Rice is King
By Alex Chung
Senior Food Writer at Pro Home Cooks
Rice is loved around the world and is such a staple ingredients in everyone’s pantry. So no matter what kind of rice you have, whether it is short, medium, long, black, brown, white, wild, or glutinous I hope that these recipes give you some inspiration to use this simple and extremely versatile ingredient to turn it into some something delicious.
Deciding on what rice recipes I wanted to come up with was actually extremely difficult. It wasnt that I didn’t know what to make. It was more of having too many ideas come to mind at one time that picking only three recipes was pretty hard. I ended up choosing some of the recipes that I have loved as a kid so hopefully you will love them too. These recipes are also perfect for quarantine since lots of the ingredients are either optional or you can totally disregard them.
First up is… milk tea rice pudding! Rice makes some great desserts and one of my favorites is rice pudding! Of course, you can make regular rice pudding and it’ll be delicious but I thought it would be really cool to use some tea instead of plain ole water. I used some regular black tea but I thought about using chai tea, english breakfast, or even matcha. It came out super creamy, a little sweet, and the best part about rice is that you can use just ½ cup of it and be left with close to 2 cups of warm rice pudding for you and your family.
Milk Tea Rice Pudding
- 2 cups of strong black tea
- ½ cup of uncooked short or medium grain rice
- 1 cup of milk, any kind you have works
- ½ cup of Chinese brown sugar, brown sugar, or white sugar works great
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Ground cinnamon, to garnish
- Combine 2 cups of strong black tea and ½ cup of uncooked rice in a medium size pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
- Next add in ½ cup of the milk and ½ cup of the sugar of your choice. Mix and continue cooking for another 10 -15 minutes.
- In the meantime, combine the other ½ cup of milk with 1 egg and whisk together. Give the rice a taste to make sure you like the sweetness level and too make sure that the rice is fully cooked and that you like the amount of liquid in your pot. At this point, you want there to be more liquid than you think you need.
- Next temper the egg mixture with the liquid in the rice pudding. Use about 4 – 5 tablespoons of the liquid to temper the egg mixture and whisk to make sure you don’t get any scrambled eggs.
- Slowly pour your tempered egg mixture into the rice pudding while consistently whisking. Let this come to a boil and cook until you like the consistency. I cooked mine for about another 5 minutes. Remember that the pudding will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Once you like the consistency, shut off the heat, and stir in the butter. Let it cool off until its warm and serve! If you have leftovers, place it in the refrigerator for whenever you’re craving some.
Growing up, I ate lots of congee as a kid so naturally it was the first recipe to come to mind. It’s also perfect for the quarantine. You know when you make a pot of rice and some of it gets stuck to the pan? Well, don’t throw it away. Add about 2 cups of water to the pot and cook it until the rice breaks down. Now not only did you save food from being thrown out but you also have a hot pot of congee to eat! Once you have the base down, top it with anything! Eggs, fermented veggies, chili oil, furikake, chicken, pork, scallions, soy sauce, peanuts, bonito flakes, the toppings are literally endless.
- ½ cup of rice, uncooked
- 2 ½ cups of water
- 1 small knob of ginger, smashed and diced finely
- 1 teaspoon of five spice
- Salt & white pepper to taste
- 1 fried egg, optional topping
- ½ teaspoon of chili oil, optional topping
- ½ teaspoon of soy sauce, optional topping
- Sprinkling of chopped scallion, optional topping
- 1 tablespoon of preserved bamboo shoots, optional topping
- Start off by combining 2 ½ cups of water, ½ cup of rice, and 1 small knob of smashed & finely diced ginger to a large pot on medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes.
- Then reduce down to medium low heat and cook uncovered for about 30 – 45 minutes giving it a good stir every 15 minutes to make sure nothing is sticking and to break the rice up a bit.
- After the 45 minutes are up, your congee should be super white, the rice should be broken down, and should have a thick consistency. If you would like it to be thicker cook it for 15 more minutes and if you like it to be thinner add ¼ cup of water to thin it out.
- Now, add in 1 teaspoon of five spice, salt, & white pepper. Give it a taste and if you feel like you need to add any more seasoning now would be the time to do so. However, don’t forget that you will be adding some tasty topping so don’t over season your congee too much.
- Serve yourself a bowl of congee while it is hot and top with your favorite toppings. Mine are a fried egg, some chili oil, a little bit of soy sauce, chopped scallion, and heaping tablespoons of preserved bamboo shoots
Classic Fried Rice
Last but not least is a true classic… fried rice. Honestly, writing a recipe for fried rice doesn’t seem right. I mean how many people create the same fried rice every time? Nobody, and if they do they might be sociopaths. The best fried rice is made when you only have little bits and bobs of things in your fridge. Half a carrot, pieces of an onion, leftover chicken, an egg, and tons of sauces? Perfect, you have the best ingredients for the best fried rice! I used the random leftovers in my fridge to make my fried rice but use what you got, crack an egg into it, and it’ll come out great!
- 2 tablespoons of neutral oil
- 1 tablespoons of sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, smashed and chopped finely
- 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
- ¼ cup of spam, or any meat you have
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ cup of assorted veggies (I like peas and carrots)
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ cups of cooked rice, about 1 day old is best.
- 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon of gochujang
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1 stalk of scallions, chopped
- Handful of parsley, roughly chopped
- In a large pan or wok, heat up 2 tablespoons of neutral oil and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil on medium high heat. Throw in your chopped ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Next add in your chopped onion and spam. Saute for about 5 minutes and then add in your veggies. Continue cooking for about 1 – 3 minutes depending on how you like your veggies to be cooked.
- Next, push all the thing you have fried so far to one side of the pan. Crack in your egg to the empty side of the pan and vigorously mix the egg to combine the egg yolk with the egg white before it gets cooked. Once the egg is fully cooked combine it with all the ingredients.
- Toss in your 1 ½ cups of cooked rice and mix everything until it is combined. Add in 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon of gochujang, 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of water and toss until your rice goes from white to brown. Continue frying for 2 – 3 more minutes just to fry the rice up a bit. Finally toss in your chopped scallions and parsley. Serve while hot.
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