Rice is one of my favorite foods because it’s so versatile and easy to prepare. Much as I love plain white rice though, there are times when I crave variety in my rice.
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Rice takes on the flavor of the foods, spices, and herbs that are added to it so that makes it very easy to change the flavor, appearance, and aroma of rice.
Many traditional meals are prepared using flavored rice as the basis of the meal, from cultures as diverse as Japan, China, Italy, Spain, India, and many others. Pepper rice is easily made using hot, freshly cooked rice, which you top with fresh ground black pepper. You will need a pepper grinder for this, as the already ground black pepper in the little metal boxes just isn’t the same. Add enough ground pepper to give it taste and color, but not so much that you overwhelm the rice taste itself. See the photo for how your black pepper rice should look.
Fresh herbs, finely minced, can also be added to your hot rice. Just add a tablespoon or so, then fold the herbs gently into the rice. I like every herb I’ve ever tried this way, on hot rice, so pick your own favorite herbs to chop, and then add the herb to hot rice before serving.
Another way you can flavor freshly made hot rice is by topping it with the grated rind of either lemon, lime, or orange. You don’t need very much either, just about 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of finely grated rind folded into the hot rice is enough. Use organic citrus fruits, to avoid chemicals sprayed on the rinds. Try lemon and/or lime flavored rice with chicken or fish dishes and orange rice with pork and beef recipes.
Another way to easily flavor rice is to cook your flavoring right in the pot with the rice as you are preparing it. Substitute some of the rice cooking water with coconut milk, or pineapple juice for example, for a subtle, exotic taste treat.
You can also substitute things like hot green, or jasmine, tea, rose water, or even a small amount of coffee for part of the cooking water you would normally use when preparing your rice. These are delicious and different rice dishes.
Then there are the different meat and fish broths that you can substitute for all, or part, of the cooking water you use to prepare your rice in. Both are delicious added to rice.
You can also add a small amount of tamari sauce, instead of salt, to the cooking water as you prepare your rice. This makes a lovely brown colored rice that tastes wonderful.
Another way to quickly and easily make seasoned rice is to add a spice or herb to the rice as it is cooking. Using your standard rice cooking recipe, just make the addition of one spice or herb, usually in a very small amount, such as saffron, turmeric, bay leaf, sage, coriander, or cumin.
Usually you would want to use only one herb or spice for each pot of rice. Each herb or spice will impart it’s own unique flavor to the rice.
Try some of these ideas to prepare seasoned rice for yourself and you’ll see how easy it is to add different tastes, aromas, and even color to your homemade rice.
Rice is easy to prepare, and it’s very easy to add a subtle taste change to it, to enhance or contrast with the rest of the food in the meals you prepare for your family.
Children, especially, seem to enjoy some of the flavored rice dishes, especially the coconut and citrus rice dishes.