Flavoring rice

Add flavor and color to rice to get fun, delicious meals in under half an hour.

Rice makes healthy side dishes or simple salad meals. Combine cooked rice with fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, or cheese, altering the recipes for your family's tastes. You will be able to prepare fun, interesting meals using fresh herbs and ingredients ready in under half an hour.

Tips for flavoring rice

Add flavor and color to rice by using stock or other cooking liquid, instead of water. Flavored rice makes an interesting side dish and takes well to other savory additions.

Combine cooked rice with fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, or cheese. Cold rice mixed with equally cold vegetables, meat, or fish, is the base of great salads. Combining rice with other ingredients will increase the yield; fine to accommodate extra guests, to have leftovers, otherwise, reduce the quantity of rice.

Proportions estimated for 1 cup dry rice.

More flavor and color for rice

Butter flavored rice – add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 lemon slice for every 2 cups of rice. The butter melts in the cooking water coating the rice.

Meat flavor – use beef, or chicken, stock to cook the rice, instead of water. If using a stock cube, it probably won’t need any more salt.

Orange flavored rice– use half concentrated orange juice and half water as cooking liquid. Orange flavored rice is wonderful with chicken curry or with pork dishes.

Saffron flavored rice– boil ½ tsp saffron strands into 2 cups water for 2-3 minutes; use this as cooking liquid. The rice will turn a wonderful yellow. Mortar and pestle are an alternative; crush the strands, mix with a little warm water, and add it to the cooking liquid. Turmeric can be used, but its flavor is not so well suited to rice and the color is not so bright, as turmeric must be used in very small quantities.

Tomato flavor– add 2 Tbsp tomato paste to the cooking water, or use half water, half tomato juice as liquid to boil the rice.

Black rice - the black color usually comes from octopus ink. Dissolve ink in a little white wine before adding it to the pan, it will mix better with the liquid. Cooking ink should be found by the fish counter, or, as it is usually frozen, by the fish section in the freezers.

Rice in good company

Bacon and mushrooms– cook four rashers of bacon until crisp, chop and mix with the rice. Add 1 cup mushrooms slices sautéed in butter or olive oil. Serve with poached eggs for a light meal.

Curried rice– add 1tsp mild curry paste per cup of dry rice to the cooking water.

Herbed rice– add 3 Tbsp fresh chopped herbs to the butter flavored rice. Basil, chives, fennel leaves, parsley, thyme or verbain give a wonderful flavor.

Onions– Sautee a medium size onion, chopped, in 3 tbs olive oil, mix it with rice boiled in stock. Serve with grilled or broiled meat.

Peas or vegetable medley– Prepare tomato flavored rice. Add 2 cups of frozen peas or vegetable medley 5 minutes before finishing cooking. Serve with grilled, broiled, or baked fish.

Pineapple flavored rice– melt 1 Tbsp butter in a pan, add 1ts mustard, 1 (4 oz) can pineapple chunks, drained, and 1 Tbsp liquid from the can. Cook for 5 minutes. Great side dish with grilled or broiled pork chops.

Raisins– add 1 cup chopped raisins to the cooked rice; sauté for 3-4 minutes in clarified butter. Great with roasted chicken, or turkey, breast.

Suggestions for rice salads

Chicken and grapes– Mix 1 cup cooked chicken, diced, 1 cup seedless grapes, peeled, with the cooked rice. Dress with vinaigrette.

Mediterranean rice salad– mix the cooked rice with 2 tomatoes, diced, 8 anchovy fillets, halved, ½ cup black olives. Dress with vinaigrette. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil.

Rice Niçoise salad– mix 1 can (6 oz) tuna, drained, 1 cup cooked green beans, ½ cup olives with the cooked rice. Dress with vinaigrette Sprinkle 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil.

Add a little something

A few drops of lemon juice can help your rice grains from sticking while cooking.

Add chicken or vegetable stock to your water when cooking rice for extra flavor.

Add coconut milk to your water when cooking rice for extra flavor.

Boil rice in milk, coconut milk, or milk with added water, and add sugar for sweet flavor. These are the basis of rice puddings.