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Expand Your Repertoire Ten-fold with Rice Recipes

In many parts of Asia, rice is THE one thing that will never be missing from the table. Just as some people always have to have bread or potatoes with their meal, rice is the staple food in many Asian countries.

Rice

Rice Stalk

Rice grows wild in this part of the world, especially in Southeast Asia. It is said that rice was farmed first in Thailand, around 4000 BC. It didn’t take long for other countries such as China and India to learn how to cultivate rice as well.

Kinds of Rice

In the Western world, rice is not uncommon, although it is probably not eaten as much. Perhaps you are not that familiar with the different kinds of rice that you can use in the kitchen. Let’s take a look at the most common types and what kinds of dishes they are used for. Take note I said common, as there are more than 40,000 kinds of rice!

Rice is often classified according to the kind of grain. They are as follows.

Short Grain

Short grain rice is usually white or brown, and it is known for having a sticky consistency when cooked. Glutinous rice (also known as sticky rice), which is used for puddings, falls under this category. The Japanese-style rice also falls under this group. This kind of rice is best for sushi, rice balls, sweet snacks and desserts, and risotto.

Medium Grain

Medium grain rice can also be brown or white (and even other colors). As the name implies, the kernels are somewhat longer than the short grain rice. Furthermore, medium grain rice is less sticky. Medium grain rice can also be used for risotto, but is more often used for soups, side dishes, and salads.

Long Grain

Long grain rice has the longest kernels and is driest when cooked. The kernels don’t stick to each other when cooked properly. This kind of rice is perfect for fried rice, pilaf, paella, salads, and similar dishes. You will most often encounter this kind of rice in Indian cuisine (Basmati rice) and Thai cuisine (Jasmine rice).

Tips for Cooking Rice

Fried Rice

Fried Rice

Cooking rice is one of the easiest things in the world. It’s just like boiling an egg. Then again, we all know just how much can go wrong when you cook rice. I have heard many a horror story about rice disasters. What is supposed to be simple sometimes just ends up to be rather difficult after all. So how can you make sure that you cook the perfect rice dish?

  1. Make sure you use the right kind of rice. If you’re cooking pudding or some other sticky concoction, use short grain rice. If you’re making Chinese fried rice, use long grain. For risotto, you can use either short or medium grain.
  2. Before you rinse the rice, check the label. It is usually recommended that you rinse the rice before cooking. This removes the excess starch. However, there are certain brands that should NOT be rinsed. These are the kinds that are enriched using a method which coats the rice grains with nutrients. If you rinse this kind of rice, then you will end up throwing away the extra money you paid for it.
  3. Soak your rice in water before cooking if you’re short on time. This will make the cooking time shorter.
  4. If possible, use leftover rice for fried rice.

Rice Recipes

Fried Rice

Rice recipes

Easy Chinese Egg Fried Rice

Frying, or stir-frying, might just be the most popular way of preparing rice. Whether it is or not, fried rice is definitely always welcome at my table. There are many variations of fried rice, but I think it is just right to give this Easy Chinese Egg Fried Ricerecipe the first mention. It’s basic, but always good!

If you need more meat in your rice, then the Indonesian version, Nasi Goreng, will hit the spot for you. This Caribbean Chicken Fried Rice recipe looks interesting, and so does this recipe for Fried Rice and Ham!

Personally, I am a sucker for fried rice with seafood. Forget my allergies – this Crab Fried Rice recipe and Shrimp Fried Rice recipe will make me happy anytime. That’s what Claritin is for! ;)

Of course, we can’t forget vegetarian fried rice. Here are two recipes to choose from: Vegetable Fried Rice and Vegetarian Fried Rice.

Steamed/Boiled/Sushi Rice

Sushi Rice Recipe

Best Ever Sushi Rice

The simplest way to make rice is to steam it or boil it. This is a good base for many other dishes such as stir-fried vegetables or meat, stews, and fried fish or meat. In my opinion, this method of preparing rice brings out the natural flavor and texture of rice, so it really is imperative that you use the best kind that you can find. Nothing beats a steaming bowl of freshly cooked rice! This is basically how one prepares sushi rice – minus the vinegar, which is usually an ingredient for sushi rice.

Here’s how to make the best sushi rice without too much of an effort. Here’s another option – Perfect Sushi Rice.

If you don’t like sushi, you can still enjoy rice that is boiled or steamed. This Puerto Rican Steamed Rice recipe looks interesting. And if you like Spanish flavors, then this recipe for Best Spanish Rice will catch your fancy.

Here’s one of my favorites, though: Coconut Rice. It goes so well with so many dishes, but I like it with curry-based ones.

Other Delicious Rice Recipes

Rice recipes

Salmon and Pesto with Rice

Depending on how you make rice, it can be a side dish, part of the main course, or the main dish itself. You just have to play around with the combination of ingredients – you have a very versatile food item in rice. I think one of the most delicious combinations is this: salmon, pesto, and rice; and I don’t think many would disagree!

If you like ground beef, then you ought to give this Creole Black-Eyed Peas and Rice recipe a try. For a cheesy casserole, it is hard to beat this Tex-Mex Chicken and Rice Bake. And of course, we can’t forget bacon, can we?

When it comes to salad, incorporating rice is also a great idea. Here are some rice salad recipes that you might like.

It’s National Rice Month, and if you have not cooked rice often enough, then it’s about time you did!

Yummy rice photos courtesy of Luigi Amasia and pirate johnny

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