3 Easy Ways to Make a Boring Pot of Rice Taste Amazing
Making a pot of rice to serve with dinner is nearly automatic. But plain rice day after day can get, well, a little boring, don’t you think? There are three tricks to give rice a little extra oomph in the flavor department. Here are tips and tricks to make keep rice flavorful.
1. Toast the grains.
2. Cook the rice with chicken or vegetable broth.
This one’s a no-brainer, assuming that you have some extra stock handy! If not, I’ll add a dab of chicken or vegetable bouillon. I sometimes find that using 100% chicken broth can make the rice feel gummy or overly-starchy — personally, I usually go for a 50/50 mix of broth and water. This adds a layer of flavor and richness without going overboard.
3. Season the rice with what you’re cooking.
Any aromatic herb or vegetable goes a long way toward adding a bit of intrigue to a simple pot of rice. Very often, some of the same seasonings going into the main dish are great for the rice as well. I’ve found that whole spices are usually better for adding subtle flavors, while ground spices are great when we really want the rice to stand out on its own.
Other flavors get added based on what I’m cooking. Cardamom and coriander seeds work well when the rice is accompanying an Indian or South-East Asian dish. If I have it, I’ll also add a nub of lemongrass or ginger. A square of kombu in the cooking rice is a nice touch for Chinese and Japanese dishes, while cumin seeds and even cinnamon can go with Southwestern and Mexican foods. And then dried herbs like thyme and oregano are great when Italian or French is on the menu.
What other ways do you fancy-up your weeknight rice?
More Rice Tips & Tutorials
This post has been updated. Originally published November 5, 2011.
(Image: Emma Christensen)