Rice and beans. These two staples are the go-to foods for when you’re trying to survive, either financially–or literally.
Dried rice and dried beans are both cheap to buy in bulk and easy to store for long periods.
However, when it comes to actually prepping and eating plain, unprocessed rice, many people don’t really know what they’re in for–or how to make it taste good.
Did you know?
“Minute rice” is just pre-cooked rice that’s been dehydrated, ground up, and formed back into little rice-grain-shaped pellets. THAT’S why it takes just a minute to cook!
Whole-grain brown rice typically takes an hour to cook on the stove, and white rice takes about 15-20 minutes. What’s the difference? Basically, just fiber content.
Brown rice is more chewy and has a slight nutty flavor, while white rice is more sticky, and versatile. You can get long-grain rice (like jasmine), or short-grain rice (like sushi rice).
We keep both on hand, because they’re both good for different recipes and flavor profiles.
Just because you’re eating the basics doesn’t mean you’ve got to sacrifice flavor.
Long-grain rice is better for Indian-style dishes, like sag paneer and tikka masala (both easy, cheap, and versatile recipes). It’s also great for Asian-style stir-fry’s with veggies, meat or tofu, and a splash of chili oil (here’s how to make it!).
Short-grain rice is excellent for creamy sauces, risottos with mushrooms and onions; and for topping with fermented condiments such as pickled daikon and cucumbers, sauerkraut, or kimchi.
Okay…but what if you don’t have a flair for cooking ethnic fare, can’t forage for wild chanterelles, and don’t care for kimchi?
When things are tough, what you really want is comfort food.
This super-simple rice dish is my (gluten-free, vegan!) version of macaroni and cheese:
First, cook your rice properly….
- Measure out your rice dry, in the pot you’ll be cooking it in. One-half cup per person is a good ratio to use in order to decide how much to make.
- RINSE your rice three times! Fill up the pot with water, swishing it around with your hand, and then carefully pour off the milky-white excess water. Rinsing is a crucial step that many people skip–and they end up with gummy, gross rice and don’t know why. Do this three times, and THEN add your water for cooking.
- Add 1-3/4 cups of water for every cup of dry rice, and put it on the stove on high, uncovered.
- Wait for it to boil, and then give it a stir, just enough to break up any clumps and stop the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Cover it and reduce the heat to LOW. Set the timer for 14-15 minutes.
- When it beeps, the rice is NOT done yet! Go take it off the heat, mix it up to fluff it, then put the lid back on and wait 10 more minutes. I promise, it’s worth the extra waiting.
Voila! Perfect rice on the stove top! Now, what to eat it with?
Every picky, skeptical kid has loved my rice “recipe”, and it’s ridiculously simple.
Just scoop out a bowl of rice, and add:
- about a tablespoon of coconut oil
- dash of garlic powder
- dash of onion powder
- dash of paprika
- dash of turmeric (yay, health benefits!)
- about a tablespoon of nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste
Mix this all up and eat it! Flavor not strong enough? Add more garlic or onion powder!
Other ways to change it up include adding a pat of butter, a scoop of sour cream, or even a drizzle of heavy cream. You can of course also skip the nutritional yeast and add shredded cheese, but we personally like the flavor (and B-vitamins) that the nutritional yeast adds.
Sometimes I make up bowls 0f rice like this and then add a stir-fry or chunky sauce on top, to make sure that more than just the toppings get eaten!
The turmeric makes the rice yellow, so “yellow rice” has become a comfort food that we enjoy.
Do you have a way to make rice taste amazing that’s quick and simple? Tell us about it in the comments!