“Rice” and shine, everyone! It’s roundup time.
It’s no secret that here at One Green Planet, we’re huge fans of rice in all of its many shapes and forms. Whether it’s serving as the base of a savory bowl or being transformed into a sticky, sweet treat, this massively important food crop is beloved by cultures across the globe.
Below, we’ve chosen four different international regions and showcased how they use rice in a diverse and spanning number of dishes. Check out our top 15 picks from the Food Monster App below and let us know what you think!
Indian Rice Dishes
Dum Biriyani is never a small batch affair, but this delicious and fragrant dish serves just two! Dum or “dum pukht” is an ancient cooking technique that involved cooking rice, meat, and vegetables in a sealed container for several hours over very low heat. Hot coals are often added to the top for even cooking on the top as the fire cooks the bottom, and the vessel is sealed shut with dough. While you are free to do that, this makeshift method cooks the food in a sealed container sans hot coals with the same effect. This flavorful biryani for two is tossed with marinated vegetables like cauliflower and peas, then mixed with fried onions and orange-infused milk.
Kitchari is a staple comfort food of India, especially during times of fasting. It’s meant to be nourishing and grounding, so if you need to hit the “reset” button, definitely make this easy and nourishing meal.
Gujarati Khichdi: Indian Rice and Lentils is a dish popular throughout Indian, Pakistan, and Nepal, Typically made with mung beans, this recipe uses pigeon peas instead, but is also loaded with rice, vegetables, and plenty of flavor. It has a mix of all different spices and fried onions for a sweet, but savory taste.
Green Chickpea Pulao: Indian-Style Rice is a springy one-dish meal with fresh green garbanzos and it is super vibrant in color.
Breakfast Poha: Flattened Rice Flakes Cooked (also called beaten rice) is a dehusked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. This easily digestible form of raw rice is very popular across Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, and is normally used to prepare snacks or light and easy fast food in a variety of Indian cuisine styles.
Spanish Rice Dishes
Chili-Rubbed Tofu and Onions Over Spanish Rice works as a side dish for a flavor-packed entrée. Since the tofu has so much flavor, the rice just needs to be tasty. It shouldn’t compete with the tofu for top billing
Spanish Cauliflower Rice is cool because cauliflower is perhaps one of the most versatile vegetables. You can roast it, make a pizza, make a sauce, make wings, and make bites of all other varieties. Best of all, you can make cauliflower rice, which is a million more times filling than the standard rice as it packs more fiber, and more nutrients to boot! This Spanish-inspired cauliflower rice dish is packed with flavor, heat, and the refreshing bite of lime and cilantro.
Who knew traditional Spanish flavors and fall squash could meld so beautifully together? This Autumn Squash and Mushroom Paella has all of your fall favorites – Delicata squash, button mushrooms, cauliflower, pumpkin seeds – seasoned with diced tomatoes, yellow onions, paprika, and saffron for a dish that is bursting with Spanish flair. This paella is perfect for bringing to a potluck or batch cooking for a week of healthy meals.
Japanese Rice Dishes
Tofu Yasai Don: Japanese Tofu Rice Bowl takes some chopping, but once the prep is done it comes together quickly and easily. Tofu, burdock root, Shiitake mushrooms, Japanese sweet potato and more are simmered in a sweet, umami sauce and served over a generous bed of rice. Simple, but delicious! Just be sure to start about three days in advance prepping the tofu so it is ready when you need it.
Coconut Kinako Dango is a Japanese sweet dumpling made from rice flour called mochi. It’s sweet, doughy, and it also happens to be very similar to Kozhukattai, a South Indian rice flour dumpling usually filled with sweet or savory fillings. This recipe unites the two into one. When you bite into it, it’s very soft, and you get a nutty whiff of the roasted soy flour. The stretchy dango is interspersed with the crunchy sweet coconut filling, making for a very interesting mouthful. You really can’t stop with one!
Yaki Onigiri are a popular snack in Japan. Typically, onigiri is eaten cold but these yaki (meaning “fried”) and are best right after frying. Quick frying on a hot pan makes yaki onigiri nicely crispy. These sweet potato and avocado yaki onigiri are made even better when dipped in a homemade teriyaki sauce. The sweet and savory sauce added some extra deliciousness to this little snack.
Sushi Rice is called sumeshi in Japanese. It is essential to making sushi, and contrary to what you may think, it is not just plain white rice that is used. It is cooked and then seasoned to have a tangy sweet taste.
Jollof Rice: West African Rice is a beloved West African dish; delightful and delicious and a favorite at gatherings and celebrations! This particular recipe has roasted bell peppers, which add a succulent depth and sweetness to the base sauce. It also has harissa, a spicy chili paste and baharat, a Middle Eastern spice blend, both of which add warmth, zing and that touch of smokiness. Serve this one-pot dish with a side of sweet plantains or your favorite veggies.
Hundreds of countries have their own version of rice pudding. This recipe for African Sweet Rice, influenced by rice pudding originating from Central African cuisine, is very simple. It includes coconut milk, lemon zest, sugar, and warm notes of cinnamon. Enjoy it at any temperature for a light treat.
This recipe for Baked Jollof Rice is a classic reimagined as a casserole. The texture is near-
Remember, if you think rice is boring, think again: there are an infinite number of ways you can flavor, season, and prepare it. Check out these exciting 25 Rice Recipes for more.
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Yaki Onigiri
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