Deliciousify my rice
March 12, 2019 10:11 AM   Subscribe

I recently discovered that I love rice, as long as it’s salted or has other spices/flavors in it. What else should I add to rice, that goes in the pot directly when I’m making it, that will taste delicious?

So far I’ve successfully made and enjoyed:

- salt and a bit of olive oil (preferably on Basmati rice for the extra flavor/aroma)
- salt, olive oil, and lots of turmeric powder
- salt, olive oil, and herbes de Provence (this one is only so-so)

I’m thinking also of Spanish-style yellow rice, tomatoey rice (I had it once in a university cafeteria that seemed to be run by Spanish speakers and it was amaaaaaaazing), and something like the Japanese-style rice that Trader Joe’s has with seaweed and probably furikake and other things. But I don’t have the first clue where to start for these.

I also have a bag of wild rice that sounds nutty and flavorful, but it was so expensive that it would be nice to have a recommended recipe to try with it, so I don’t waste it.

(I cook it on the stovetop in a regular pot.)
posted by danceswithlight to Food & Drink (70 answers total) 136 users marked this as a favorite
 
Any fuikake will be delicious. Enjoy.

Now, my suggestion, Beef Jerky. Seriously.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:13 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Coconut milk.
Chopped up dried tomatoes.

You can also make a pilaf which is more work than just dumping in the pot but not that much more work. That can involve sauteed onions and garlic.
posted by grouse at 10:16 AM on March 12 [4 favorites]


Salt, butter, and black pepper makes for some delicious rice.
posted by ldthomps at 10:17 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]


Try beef/chicken stock instead of water, especially for wild rice.
posted by cirgue at 10:19 AM on March 12 [26 favorites]


this doesnt meet your requirements of goes in the pot while you make the rice, but a finishing drizzle of ghee is delightful on some basmati rice.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:20 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Some butter and frozen peas folded in at the end... Very comfort food for me, at least.
posted by PistachioRoux at 10:21 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


cook the rice in chicken stock (a can of Swanson's Natural Goodness is fine) instead of water.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:24 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]


Tom Yum (Thai hot and sour soup) paste mixed in with rice as it cooks is delicious. Especially if your cooker is hot on the bottom - the sugar caramelizes.
posted by Candleman at 10:24 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]




Look for dried kombu. You can cut it into chunks with scissors. A few square inches of kombu in with a cup of rice will add incredible flavor. Drizzle with toasted sesame oil and bonito flakes, top with a fried egg, you've got a meal.
posted by Mizu at 10:27 AM on March 12 [6 favorites]


Anyone know how to recreate the tomatoey rice? It was like a thin coating of reddish paste-like stuff on white rice, as far as I can tell, but I’m pretty sure there was more flavors in it than just tomato paste.
posted by danceswithlight at 10:30 AM on March 12


Caramelized onions are delicious in basmati rice.
posted by peacheater at 10:35 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


It's this stuff: bouillion caldo de tomate.
posted by Mizu at 10:35 AM on March 12 [12 favorites]


I like to take cooked rice and add lemon juice from a lemon or two, along with a clove or two (or three or four) of minced, sauteed garlic. Put them all together in the same skillet you sauteed the garlic in and heat up, and then add some lemon zest on top.
posted by holborne at 10:36 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


I don't know how to create your version of the tomatoey rice, but I cook mine in chicken stock with a dollop of home-made tomato paste, and then throw in a handful of diced sun-dried (or oven-dried) tomatoes. Delicious!

(I also add a splash of white wine to the chicken stock).
posted by dancing_angel at 10:38 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I love rice cooked in chicken stock, and then throw in a handful of parmesean and some butter for fake risotto goodness. Its a waste of very good parmesean, but perfectly acceptable for the non Kraft, but not reggiano stuff.
posted by Ftsqg at 10:40 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Also, rice cooked normally with soy sauce and butter is good.
posted by Ftsqg at 10:41 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


I made risotto at work yesterday - aborio rice, chicken stock, onion, pancetta, smoked bacon, blue cheese, garlic, butter, spinach
posted by JonB at 10:43 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Tomatoey rice will be v. Good with salt, oil, tomato paste, a bunch of paprika, a bit of garlic and/or onion powder, and a pinch of oregano and/or thyme.

Add cumin if you’re feeling exciting
posted by Jon_Evil at 10:44 AM on March 12


When I'm too lazy to make actual Hainanese Chicken Rice (which is pretty much always), I just use Hainanese Chicken Rice paste. Definitely recommend either for delicious gingery, garlicky, chickeny rice.
posted by thebots at 10:50 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]


Jeera rice is basically "cook some whole spices in butter for a minute, then add rice and water and cook as normal." The easiest version is to use just salt and a teaspoon or two of cumin seeds. Other things you can add: a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves, a bay leaf or two, a small green chile.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:51 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]




Rice with chicken broth and a packet of Sazón Goya is the Maximum Laziness Approximation of Mexican restaurant rice. Slightly less lazy: cook the rice in a bit of oil over medium heat for a few minutes before adding the water. Also slightly less lazy: add some sauteed chopped onion or chopped bell pepper at the beginning. Or maybe: add a few teaspoons of tomato paste at the beginning. Or also: add some chopped green onion at the end.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:00 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


look up any recipe for spanish rice, that's what the tomatoey stuff is called.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:02 AM on March 12 [6 favorites]


star anise
half a lemon or lime
burnt half a lemon or lime (cut in half, sear on a dry skillet)
slightly crushed whole cardamom pods
cinnamon stick
whole cloves
a nubbin of ginger
coconut oil
coconut oil + shredded coconut (I like coconut flakes better than shreds)
pretty much any combination of the above

oh, and surprisingly tasty with a protein bonus: whole grains (including rice) cooked in whey (leftover from making cheese, draining yogurt, etc.)
posted by carrioncomfort at 11:10 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]


Hold my beer, MeFites, I got this.

Asking what you can put in rice, OP, is like asking what you can put between two slices of bread. The answer is: ALL OF THE THINGS. ANY OF THE THINGS. WHATEVER IT IS YOU LOVE WILL GO WITH RICE. But you can't just say that to a newbie. If you're introducing someone to "what goes well with bread", you have to tell them about the toast, the grilled cheese, the BLT, the bahn-mi, the kati roll, the paratha, and so on.

As a person from south India, I am well suited to introduce you to the Greatest Hits in Rice Over The Past Couple of Centuries With Special Focus On Indian Preparations. I won't give you an exhaustive list, because that's impossible. I'll give you three biggies to absolutely must-try in each category though - one "basic" type, one "outstanding example of the category" , and one "non-basic, amazing, and probably familiar to western palates" type.

1. The Mostly Rice With Flavorings/Spices:
- Rice with butter, salt, and pepper
- Puliyogare
- Risotto

2. Rice With Other Defining Ingredients In It:
- Khichri
- Biryani
- Paella

3. Other Separate/Standalone Dishes To Eat With Rice:
- Yogurt + salt
- Kootu with dill
- Literally any curry
posted by MiraK at 11:11 AM on March 12 [36 favorites]


I only like rice with extra flavoring so I often make risotto, though in a somewhat lazy manner. Or I get some chicken gravy and put it over rice. Best rice ever was made with homemade turkey stock.

You can make an easy baked rice with rice, OJ, broth, chicken(bone-in, skin-on for flavor), where you use OJ and chicken broth as the liquid, nestle a couple chicken breasts into the rice, bake till done. @ 45 mins at 375.
posted by theora55 at 11:14 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Anyone know how to recreate the tomatoey rice? It was like a thin coating of reddish paste-like stuff on white rice, as far as I can tell, but I’m pretty sure there was more flavors in it than just tomato paste.

A really easy and inexpensive way of playing with this is to cook your rice with Ro-Tel. Add a can of beans for protein.
posted by headnsouth at 11:15 AM on March 12 [7 favorites]


How about a slightly sweet rice? Put raw cut sweet potatoes or yams and cook along with rice..add coconut milk at the end
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 11:26 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


This copycat Chipotle cilantro lime rice Is basically lemon juice, lime juice, bay leaf and cilantro. The bay leaf really makes it, IMO.
posted by kittydelsol at 11:27 AM on March 12 [2 favorites]


We use hoisin sauce for stirfry and japanese style rice- simple, easy, readymade, delicious.
posted by aggielc at 11:34 AM on March 12


In graduate school, I used to cook a handful of rice with a can of stewed tomatoes to make ersatz Spanish rice. Perhaps that would come close to the tomatoey rice you're trying to create?
posted by DrGail at 11:37 AM on March 12


from Budget Bytes:

cilantro lime rice

savory coconut rice
posted by bagel at 11:42 AM on March 12 [3 favorites]


My default for subtle but flavored rice is salt + white pepper. Not like, punch you in the mouth flavor, but very much nicer than just salt.

Also nice: butter + fresh ground ginger (this gets into "fried rice" territory, depending on how you cook it; +garlic +sambal +egg and you've got a pretty nice fried rice).
posted by tocts at 11:48 AM on March 12


Persian rice. once you've had tadiq, theres no going back.
posted by speakeasy at 11:50 AM on March 12 [5 favorites]


(tbh I usually skip the cilantro but the salty lime flavor is super good without it)
posted by bagel at 11:53 AM on March 12


Gomashio goes on cooked rice, but is amazing. Toast a tablespoon of sesame seeds on a dry frying pan until they're golden and start popping. Mix with salt (enough to be noticeable - I'd start with a big pinch and adjust for taste). Sprinkle on cooked Japanese rice.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:55 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Just to note that Mexican/Spanish rice is not "rice with caldo de tomate." There's a process that starts with sauteeing dry rice and my friends that is something that takes practice, or at least it does me. You'll know if you got it wrong when the whole thing turns out like your normal and damp Rice-a-Roni. tl;dr: don't plan on it being what you're looking for the first several times.
posted by rhizome at 11:56 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]




These ideas are so great! Can anyone give rules of thumb for when to add the extra ingredients? Is it always before the boil, or are any of them mid-boil or after it’s done? Particularly with stuff like coconut milk that’s not a dry ingredient.
posted by danceswithlight at 12:20 PM on March 12


I used to toast the rice a bit in olive oil before putting in the water, and with the browning rice, a good handful of sesame seeds. I'm not sure they would be as good just boiled with the rice; the toasting definitely makes it with this addition. Increase the water a smidge too, if you do this.
posted by luaz at 12:24 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


I'm not reading 40 rice flavour replies, but in case nobody has said it: drop a stock cube into the water when cooking... veg or chicken.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:27 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


For Japanese rice add sushi seasoning(sweetened rice vinegar) to the pot when it's done cooking and let sit for a few minutes. Add the furikake after, to each serving. Use sushi rice (very short grain).
posted by jrobin276 at 12:34 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Instead of soy sauce and butter, you can add soy sauce and sesame oil (also killer on noodles!) to your rice after it's cooked. Best with sticky rice (glutinous/"sweet" rice).

I also really love the combination of sliced avocado and soy sauce on top of a nice medium grain brown rice.
posted by devrim at 1:02 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Lazy woman's spanish rice. Sauté rice in a little oil for a minute or two. Add liquid - I use 1 c of decent salsa (Herdes is what I usually have) and 1 scant cup of water to a cup of rice. Cook as usual - bring to boil, turn down, simmer for 15 minutes, turn of heat and let sit covered for another 10. yummy and fast. And yeah can throw in a can of drained beans or a fistful of frozen peas for more oomph.
posted by leslies at 1:17 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


ochazuke - green tea over cooked rice.

Sorta on the salty, sweet, umami - a rough teriyaki sauce is 2 parts soy, 2 parts mirin, 1 part sugar, maybe some minced ginger. Reduce by 1/3 if you want it thicker (also maybe potato starch) for meats and such, but it's pretty tasty by itself on rice. That and butter are pretty yum.

For tossing in vegetables it depends on the veg and fresh vs frozen and you just have to experiment a bit. Broccoli or peas tossed in too early turn yukky mush.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:21 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Is it always before the boil, or are any of them mid-boil or after it’s done? Particularly with stuff like coconut milk that’s not a dry ingredient.

I basically add stuff before the boil unless there's a good reason not to. The good reasons usually amount to "it will lose its flavor or texture if you boil it."

Examples of things I would add after the boil:
  1. Fresh herbs good for eating raw, like cilantro, parsley, or green onions
  2. Crispy things like sesame seeds or nori
  3. Vegetables that have a different cooking time than rice so you've cooked them separately (this includes most frozen ones, which will go mushy if you cook them with the rice)
  4. Cheese
Examples of things I would normally put in before the boil:
  1. Dry herbs and spices
  2. Flavorful liquids and goops: broth, wine, coconut milk, tomato paste, etc
  3. Aromatic vegetables, like onions, peppers, celery, garlic, etc, that are basically just there for flavor and that can totally go mushy without bothering anyone
  4. Other things that give a lot of flavor to the liquid you cook them in, like kombu, dried mushrooms, chunks of ginger, or meat
  5. Salt, if you're adding it as a separate ingredient (though you can err on the low-salt side here, and if you end up adding more salt at the end it's fine)
Examples of things I could go either way on:
  1. Fats like butter or oil
  2. "Bright" condiments like a squeeze of lemon or lime juice or a dash of hot sauce — they'll permeate the rice more if you add them before the boil, but they'll taste "brighter" and more distinct if you add them right before you eat

posted by nebulawindphone at 1:39 PM on March 12 [9 favorites]


A few cardamom pods. Seasoning to make 'dirty rice' (dont skip the cinnamon!). A cup or two of frozen veggie mix (corn, carrot, beans/peas). Cook rice in veggie or chicken broth. Make rice pudding!
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 1:55 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Lebanese rice pilaf. It's basmati rice with vermicelli pasta noodles. If you can't find those, take angel hair pasta, or any very thin pasta, and break some up. (tip: wrap the long pasta in a towel before snapping - prevents bits and crumbs flying all over.) You rinse and soak the rice to help equalize the cooking times. Then brown the noodles in oil and/or butter - getting them good and brown will add tons of flavor - then add in the rice and water, cover and simmer. Top with toasted nuts, like pine nuts or slivered almonds.

From Nigella Lawson, "Pilaf for a curry banquet" - no need to wait for a curry banquet, though, this goes with lots of things. It's rice with onion, cloves, cardamom pods, cumin, cinnamon stick, and nigella seeds. So it's very aromatic, and elevates the rice way above "plain," but isn't so assertive that it draws attention away from whatever you're serving with.
posted by dnash at 2:05 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


Cooking rice in stock tastes awesome. I use vegetable stock; storebought is good if homemade isn't to hand.

Also, I will never not extol the glories of the Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up family of seasonings. A little rice, a little butter, a little Krazy Mixed-Up
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:09 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


I do red rice with 1 c basmati, 1 cup broth, 1/2 cup salsa, maybe throw in some cumin or chili powder when sautéing rice in a little oil. 18 minutes on low after bringing to a boil and covering will do it. Toss in corn kernels at the end to steam if desired. Yummy.
posted by OneSmartMonkey at 3:32 PM on March 12


Meat eaters, bookmark this - I stopped eating meat and it’s one of the only things I miss:

Hainanese chicken and rice in a rice cooker

I used to make it without the pandan. So, so easy and delicious.
posted by estlin at 3:36 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


I've seen a few suggestions for star anise as well as for cardamom pods above, but I want to double-down on this specific combination. This has become my go-to set of ingredients for ALL the rice I will make forever and to the end of time:
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Star anise
  • Cardamom pods
I have a local Indian grocery store where I can stock up on the cardamom pods and star anise for a good price. The beauty here is the simplicity, you can just toss the stuff in and it never feels like a burden, it's just what you do. (Just be sure to take out them out before serving: a mouthful of cardamom is not pleasant).
posted by jeremias at 3:45 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


Found this randomly on the internet, and after some modifications it's amazingly easy and delicious! We'll also do a batch of black beans in the Instant Pot and have meals for week.

Mexican Red Rice

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
1 cup white rice, long grain, uncooked
1 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp salt
1-4 serrano or jalapeno pepper (depending on heat preference), whole with a slit cut lengthwise
1 sprig cilantro

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 4-5 minutes until translucent but not browned.

Add rice, broth, salt and tomato paste. Stir until tomato paste is dissolved.

Add peppers and cliantro. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat, leave lid on and rest for 10 minutes.

Fluff with fork, then serve!
posted by spinturtle at 4:37 PM on March 12 [4 favorites]


For the wild rice: while it is cooking sauté onions and mushrooms in butter in a separate pot. Pour your sauté mixture over the wild rice when the rice is cooked. Then add more butter.
posted by azalea_chant at 8:07 PM on March 12 [1 favorite]


A traditional (peasant) Cantonese cuisine staple are preserved ("lap" - "waxed"/ "oiled" - it's an ambient temperature confit + dehydration procedure) meats of various types.

Common cuts are duck legs, duck breasts, duck breasts with pork, 5-flower-belly (pork belly/ bacon). Sausages with pork, pork-liver are also really common and come in a wide variety of fattiness. There are commercial versions of all of these in vacuum packed plastic packaging, but the traditional kinds where the butcher makes it in-house and hang them behind the meat counter tend to be much better (and typically less fatty).

There are various ways of cooking them, but the easiest/ most common is to throw a piece on top of rice to be cooked in a cooker and it cooks with the rice. The flavours and oils seep into the rice, and provides a convenient source of protein (and salt). Typically, fairly small amounts are used - traditionally because of means, now more to avoid the sodium. Maybe the volume of a finger or two per serving of rice.

I see that you're in Montpellier... The closest Asian grocery store a quick google maps suggests that I'd expect to stock any of these are in Quebec. The next closest are in Latham, Cranston, with Lo's in Portsmouth the best bet.
posted by porpoise at 8:32 PM on March 12 [2 favorites]


In a similar vein, if you have a steaming tray for your rice cooker (if it has holes in it, lay down tin foil on top) vegetables like bok choi can be chopped up with minced/ ground pork, seasoned together with the usual suspects (soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, minced garlic, fine white pepper, corn starch for body) plus shrimp paste.

Some shrimp paste is fermented and macerated, others are just very finely ground or a mix. The very very highest quality are the equivalent of "coral" in lobsters - moderately developed (shrimp equivalent of) ovaries. Picked out by hand, macerated, sun dried, and bricked.

Definitely an acquired taste, though - and qualifies easily as "stinky" and "no microwaving in the office" (unless everyone else are connoisseurs as well). The sun dried stuff is very much less stinky but far far richer on the palate.

Anyway, you can mix this all up and throw it into the steamer in the rice cooker and cook it all together. Total volume shouldn't exceed ~1/3 the volume of the expected final volume of rice.
posted by porpoise at 8:46 PM on March 12


This is something you add in (quickly) after cooking the rice, but Tamago Kake Gohan is real good (technically a breakfast dish, but I like it anytime), especially if you add some soy sauce and nori and mirin.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 9:25 PM on March 12 [3 favorites]


No one has said saffron. So: saffron. It has a flavour as well as the nicer-than-turmeric colour.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 12:24 AM on March 13 [4 favorites]


This is my favorite recipe for flavored rice.
posted by heatvision at 4:39 AM on March 13


What?! No one has mentioned Jollof rice??? Spicy, red and tomato-y.
posted by permiechickie at 6:12 AM on March 13 [3 favorites]


NomNom Paleo's Magic Mushroom powder.
posted by mcbeth at 6:26 AM on March 13


Mexican/South American Green Rice. You make a garlicy, pesto-like sauce from cilantro (various recipe I've seen suggest using parsley or spinich as a second green), bloop it into toasted rice and cook. This seems like a decent step-by-step.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 7:22 AM on March 13 [1 favorite]


I make a simple pilaf with vegetable broth*, long-grain parboiled rice, lots of butter, julienned carrots, halved almonds, dried currants, cardamom, cinnamon, and coriander. Everything goes in the pan together and I let it simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes. It's delicious.

(* Usually made with Maggi bouillon cubes)
posted by aws17576 at 10:17 PM on March 13 [3 favorites]


I like Better than Boullion with Japanese brown shortgrain rice. For regular jasmine rice, I like it with chicken stock, butter, and Maggi seasoning at the end. There's also a version where you cook plain jasmine rice and put in some pork fat (usually skimmed off from a braise or a soup) and soy sauce and stir it up, it's very delicious.
posted by yueliang at 12:15 AM on March 30


Okay, maybe this needs a separate ask, but I recently read a mystery where black rice was a feature. That is, rice cooked with chocolate (and cinnamon in the mystery). Now I have googled and found Filipino and Indonesian and Mexican versions. I haven't tried any. Yet. So, any input on this? (The black rice in the story was thick enough to mold into a sea-shell shape [if I read the translation properly] which is very unlike the SE Asia versions. Also, the writer was Sicilian, writing in Italian, but the setting is definitely not Italy.)
posted by CCBC at 4:36 PM on March 30


A staple in our household is "Rice Thing".

Chop 1 onion

Heat a heavy bottom pot, dutch oven, or the like until hot, add some olive oil, add onions and stir. Add some salt to facilitate the Malliard reaction.

Sauté in about 7-10 min, stirring as needed to prevent burning.

(optional: also include some diced garlic, celery, carrot and peppers (fire-roasted bell peppers are nice) along with the onion for extra awesome)

add 1 cup rice, sauté until the rice kernels start to "crackle"

add 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (depending on the volume of vegetables added you may want to add another half cup of stock), a bay leaf, some tomato paste (optional, but tasty), cajun seasoning and some mushrooms.

Bring to a boil

reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 15 min

(optional: add meat if you are so inclined. Leftovers and sausage are good candidates. This should be precooked prior to adding to the pot, if you don't eat meat navy beans are also very tasty in the dish)

add veggies on top, don't stir them in, they will steam! (asparagus or brussels sprouts are favorites around here, but diced up broccoli etc would be good as well!)

cover and cook 10-15 more minutes or until veggies are tender

stir it all up and let it sit covered for 5 min

enjoy your nutritious food gloop!

(thanks to Mrs. thecoug for editing!)
posted by TheCoug at 9:01 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I can't believe this thread is still going! Y'all are so incredibly helpful - thank you thank you thank you!
posted by danceswithlight at 5:25 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Kaffir lime leaves. Available dried or grow your own - we've never watered or paid the bush any attention but it provides more leaves than we could ever use.
posted by trialex at 9:49 PM on April 1


Holy shitballs, y'all, Hainanese chicken rice. I bow down to the gods of sautéing aromatics and using broth as the liquid.
posted by danceswithlight at 8:06 PM on May 5 [4 favorites]


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