Have you ever stopped to think how amazing rice is? Humans have been eating rice for thousands of years, and cultures all over the world have devised many ways to use this cheap and nutritious grain. If you live in a place with access to international restaurants, one way to understand rice better is to visit authentic outlets to see for yourself why risotto, plov, or jollof rice are worth making a fuss about. But if you want to start cooking rice in new ways, read on to consider some of the dishes you can try out at home!
Paella, originally hailing from the East coast of Spain, is an excellent dish because it is versatile, full of flavour, and easy to attempt. If you are visiting Spain, also just off the East coast is the Balearic Islands where you can visit Palma via Palma airport. If you have a packet of authentic short-grained bomba rice, a large frying pan, and some good-quality paprika, you have the key materials to start preparing your paella. Fresh vegetables and store-cupboard staples can combine in paella with your choice of meat, fish, or other protein to offer a dish that offers a complete meal from one pan. If you decide you want to become a sophisticated paella cook, a specialist pan and gourmet spices will not break the bank!
The Indian dish biriyani also offers diners a complete meal from one pan. Biriyani exists in so many regional variations that it is difficult to hold it down to any stricter fundamentals, although you can expect it to make use of long-grain basmati rice in combination with ginger, garlic, and a range of aromatic spices. Once you start on a biriyani recipe, you might find yourself looking for star anise, cinnamon sticks, and fresh mint, while marinating your meat or other protein overnight for deep and complex flavours. Even though biriyani may not be quick or easy to get right, it offers many cooks an exciting opportunity to challenge themselves to create a subtle and delicious meal.
Jamaican Rice and Peas
Finally, you can’t talk about distinctive rice dishes without giving a word to Jamaican rice and peas. The ‘peas’ in this dish are not green garden peas, but red kidney beans, which combine with the rice to provide a rich mix of protein and carbohydrates. Before attempting to cook rice and peas, you should sample it from your nearest Caribbean restaurant, since the combination of scotch bonnet peppers, coconut milk, and fresh thyme must be tried before it can be re-created. Nonetheless, with commonly available ingredients, it is well worth giving a go!
An excellent rice dish takes some planning. You must find the right kind of rice and ensure that you have all the herbs and spices that will produce unique and authentic flavours. But don’t be put off. Once you have invested the time in getting your ingredients together for paella, biriyani, or rice and peas, chances are your store cupboard will be ready to make that dish time and time again. Surely this effort is worth it for an ingredient that is gluten-free, adaptable to all kinds of diets, and always good for you.