If you took up the challenge to travel the world in eighty days, not only you would meet eighty countries, you would also probably have eighty completely different dishes and, if you’re up for an upgrade in the challenge, they could also be eighty different rice-based meals and drinks. That’s right, rice is not only a major ingredient in almost every country, it is also the representation of versatility and variety.
It’s not news to anyone, rice is one of the most highly produced and consumed ingredients in the whole world. Countries all over the world have gladly welcomed this ingredient into their gastronomy and adapted it, making it their own. It comes in different shapes, colors and ways and it’s kind of an all-in-one element. As we said, it’s versatile, you can find it in lunch meals, breakfast preparations and even desserts and drinks. Besides, it’s easily found at any local store and easily made. It’s perfect for those meal-preppers who are always running short on time as it allows them to cook it in advance, store it and use it when it’s time to eat.
Health also matters
But there’s also an element that is sometimes ignored or overlooked and that’s the element of how healthy rice is. White rice, especially long grain white rice, is the most common type and it’s consumed by half the worlds’ population. Popular as it is, it’s also a great source of vitamins, minerals and proteins. It brings the carbs needed to your plate because, let’s all face it at once, carbs are not our enemies! A rich diet should have a small portion of carbs, and rice is there to provide it.
And last, but not least, rice can easily adapt to any dish, so, if you include it as a side dish, it can provide a filling and nutritious meal.
Rice is cheap, nutritious, easy to handle, so here’s a recipe for you to improve your cooking skills with just a few things you’ll find in your local store or even already waiting for you in your kitchen.
- 2 ½ cups of chicken or vegetable stock.
- 1 ½ cups of rice.
- 1 onion.
- 1 red bell pepper.
- 3 cloves of garlic.
- Bay leaves.
- Parmesan cheese.
- You’ll start by making either chicken broth or vegetable broth, according to your liking.
- Chop ingredients ahead. Slice an onion and chop three garlic cloves, a handful of mushrooms and some bay leaves. Finely dice a red bell pepper.
- Take a large pan and pre-heat some extra-virgin olive oil on a low heat. Add the onion and the pepper and season everything with a pinch of salt. Cook on a low heat without the lid and stir.
- When the onion is translucent add the mushrooms and the garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes and make sure the mushrooms have softened.
- Keep the heat low and add a cup or a cup and a half of rice. Stir to make sure it doesn’t burn and until rice browns.
- At the same time, in a different pan, heat up the broth if it was made beforehand.
- Ideally, rice will be brown at the same time the broth is about to boil. Once it is, add two cups of stock to the rice pan and give everything a good stir.
- Season everything with some more salt, pepper, oregano and paprika.
- Cook everything on a medium-low heat, without the lid, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and it’s fully cooked. That should take about twenty minutes.
- If the liquid is gone and the rice is not cooked, add half a cup of stock to the pan and repeat. If you like your risotto creamy, add more liquid and let it cook.
- Once rice is fully cooked or cooked to your liking, turn the heat off and some butter to the mix. Stir and let the butter melt and blend in.
- Cover the pan with the lid and keep the heat off, but let it sit for about ten more minutes. After that, serve and enjoy.
- If you’re going for the non-vegan version, at the same time you add the butter, add some Parmesan cheese to your liking and stir so that the cheese melts.
- If you don’t have time to make the stock in advance, you can add water and two vegetable-flavored cubes to the mix.