Rice is a favorite food because it's so versatile and easy to prepare. Rice takes on the flavor of the foods, spices and herbs that are added to it, making it easy to change the flavor, appearance and aroma of rice. Many traditional meals from cultures around the world are prepared using flavored rice as the basis of the meal.
Pepper rice is easily made by topping hot, freshly cooked rice with freshly 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 provide flavor and color, but not so much that you overwhelm the rice taste itself.
Fresh herbs, finely minced, can also be added to your hot rice. Just add a tablespoon or so of your favorite herb or herbs, then fold gently into hot rice just before serving. Fresh basil, cilantro, parsley, thyme and rosemary are all herbs that go well with rice.
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 1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. 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 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.
Try cooking your rice in various meat or fish broths or even vegetable broth instead of water. You can also add a small amount of tamari or soy sauce, instead of salt, to the cooking water as you prepare your rice.
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.