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Rice

This ancient grain has been cultivated for centuries and is a food staple for most of the world. Featured prominently in parts of China and South East Asia, this grains popularity has grown and is now commercially grown in parts of the US. With so many types of rice to choose from, there are endless amounts of delicious recipes to enjoy. Rice is cholesterol and gluten-free and rich in nutrients and is perfect for all lifestyles. Here is the ultimate guide to delicious dishes and preparation tips to make the best rice meals at home.

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Ba Bao Fan (Eight-Treasure Rice)

Any variety of dried and candied fruits can decorate this lightly sweet sticky rice dessert, but using a lucky assortment of eight is traditional. The Chinese word for the number eight, ba, sounds similar to fa, which means prosperity and confers fortuitous meaning on the dessert. For her Lunar New Year celebration, Lucky Chow producer Danielle Chang likes to decorate hers with an opulent assortment that includes candied orange peel, goji berries, amarena cherries, kumquats, lemon peel, edible flowers, mandarins, lychees, red dates (jujube), maraschino cherries, gooseberries, kiwi berries, pomegranate, dragon fruit, and sliced figs. Do not substitute sushi or other short-grain rice here; sweet glutinous rice contains a starch that helps the grains stick together without getting mushy.

Kiribath with Lunu Miris (Coconut Rice with Sambal)

Spicy red onion sambal is spooned over diamonds of coconut rice in this Sri Lankan dish, served to commemorate new beginnings. While a mortar and pestle is traditionally used to pound the sambal, it also can be gently pulsed together in a food processor.

Khichdi

Khichdi is a fortifying, easily digestible dish made from mung beans, rice, and a wide variety of spices. It is a staple of meals at Thikse Monastery in Ladakh, India, and reflects the Thikse monks’ belief that food should be consumed not only to quell hunger but also to contribute to optimal health. Cortney Burns, who spent time at the monastery learning from the monks, uses a warming spice mixture including fenugreek, turmeric, cumin, and ginger to perfume this soothing, comforting porridge.

Island Jollof Rice

When I think of Eric Adjepong’s food, I think of the West African dance called the highlife, full of Afro beats and guitars and brass instruments. The syncopation of the music moves you. Eric and his wife have a catering company in D.C., but most of America knows him from Top Chef. He represents the new African chef who gives a nod to the past, but also to the future. When you eat his food, you can taste that blend and complexity. He brings the African food tradition he grew up with into everything he does, and he does it in the most modern and beautiful way. This rice dish is inspired by Eric and his Ghanaian roots. I eat it and hear the trap beats of “Pour Me Water,” a big Afro beat song. It’s layered and deliciously complicated in your mouth. Jollof rice is such a beloved dish that every West African takes ownership of it. Nigerians and Ghanaians especially squabble on who makes it better and where it was first created. Historians believe it was actually created in Senegal, but that doesn’t stop the competition.

Do Yourself a Favor, Make a Pot of Rice Grits

Rice grits, also known as broken rice or middlins, have the same porridge-like smoothness of grits or polenta, but with more heft for sopping up sauces and gravy.

Golden Fried Rice with Asparagus and XO Sauce

Stir-frying rice with egg yolks is a technique that hails from Chinese imperial cuisine, says chef Lucas Sin of Junzi restaurant, and gives the dish a buttery richness and beautiful golden color. A generous amount of onions, garlic, scallions, and fresh ginger builds a foundation of flavor, while a spoonful of spicy seafood-infused XO sauce and plenty of freshly blanched asparagus make this fried rice even more delicious.
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More Rice

Garden Paella

Bomba rice is a short-grain rice from Spain traditionally used in paella for the best texture. Choose a carbon steel pan for even distribution of heat while cooking this paella; you’ll be less likely to encounter hot spots and burn the vegetables.

When the World Makes No Sense, I Eat Yogurt Rice

Our restaurant editor finds home and healing in a bowl of this beloved Indian dish.

California Wappa Rice Bowls

Snow crab, especially the legs of the crab, yields tender, clean chunks of meat, perfect for topping these steamed savory rice bowls. To gently cook the crabs, steam them for 20 to 25 minutes over high heat, let cool slightly, and remove the meat.