April 2023 Food Champions Challenge: What is your favourite rice dish What type of rice do you use and How do you cook and serve it?

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Rice: one of the most widely consumed cereals in the world, they say its cradle was in Asia among the vast areas of water.
Associated with women and fertility, rice has always had a presence in every religious aspect, family event, and political occurrences in Asian cultures.
Rice cultivation moved slowly in its journey from East to the West. In the Ancient Greek and Roman world it was considered an expensive imported product appreciated mainly for its medicinal qualities, a luxury that only the wealthy could afford. It reaches Spain with the Arab conquest and then with time becomes known in all of Europe.
It is now the staple food which underpins most Asian cuisines and is present in traditional cooking all over the world: Joloff rice in Africa, the Spanish Paella, the Italian Risotto, Nasi Goreng in Indonesia…
Its appetising and nutritional value can be increased by adding eggs, fat, milk and sugar and turning it into puddings, cakes, and fritters.

Popular types of rice are:

Calrose: ideal for sushi, soups,salads…absorbs aromas from herbs and spices.
Jasmine: long grain, fragrant, excellent with chicken curries…
Basmati: aromatic fluffy grain, perfect in Indian dishes.
Arborio: high in starch, good for risotto and starchy desserts.

Popular Cooking methods:

Steaming
Boiling
Pilaf
Risotto

For a chance to receive a Food Challenge Award for your profile Please share with us What is your favourite rice dish, What type of rice do you use and How do you cook and serve it?

Big thank you to all participants of the March challenge.

Congrats to:
@consumanon @Buzz3 @hitspacebar @BevT1 @Memsahib
You have been awarded a Food Champions Badge for the March challenge.

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There are so many good things you can do with rice it’s hard to choose. I am going for simplicity and flexibility: absorption method white rice. This is the base of a great deal of Chinese cooking.

To do this you need a pot that is the right size for the amount you are cooking that has a lid that fits well and a stove that has a low power burner that can be reliably turned down low. The reason is that you need to keep all the water in so that the rice will absorb it and you don’t want the rice on the bottom to burn or to stick (too much) as you keep the lid on and stir very little. This method is the opposite of methods used for risotto or paella where you boil broth in an open pan and quite a bit evaporates.

I once shared a house with a Chinese student, we ate a lot of rice. I asked him how to cook it and he said use a rice cooker, put rice into it and add enough water to cover by the depth of the last joint on your index finger. This is how his mum and grandma did it. There are three big problems with this. I hate rice cookers as they tend to boil over before they turn down, the rice always sticks badly (or you eat the non-stick coating as it peels off) and so you waste too much. The measure he gave does not give right amount of water in all circumstances, for small amounts of rice it is far too much. Rules of thumb (or finger) are not universal.

If you have too much water the result is gluggy. Gluggy is bad! Just sticking together is good. The reason it has to stick a little is so you can eat it with chopsticks. If you have too little water the centre of the grains are still hard and crunchy which is not acceptable. You are aiming for plump, cooked, whole grains that just clump together.

For two serves; measure half a cup of raw short or medium grain white rice into a small pot. Long grain rice has different starches and doesn’t give the right result. For more serves increase the amount of rice and, where required, the size of the pot.

Add the same amount of water plus 10%. Bring to the boil, stir, turn down and put the lid on. Check after 3 minutes that it is just bubbling as you take the lid off, if not adjust the heat. Note that it should be just cooking with the lid on, within seconds of taking the lid off it will stop. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring briefly about half way. You can keep it hot for quite a while without harm if your stove goes very low.

If you find steam coming out from under the lid or it boils over and you cannot turn the stove down any more you will have to use more water to compensate, so you may have to alter your measure of water depending on the situation. If you don’t get it right first time try again with a slight variation to the amount of water, not all pots and stoves are perfect.

Traditionally you add no salt as it is intended to be eaten with meat and vegetables that often have salty sauces and this allows the flavour of the rice to show through.

[edit1] Should you wash the rice before you start? Not unless it is very dusty. The little rice flour on the surface helps the grains stick together. I have not seen really dusty rice in the supermarket for ages.

[edit2] What is the difference between short and medium grain rice? As far as I can tell from the rice that is generally available only the label. There seems to be very little short grain rice in Colesworths as it has been renamed for some reason.

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My favourite rice dish is ‘Special Fried Rice’. Absolutely love it but I don’t make it myself, I buy as take-away or eat in at restaurants (a bit of a treat)! I mainly use Jasmine rice at home, cooking in Rice Cooker and eating with slow cooked Chicken, mushroom and vegetables in a cream sauce. Yum.

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Yes, it is nice to go out and order a special dish we don’t usually cook ourselves.
A Rice Cooker is an appliance which cooks by the boiling or steaming method but we can then stir-fry or pan fry the cooked rice and add protein, herbs and spices to the pan to make a more exotic and tasty dish.
I prefer to cook my rice the Pilaf method and sauté the rice in oil or butter stirring all the time until just lightly golden and then proceed with the absorption method. This way the starch remains sealed inside the rice grains preventing any stickiness, but it is unsuitable for sushi type dishes.

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Risotto is good. Another thing is different to rice is quinoa good source of vitamin and mineral. I use it regularly instead of rice daily comes out nicely. Im not sure if anyone else uses it

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Mr Z does not like rice. I have SunRice Australian Brown Rice medium grain, which advises rinsing for 1 minute. I use the absorption method. I put the cooked rice into 1/2 to 1 cup containers and freeze, to reheat as I want.

I tried the Rice Cups (precooked) but found them expensive against doing it myself.

I like Continental Rice Sensations Thai Coconut with Lemongrass ($3.51/115g). The smell is wonderful, but not to Mr Z’s liking. He will eat a little of the Continental Oriental Fried Rice but is suspicious of the “red bits” (red capsicum) as a food he does not recognise.

As for a “Rice Dish”, we don’t have one. Rice, for me, is served alongside vegetables, or occasionally hidden in a stew. I would love to try a recipe that is similar to the Continental Thai Coconut product.

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Might be seen as boring by some, but mine is plain steamed rice. It is best if it is freshly harvested rice. Freshly harvested rice, like that which can be eaten in many Asian countries within a few days or weeks of harvest, has a subtle and beautiful flavour.

Preference is also to a medium grained rice, one that tends to clump together. It makes for easier eating with chopsticks and also holds sauces from dishes eaten with the rice better.

We cook using a rice cooker, and eat steamed rice about 2-4 times a week.

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Is this available in Oz? Where from?

Unfortunately fresh rice isn’t available in Australia. When purchasing I look at the best before which is furthest away.

When living in Asia, often rice was harvested, sun dried, threshed and eaten within a few weeks. The difference is significant compared to retailed rice in Australia which could be many months, if not years between harvest and the fork.

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I love fried rice. Hate plain rice.

I make it at home for Chinese special fried rice, or for traditional Indian curries.

Long grain rice only. Plain or basmati. No rice cooker and no absorption method. Just for each amount of rice, four amounts of water in a pot. And simmer and stir now and again until al dente. I put in tumeric to make it yellow, and a little butter or olive oil to stop clumping.

Add some frozen peas for Chinese, or sultanas for Indian.

Drain all the water off, let it rest lid on for a few minutes, then fluff up with a fork.

Then it goes into the fridge to be used the next day. That is a must for Chinese fried rice.

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I’ve used a 5 cup rice cooker for years and absolutely love it. My 2 adult sons now have their own rice cookers. It takes the guess work out of cooking rice and you can walk away. For first time users reading the information booklet initially is essential. I still use the supplied cup (smaller than a standard cup - just use more cups) and fill to the corresponding mark in the bowl on the side (it’s not always easy to see). I usually cook basmati or long grain brown (needs a little extra water as advised) and serve as a side to saucy meals. I sometimes add star anise and 2 or 3 bruised cardamom pods or a blend of coconut milk and water for something different.
For a ‘mum used to make’ dessert, my husband makes creamed rice in a saucepan on the cooktop - he absolutely loves it. Use medium grain white rice. Find a recipe with water and milk, sugar and vanilla (added at the end), it’s not necessary to add an egg at the end. It will take about 20 mins and you do have to stir it nearly constantly but it’s worth it. How hot or cool you like to eat it is personal. It is nice with diced fresh or tinned fruit, especially apricots as the tartness works with the creaminess of the rice. You can have it with icecream or custard as well.
It’s a filling, healthy, winter dessert.

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I use a Ronson Jar Pressure Rice cooker . I add the rice , usually Sunrice Brown medium grain ,then a teasponn full of Extra Virgin Olive oil , Cobram Estates . I chop up the green parts of some spring onions , a dash of turmeric , a dash of garam masala , 2 teaspoons of Hoytts Italian herb mix . Stir well . Then start the cooker .

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Cooking too small an amount of rice (like one cup) does tend to lead to boiling over in a rice cooker, and the resultant product sticking to the pot and encrusting. Start with at least two cups of rice (more if the pot is large), stir the pot before the water is fully absorbed, and let the cooked rice stand for a good ten minutes after the cooker switches itself off and turn the rice with a wooden spoon. It will be fluffy, moist and not encrusted.

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Not much use for two then.

My chooks are fat enough!

I may be prejudiced but unless you have a large family and eat rice a lot it is another appliance taking up space in the cupboard and I can do as well or better with a pot for any number.

Specialised equipment is useful for some tasks where they can do it better than general gear or when you need large amounts. If I am doing coleslaw for a big crowd I get out the food processor otherwise a knife is quicker and much less washing up.

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Depends on the rice cooker you use . I cook 1 cup in my Ronson and have no problems . Rinse the rice well under cold water in a strainer before adding to cooker. Will stop rice from foaming . Then add a teaspoon of olive oil . I tried a rice cooker from Aldis . Was hopeless .Burnt the rice and just created a mess . Never had any problems with Breville and my Ronson , sadly no longer available , is great .

Cheap is as cheap does . It applies to many things especially some home appliances .

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I’m really loving Chicken and Chorizo Paella, it’s the ultimate one pan dish and freezes really well for those of us who live alone. It’s very simple to make.

I also love pumpkin and spinach risotto and plain steamed rice.

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A post was merged into an existing topic: Rice : What brand / type do you prefer to buy?

I had to think long and hard about this one. It’s hard to pick out just one. Most often we have rice as just another part of a meal, brown my favourite for its nutty flavour or white which is great mixed in with a curry. Nearly always cooked using the absorption method.

Beyond being an every day accompaniment it’s hard to not like sushi, especially when freshly made with the appropriate quality rice. While food preferences vary, I enjoy trying the many types/versions of Onigiri and Mochi. A polite appraisal is the available selections cater for a broad range of palettes. There are so many different ways rice is used as the hero or core ingredient, across Asia and beyond.

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Got recipe?

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