Rice comes in a wide range of varieties and is a staple in vegetarian and vegan cuisine. And, yes, it certainly is pretty plain when cooked as-is. However, making rice pop with flavor is so easy, and you can accommodate all palate preferences. Keeping reading to find out how you can easily and deliciously make crowd wowing rice that will have your family and dinner guests asking you for your rice “trick”.
Cook Rice in Vegetable Broth – The very easiest way to add flavor to rice, is to simply prepare it using vegetable broth instead of plain water. This works with ALL rice varieties and can be done whether preparing via stove top method or using a rice cooker. My favorite vegetable broth to use is pictured to the left, but you can certainly use one of your preference. And, when cooking rice this way, any leftover rice you may have will already be pre-seasoned to conveniently add to soups, casseroles, veggie muffins, etc.
Cook Rice in 50/50 Coconut Milk and Water – Another easy method to flavor rice, is to prepare it using a 50/50 mixture of coconut milk (the kind in a can) and water. This also can be done whether preparing via stove top method or rice cooker method. If you want to add another level of complimentary flavor on top of that, AFTER the rice has finished cooking, squeeze in some fresh lime juice. This method works best with Mexican and Asian inspired rice dishes as well as cold rice salads.
Spice up Rice with Chili Peppers – If you like spicy foods, whether mildly spicy or make your eyes water spicy, try stirring in either some crushed red pepper flakes or ground cayenne pepper to rice. You can add either during cooking or after, and it will work whether cooking with just water or with either of the two methods mentioned above. HOWEVER, go light-handed when first trying until you find out just the right amount of pepper you prefer, AND this works best (in my opinion) when cooking the rice using the 50/50 coconut milk and water method. Peppers meld better with a fatty medium, which the coconut milk will provide. This method works best for Mexican, Polynesian and Hotter Asian inspired dishes.
Squeeze in Some Fresh Citrus – When preparing cold rice dishes, such as rice salads, or stir fry’s that will be spooned over freshly cooked rice, I love the flavor that freshly squeezed citrus adds to just cooked rice. Now, this method works best with rice that has been prepared using just water or using the 50/50 coconut milk and water method. Additionally, FRESH squeezed is key and you want to add in your choice of fresh citrus (lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit) after rice has cooked, not during.
Infuse Rice with Fresh Ginger Root – If you love the taste of ginger, you’ll love this method. Simply SLICE 2-3 pieces of peeled fresh ginger root and add it to the rice during cooking time. (*You want to make sure to slice the ginger thick enough so that you’re able to strain it out once rice is finished cooking.) This works best when preparing rice with just water as well as when using the 50/50 coconut milk and water method. If you like, for another added level of complimentary flavor, you can squeeze in a touch of fresh lime juice once rice has finished cooking. This method works whether cooking stove top or using a rice cooker. * Tip: to easily remove skin off of fresh ginger root, scrape the edge of a spoon across it. Easy-peasy.
So there you have it. Boring rice turned into amazing and flavor popping dish additions. You can use any of these methods with white rice, brown rice, basmati rice and jasmine rice. And, as for wild rice, the only method that I wouldn’t recommend for wild rice is the 50/50 coconut milk and water method.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina “The Veggie Goddess” Matthews