What do you put on plain white rice?
February 1, 2013 3:23 PM   Subscribe

I have seen people put several things on plain what rice to add some flavor, what do you use?

Some people use simple butter, some add soy sauce, some other flavorings to plain white rice to "flavor it up" a little. Aside from adding meat or veggies, what to you add to plain white rice to flavor it?

My wife's selection: Popcorn Seasoning (I thought that was...weird. After trying it, it is strangely addicting)
posted by Leenie to Food & Drink (71 answers total) 124 users marked this as a favorite
roasted sesame seeds
posted by gwint at 3:26 PM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

Ever since I was a little kid, a go-to comfort food of mine has been rice (usually jasmine or basmati) with butter and Cavender's Greek Seasoning. Yummm.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 3:27 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Furikake! But that's not particularly unique, because that's what it is for.
posted by sawdustbear at 3:28 PM on February 1, 2013 [15 favorites]

You can flavor it up by cooking it in broth instead of water.
posted by scratch at 3:29 PM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

posted by pullayup at 3:30 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

The reason why people put stuff on rice is because the way it is prepared in North America is not great. You need to try Koshihikari.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:30 PM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

I put chili power and lime zest in the water while cooking it. Yum.
posted by .kobayashi. at 3:31 PM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

A few of the common Indian spices tossed in the pot while it's cooking are nice. A split cardamom pod and a few coriander and cumin seeds are nice. Maybe an inch of cinnamon and a clove if you want to kick it up a notch
posted by Diablevert at 3:33 PM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

My mom has a recipe where she cooks it in orange juice. It's... orangy. But the same principle applies to many watery liquids - cook rice in it, and it'll usually end up tasting like you'd expect.
posted by cgg at 3:34 PM on February 1, 2013

Salsa! Chutney!
posted by raztaj at 3:34 PM on February 1, 2013

a glug of olive oil while it's cooking
posted by justjess at 3:35 PM on February 1, 2013

- peanut sauce
- saffron in the water while it's cooking
- more parsley and more black pepper than you'd think
posted by jessamyn at 3:36 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also try different varieties of rice! They each have their own flavour, sometimes subtle and sometimes not so subtle.
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:36 PM on February 1, 2013

I sprinkle stock powder on it for a really cheap alternative
posted by runincircles at 3:36 PM on February 1, 2013

butter, garlic, and chopped black olives
posted by amyms at 3:37 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Duck sauce
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:39 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Butter and cinnamon sugar. Or, I used to eat it that way when I was a kid.
posted by _Mona_ at 3:40 PM on February 1, 2013

Sriracha, especially the extra garlic variety.
posted by Muttoneer at 3:42 PM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]

Maybe a little Old Bay?
posted by jquinby at 3:44 PM on February 1, 2013

I usually make a little bit of Fina'dene sauce (Hafa Adai!) for my rice. Nothing beats the full version, but easy as that is I sometimes just get lazy and mix sriracha and soy sauces together for a poor-man's version. Tasty.

Also, if you chop some green peppers (like jalapeños) into a small jar, then fill that jar with sake and keep it in your fridge, that's awfully good over rice. My Japanese friend calls that 'Kore Kusu', though I don't know if that's a really 'thing' or she just made it up. Either way, it's good.
posted by Pecinpah at 3:45 PM on February 1, 2013

Butter and garlic. Ohhhhhhh man. White girl rice, as my Asian friends call it.

I like to breathe on them a lot when they make fun of me for eating it.

I am a super good friend otherwise.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 3:50 PM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

I ate it with foie gras last night. It tempered the richness of the paté without the added salt... and I couldn't stop reaching for more.
posted by drea at 3:55 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Butter, milk, and honey.
posted by Sassyfras at 4:01 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

(for calrose rice)
Fried egg, sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce.
posted by dottiechang at 4:06 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Less substantial: butter, then more butter, olive oil, salt.

More substantial: scrambled eggs and kimchi.
posted by daveliepmann at 4:08 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

hoisin sauce and diced scallions
posted by Abinadab at 4:09 PM on February 1, 2013

Two eggs over easy and a little soy sauce on top. It's heavenly.
posted by limeonaire at 4:09 PM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

Chili oil with crushed red peppers. Oh, I also cook my in beer not water.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:13 PM on February 1, 2013

I love reheating precooked rice in the microwave with a big dob of butter and a dash of soy.

Also a dash of rice wine vinegar is nice. I love cooking it in milk and evaporated milk to make a rice pudding then stirring in jam for sweetness. Poached egg is nice with a runny yolk.

Pretty much any herbs or spices you like in the cooking water can add a nice hit. My mum does it with garlic powder and crushed ginger.
posted by wwax at 4:20 PM on February 1, 2013

Basmati rice, Persian style: add some oil or butter, salt, some rosewater, and a pinch of saffron while it's steaming. Also optional: sour cherries, dried pomegranate seeds, dried/preserved orange peel, raisins, shredded carrots.
posted by yasaman at 4:21 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by AMyNameIs at 4:30 PM on February 1, 2013

Pork sung! (If you've got access to hot water, eating pork sung with congee and some scrambled egg rules.)

I think a friend of mine used to eat rice with a fried egg, mayonnaise, and ketchup, a habit that she picked up while backpacking across Russia. (To be honest I'm not sure I trust my memory wrt the ingredients so you might not want to either.)

If you're desperate/really like the flavor, you could try stirring in the powder from ramen flavor packets. As a poor college student I have perhaps done this more times than I like to admit.
posted by brieche at 4:34 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I second dottiechang and kalessin's recs. Nowadays I usually put a dash of sesame oil, a dash of soy sauce, ground black pepper and then mix it all up. If I have roasted seaweed from the Korean supermarket (you can buy it in convenient single-serve packs) then I make little rice packets and go to town.

I also grew up eating "cheese bap." A slice of American cheese over warm rice, usually also seasoned with some sesame oil and soy sauce, but not necessarily. Immigrant fusion!
posted by spamandkimchi at 4:41 PM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

When I was a kid, I would have brown sugar on my rice.
posted by eruonna at 4:43 PM on February 1, 2013

posted by exquisite_deluxe at 4:52 PM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]

Pickled ginger and cucumbers marinated in rice wine vinegar, salt, sugar, grated ginger, and sambal.
posted by mudpuppie at 5:00 PM on February 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

also, avocado slices with some rice vinegar and sesame seeds. some crumbles of seaweed to top it off.
posted by dottiechang at 5:07 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Chopped garlic, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Pat of butter if you're feeling decadent. OMG good.
posted by tatiana131 at 5:34 PM on February 1, 2013

posted by BlahLaLa at 5:48 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I add a little Chinese five spice powder to the cooking water. Or ground cumin. Plus olive oil.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 6:01 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I like to squeeze a little lime juice over my rice. I learned this little trick when I visited Thailand. Tasty!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:15 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rice with soy sauce and butter is one of my ultimate comfort foods. It's like the pure combined essence of carbs + fat and salty + umami.
posted by polymath at 6:21 PM on February 1, 2013

Butter and dried chives* added a few minutes before serving, with salt to taste. Fresh chives are great, but dried have a certain intense flavor that makes it different.

* high-quality, like Penzy's
posted by Room 641-A at 6:38 PM on February 1, 2013

I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned, but...Sushi vinegar, yum! Also, nutritional yeast.
posted by jrobin276 at 7:13 PM on February 1, 2013

I recently discovered Maruso soy sauce, which is amazing and absolutely the best soy sauce to put on plain white rice. It's pretty distinct from regular soy sauce, in that it's thicker and less salty (even trending a tiny bit towards sweet) and there's about a billion times more depth of flavor. I'll usually finish the dish off by adding broccoli or another vegetable to get some healthy into the mix.
posted by librarylis at 7:37 PM on February 1, 2013

A little bit of sliced hot peppers, lime juice, and shredded tuna.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:44 PM on February 1, 2013


Or, (and this is probably reaching beyond the initial question) cook it in half coconut milk, half broth. nom.
posted by gaspode at 7:53 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Kimchi or some pickled mustard greens.
posted by gyc at 7:57 PM on February 1, 2013

Cold-from-the-fridge sweet chili sauce on hot rice is the bomb.
posted by Kololo at 8:12 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Discovered by lucky accident: flax oil and Bragg's Liquid Aminos. So nutty (tasting) and delicious. Two great tastes that taste fantastic together, and good for ya too. Heat destroys the nutrients of flax oil, so mix it in at the table, after the rice is cooked. And don't salt the rice; the Bragg's is plenty salty. Yumm!
posted by theperfectcrime at 9:31 PM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you ever find yourself in possession of eggs where salmonella is not a risk, you might break a raw one over a bowl of steaming hot short-grain rice. Mix it well. The egg will cook a tiny bit and coat the rice. It is delicious, I swear.
posted by brina at 9:48 PM on February 1, 2013

Similar to butter and garlic, but with half the effort: find an Asian store and get a small tub of garlic-flavored margarine (i.e. "Star Margarine" brand). Scoop up a huge blob and mush it into hot rice. In hindsight, it probably wasn't very healthy, but kids of my generation grew up on this. I usually end up eating twice the amount of rice when I do this. Ugh.
posted by pimli at 10:01 PM on February 1, 2013

Always did gochujang and sesame oil. About 2tbsp of gochujang and 5ml sesame oil will make like 8oz of cooked rice tasty. You may want to turn 2tbsp to 2tsp, depending.
posted by curuinor at 10:16 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

My favorite is toasted white rice with butter--heat butter in skillet, add a thin layer of white rice, cook over low heat until the rice is browned and smells of toast. Serve with a dash of soy sauce, and, if you're feeling decadent, sesame oil. This is a fantastic breakfast if topped with some avocado or a fried egg.

Other popular toppings in my house include za'atar and lemon pepper.

My sister and daughter both love white rice with cinnamon sugar, as well as chocolate rice--hot rice mixed with a little butter and some melted chocolate. Not my deal, but apparently deeply appealing to some.
posted by MeghanC at 10:24 PM on February 1, 2013

OK, this goes way past add-in into full on recipe but right now I'm obsessed with yogurt rice.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:02 PM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sometimes for a snack I put a tablespoon or so of maple syrup over a dish of rice. Delicious.
posted by buttercup at 5:22 AM on February 2, 2013

On plain rice: Tamari.

For a Mexican-style thing, cook plain rice with chopped onion, a whole clove of garlic, a green chilli, a stock cube and some coriander leaf (cilantro). Discard the chilli and garlic before eating.
posted by ZipRibbons at 5:48 AM on February 2, 2013

Old School - butter, salt, and pepper.
posted by tmharris65 at 6:08 AM on February 2, 2013

Chopped garlic in soy sauce. Best if there's some time to let it soak.

If you pan-fry fish, keep a little oil and mix it with soy sauce, pour over rice preferably with your tasty tasty fish. Yum.
posted by undue influence at 6:37 AM on February 2, 2013

The base: toasted sesame oil, soy sauce (or really Bragg's Liquid Aminos).

Optional additions: drizzle of vinegar, dried seaweed strips, few drops of Liquid Smoke, fish sauce, red pepper flakes, grated ginger, nutritional yeast.
posted by valeries at 6:48 AM on February 2, 2013

Milk, butter, sugar. Cinnamon. Uhh, cotton candy, once. or twice. Some flavors of ice cream.
posted by Jacen at 8:07 AM on February 2, 2013

Cook 1 cup rice (long grain or arborio). Mix hot cooked rice with 1 to 1 1/2 tbl. olive oil, juice of 1 lime, and 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley. You can scale this up or down depending on how much rice you cook, and it goes nicely with a lot of different foods, including fish and shrimp.
posted by gudrun at 10:12 AM on February 2, 2013

Gongura pickle
posted by slenderloris at 1:53 PM on February 2, 2013

Something that I learnt from my relatives in Kerala: a liberal amount of coconut oil, salt, freshly ground pepper -- mix it into very hot rice. Strangely delicious!
posted by peacheater at 8:42 PM on February 2, 2013

I searched the thread and couldn't believe no one had said anchovies. Anchovies! A little goes a long way, of course.
posted by valrus at 9:20 AM on February 3, 2013

A college friend used to put cheap cheap tomato sauce and cheap shredded cheese on his rice. "Pizza rice!"

I like garlic elixir.
posted by knile at 4:59 AM on February 4, 2013

Kimchi, spicy bamboo shoots, rice seasoning (furikake) which comes in many flavors, century eggs. Oh and soy sauce of course.
posted by donio at 11:33 PM on February 5, 2013

Definitely cook it in stock and add black pepper.

Eating it with dried seaweed sheets is great (Korean style ones are more flavorful).

Worcestershire sauce.
posted by 23 at 1:49 AM on February 6, 2013

I love taking flavoured, roasted mini-seaweed sheets and picking the rice up by hand, sort of like a fillinf-less mini-sushi. This brand is available in my local asian grocery store and is heavy on the flavor, making it great for eating with plain steamed rice.
posted by molecicco at 6:34 AM on February 6, 2013

Maggi sauce.
Chili powder like Tajin (also a MUST in this house for pizza) (see if you can find it in a Mexican supermarket or similar).
Lime juice.
The sauce or meat juice of whatever else I cooked.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 8:43 PM on February 6, 2013

Fish sauce
posted by dgeiser13 at 11:58 AM on February 7, 2013

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