Who Knew Rice Was So Versatile?

Yes, I know.  It really was a rhetorical question.  Most people know, rice is the most important staple food for a large part of the world’s human population, especially in East and South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies.   And I think I’ve recently joined them.  Blame it on Northstar’s rice salad.

I’ve really been into rice since I visited Ohio a few months ago.  I’m not talking about Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice (which I hardly ever eat anymore) but more (slightly) exotic rice – like Japonica, Wild Rice, Basmati, Brown and Jasmine.  I’ve created close to a dozen new recipes in the past month using different varieties.

Rice is great because it’s hearty enough when combined with enough ingredients to be a main dish, like Fried Rice, or light enough to just serve on the side.  (My favorite side rice is Jasmine because I like its’ light, flowery taste.)

Japonica Rice Salad

Japonica Rice Salad

There’s a nice lady at the farmers market who sells nothing but hard-to-find grains – black beluga lentils, farro, Inca red quinoa, Anasazi beans, bamboo rice and kamut.  She’s also got about a dozen different varieties of rice.  I decided to try duplicating the wild rice salad I’ve been obsessing about using her pretty black Japonica rice.

I chopped celery and red onion then added them to the rice with raisins and tossed it with a little olive oil and rice wine vinegar.  It wasn’t quite the flavor I was going for, but everyone loved it and I’ll keep experimenting.

Yesterday, I shared my new recipe for Wild Rice Hash and I make a pretty tasty Fried Rice using brown rice.  Actually, a better name for the fried rice I make is, “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink rice” because it has no fewer than five proteins, four vegetables and three oils.  It’s one of Joel and Madison’s favorite meals.

Fried Rice, serves 6

2 cups cooked brown rice
6 slices bacon
8 oz. steak, thinly sliced
12 large shrimp
8 oz. chicken breast, diced
3 eggs
3 medium carrots, diced
½ cup broccoli, diced
½ cup peas
1/3 cup bean sprouts
1-2 tbsp sesame oil
2-3 tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil

Fried Ric

Everythinig-but-the-kitchen-sink Rice

In a large skillet or wok, heat the sesame oil and add bacon.  Cook bacon and push to the side of the pan.  Add steak, shrimp and chicken and cook in the bacon grease and sesame oil mixture, seasoning lightly with soy sauce.  Once cooked, push to the proteins to the side of the pan with the bacon.  Scramble the eggs and transfer all of the proteins to a large bowl and cover to keep warm.  Add the vegetable oil to the skillet and cook carrots, broccoli and peas.  Add the sprouts to the vegetable mixture for about a minute to warm them.  Mix the proteins, vegetables and rice in a large bowl and add soy sauce to taste.

2 comments on “Who Knew Rice Was So Versatile?

  1. Matt Anderson
    April 21, 2011 at 10:55 am #

    That fried rice recipe sounds delectable! Unfortunately, having to watch my carb intake due to type 2 diabetes I really have to limit my rice consumption. I do enjoy a side dish of rice every now and again but for the most part I have to stay away from even the healthier, brown rice. No fun for me! By the way, your blog is great and a very good read.

    • Heather
      April 21, 2011 at 11:47 am #

      Thanks so much Matt! And thanks for your feedback too. I’m always interested to know what type of dietary restrictions, allergies and tastes readers have so that I can address them in future posts. Glad you find my stories entertaining!

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