Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Enhance Your Rice

We eat a lot of rice, pasta and potatoes around here, so I guess you could say that we are a carb loving family. Because rice finds it's way into our meals fairly often, I  have a couple of ways of seasoning plain rice - these are two of my favorite: 

The first way is to sprinkle in a few fennel seeds along with a dab of butter or margarine.  Fennel has an anise-like flavor, so a little goes a long way.  I might sprinkle in about 20 seeds or so for 1 cup of rice (I don't count them, I just guess).  

An Indian friend of mine also told me that roasted fennel seeds are often used as a digestive aid and breath freshener after a meal - not sure how to roast 'em, but one of these days I'll try it out!
My second and most favored way of "flavouring" plain rice is with cloves and bay leaves.  Cloves are very strong in flavour so I only use about 1 or 2 cloves along with half a bay leaf for one-and-a-half cups of rice (again with a dollop of butter or margarine).

Cloves are often used in Indian cuisine because they supposedly raise your body heat thus are favored for "wintertime" dishes (I learned this in my Indian cooking class).  This is also probably why I love making Chai from scratch - big chunks of ginger and cloves, yum!

Ever wondered about bay leaves?  Just read Wikipedia's Medicinal entry on them and it may just have you encorporating more bay leaves into your cuisine.  Hey, if it can help ease a migraine, I'm game! 

Now, I don't always use these methods.  Adding broth (like chicken, beef or vegetable) is good too.  In my Mexican cooking class, we added lots of finely chopped veggies (fresh or frozen) which add variety.

How do you add variety to plain white rice?  I'm always looking for new ideas!

- Kristin - 


  1. Hey, great ideas! I will try the fennel, I love it!

    I'm using saffron to spice up plain rice. You take 2-3 saffron threads or just 1/3 of a teaspoon (if you use powder) for 3-4 servings. It gives a natural yellow/orange color and an exquisite taste!

  2. I have never even thought about flavoring my rice aside from butter and salt, but I love these ideas! I have some fennel seeds and had no idea what to do with them, so I will give this a try. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today and for your thoughtful comments!

  3. I am going to have to try these! My husband LOVES rice and I feel like it just gets old! This will definately help that! I don't know if you have a costa vida in your area but they have delicious cilantro lime rice! It is so yummy with mexican food! Here's the recipe! http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/sidedishes/cilantro-lime-rice-a-la-cafe-rio/ Btw...thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting! You made me smile! :)


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