredient in your meal. Make a delicious rice dish and add your choice of meat, vegetables, beans or lentils.

 

 

There’s nothing quite like chopped up fresh herbs to add to your dish. Add to taste.
There’s nothing quite like chopped up fresh herbs to add to your dish. Add to taste.
“I’m all over it like white on rice.” – Unknown
Remember one of my previous recipes about bits and bobs? Rice pairs well with just about any type of left over or bits and bobs in the fridge. A little of this and a little of that – sure you’ll end up using all your scraps before grocery day. Bonus!
You may indeed just want pure plain rice, and that’s OK. But if you’re feeling adventurous and looking to spice up your rice dish, why not try expanding on your cooking skills? At least, now you have options if you’re interested in changing it up.

Happy cooking!
 

Erin Sulley is a self-confessed foodie who lives in Mount Pearl. Email erinmsulley@gmail.com. Twitter @ErinSulley Instagram @erinsulley

Previous columns:

ERIN SULLEY: Say I love you with food

ERIN SULLEY: Bits and Bobs

Recent Stories