If we are ever in doubt about what to make for dinner, our first thought turns to rice. It is so versatile! You can make appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, and even desserts from rice. Today, we will show you just how great rice can be with our list of the best rice recipes you can have for lunch or dinner. While considered an Asian staple, you’ll actually find rice used worldwide, which is reflected in our dishes. Check out our list and choose your favorites.
22 Of The Best Rice Recipes For Lunch and Dinner
Yeah, it is obvious, but do you know what? When it comes to rice dishes, this is one of the best out there. There are a few tricks when it comes to getting the perfect result with sushi rice. The first and most important is this. Under no circumstances should you stir the rice… Or you’ll end up with risotto. We make sure to give sushi rice a good rinse too. This stops it from becoming too sticky and makes it much more manageable. From there, the hardest part is deciding what to use it with. Crispy spider crab roll or nigiri?
Related: What to serve with sushi
2. Egg Fried Rice
Egg fried rice is one of those super simple dishes yet is one of our favorite foods. We serve it as a side dish, but when having a lazy evening, we cook it as a main and just accessorize it with a few little extras. Throw in chopped green onion, a splash of soy, and maybe a little crispy bacon, and you’ve got a filling and tasty supper. It’s also really easy to eat in a bowl on your lap! The key to egg-fried rice is to use rice that has been allowed to cool. That way, it doesn’t break up in the frying pan or wok.
Remember when we said rice is a worldwide food. This is what we meant. This Indian dish is just perfect. It is easy to prepare and even keeps well for a cold next day snack. We make it by frying rice in the seasoned oil. We then add our meat (normally chicken) along with a few teaspoons of curry powder. Top the entire lot with a couple of cups of water and then slowly simmer until the liquid is absorbed. It couldn’t be easier!
From India to Mexico! Let’s go. Horchata is made with sweet milk and powdered rice. You can serve it hot or cold depending on the weather (our preference is hot with some churros). This is a really filling drink and is great as breakfast if you are on the go! What a way to start your day.
5. Nasi Goreng
Indonesian food is some of our favorite. In fact, beef rendang goes very well with a few spoonfuls of white rice… Oops, where were we? That’s right. Nasi goreng. This is a smorgasbord of flavor. Chunks of tasty meat and some stir-fried vegetables combine with delicious (and slightly crispy) white rice. Oh, and here’s what makes it special. We top the entire thing with a fried egg. Slice through and get some of that delicious yolk coating everything. Is your mouth watering? Ours is!
6. Rice Pudding
If rice pudding makes you think of school dinners, then you are doing something wrong. Ours is creamy, rich, and delicious. We combine it with some spices to make it taste sublime. We are talking autumnal things like cinnamon and nutmeg. Be sure to add plenty of sugar and give it a good stir to release those starches and get it all creamy! Bonus points if you add a large spoonful of jam!
Let us head over to Spain now with what has to be my favorite Spanish recipe. The beauty of paella is that you can accessorize it with whatever you choose. Our favorite is to throw in a handful of unshelled shrimp. They turn all pink and bring a really great splash of color to this dish. If you want authentic paella, here’s a top tip. Don’t follow recipes that suggest using turmeric… The Spanish use saffron to give their paella that trademark golden glow. Oh, and don’t stir the pan either. Give it a shake to stop it sticking, and don’t cook the rice until it is dry either! If shrimp isn’t your thing, by all means, go for a different meat such as chicken, or add some colorful and crunchy vegetables.
8. Mushroom Risotto
Risotto is the one rice recipe where we will permit you to stir regularly. In fact, it is mandatory. The creamy sauce in risotto comes from the rice itself. There is nothing else added to make it thick. Risotto is made by adding a cupful of cooking liquid at a time. As it heats, it is absorbed by the rice. You stir it, and this causes the starch to be released into the dish. Do this enough times, and you end up with something really creamy and special. Our favorite risotto has to be this mushroom recipe. It is really easy to prepare and tastes divine (especially with white wine).
Related: What to serve with risotto
9. Cheese Arancini
If you’ve cooked risotto and have too much, don’t throw it in the trash! Let it cool overnight in the fridge, and then make this! Cheese arancini couldn’t be simpler. Mix your cold risotto with chunks of whatever cheese you have, roll into sausages, and coat with breadcrumbs. Drop these into hot oil or shallow fry until the outsides are golden brown. The rice turns crispy, and the cheese inside melts. Combined with all of the delicious flavors of the risotto, this might be our favorite on the list!
10. Pilau Rice
Pilau rice is much more of a side dish than a main course. The Indians traditionally serve it with curries. It is really easy to make and is a nice variation on boring old white rice. To make it heat some butter in a saucepan and add a clove, a teaspoon of cumin seeds, and a small pinch of turmeric. Throw in your dry rice and stir until every grain looks transparent. Add twice the amount of cold water as rice. Place the lid on and leave it on a low light until all the liquid is evaporated. When you see pits on the top of the rice, it is ready. Take the lid off and fluff with a fork. Easy.
11. Mussel Pilaf
Don’t confuse pilau and Pilaf. They are different. Pilau is a rice side dish. Pilaf is the main course. The beauty of this recipe is that the mussels poach in the same liquid you are cooking the rice in. they also release their own flavor into the liquid, infusing your rice with a really rich taste. If you haven’t got time to be messing around with dried rice, the microwave variety works well. Just cook your mussels in a sauce, and then add the cooked rice at the end with a splash of stock!
12. Lentil and Cauliflower Pilaf
Occasionally we like to try being veggie. With dishes like this, it isn’t hard. This dish is so filling and is super tasty. The lentils work similarly to rice, absorbing flavor and releasing their starchy goodness into the dish to make it super thick and saucy. Rice and lentils act as little flavor vacuums, sucking up everything around them, so you will need some strong spices to make this dish taste interesting. We recommend fresh herbs, along with something like cumin (and perhaps a little chili), to make this dish truly shine.
13. Tea and Rice Smoked Duck
Rice can be used in several ways, and while this dish doesn’t directly feature the rice, it is vital in ensuring its success. Mix a tablespoon of tea with a cup of rice. Spread this onto a sheet of foil and top with a duck breast. Close the foil parcel and bake on the highest heat your oven can muster for 30 minutes. The rice will burn and cause the tea to smoke. This infuses the duck with a wonderful smoky taste. Be sure to use the foil. Otherwise, you’ll have found the quickest way to ruin your oven tray.
14. Sticky Rice with Mango
Another rice recipe from across the globe. This one takes us back to our time in Thailand, feet swinging in a hammock, getting stuck into food (typical us). This dish is made by poaching sticky rice in coconut milk. Once it is tender, you add little jewels of fresh and sweet mango. The entire thing is served with a little jug of sweet and rich coconut milk. We’ll award you bonus points if you serve it in a coconut leaf.
Whenever we describe kedgeree, we say it is part risotto, part stir fry, part paella. We’d probably describe this one as a sort of savory rice stew, complete with meat, vegetables, and of course topped with a couple of soft-boiled eggs. Kedgeree is a great dish for fall and winter. It is warm and really filling. Serve it alongside a piece of toasted sourdough for the ultimate in hearty comfort food.
16. Pad Thai Rice
Listen, at the end of the day, rice is a starchy carbohydrate. Do you know what else is? Noodles. If you haven’t been able to get hold of rice noodles, then rice can make a perfect substitute if you want all the flavor of pad thai. The beauty of this recipe is that aside from swopping noodles for rice, the technique is pretty much the same. Fish sauce, soy, green onions, crushed peanuts, and some rice vinegar. Add your meat of choice and enjoy all of that goodness. We actually find this one easier to eat too!
17. Fragrant Lemon Rice
Don’t get us wrong, white rice is all good and well, but sometimes you just want a little extra. This is the answer. Because lemon is so zesty and fresh, this rice works particularly well with both fish and chicken. It couldn’t be easier to make. When cooking your rice, add the zest of one lemon along with the juice. Make sure to add a pinch of salt and cook as you normally would.
18. Crispy Pork Fried Rice
Both the Japanese and people from Thailand love a little bit of crispy pork. If you’ve made a pork belly roast the day before, this is a great way to use up all of those leftover odds and ends. Be sure to make your rice ahead of time and allow it to cool. Here’s what we do. Add cubes of crispy pork to a large skillet and fry until it starts to sizzle. Add a spoonful of soy along with some green onions and some sugar snap peas. Throw in your rice and let it soak up all of those delicious oils. Serve immediately.
19. Sushi Pizza
This is a novel way to use up leftover sushi rice. Squash it flat and leave it in the fridge overnight. Once it ‘sets’, cut it into squares and give it a dip in tempura batter before frying. Top these little sushi rice ‘bread’ with the topping of your choice. We use smoked fish with a small drop of wasabi and a splash of soy sauce. This one has to be tasted!
20. Rice Minestrone Soup
Minestrone has always been good for using up leftovers. But what if you have run out of pasta? No problem. Rice to the rescue! Half a cup full of white rice in any soup will help pad it out and add texture. In fact, if you are on a fitness drive and don’t want to add cream to your soup, cooking rice before blending can be a great way to thicken it up! Minestrone with rice is easy to make, and you don’t need to go through the usual pains to make sure your grains keep their shape. It is perfect!
You may look up in awe as this tasty rice is made right on front of you, however watch as others do the same to you with this recipe. It’s quick and easy to made, requiring 10 minutes of preparation and 10 minutes cooking time. Perfect on its own or accompanied with vegetables and meat, my preference is shrimp.
This list really wouldn’t be complete without our food that starts with s – Salmon. Mixing salmon and fried rice really is.a recipe for success. I’m biased though because I enjoy having this regularly. Follow the instructions, it really is a simple rice dish which truly packs a punch. Enjoy!
Rice is so versatile, and we were amazed that it features in so many recipes from so many different countries. It is easy to cook, very filling, and tasty, so it is no surprise that people love it. What are your favorite easy rice recipes? Do share! We love hearing from you guys.
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