Tasty ways to treat the humble grain

In some parts of the world, rice is almost a religion, says Rachel Allen, who offers tasty ways to treat the humble grain.
The importance of rice to some cultures is almost impossible to overstate. More than one country holds rice as an essential part of their creation myth, fundamental to their very existence - which makes it considerably more exotic than something to boil quickly and eat with a curry!
I love to eat rice in all its different forms. It certainly makes for a quick and easy addition to any sort of curry. Simple boiled rice can be a really fabulous complement to a rich and flavourful curry, especially one with lots of cream or coconut milk.
Even when you're serving rice as a side dish, you can still embellish it with other flavours and textures. A simple rice pilaf can be made by softening onions in butter, adding a few spices such as cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks or even saffron, then adding the rice and cooking it in a light stock. You could serve a rice pilaf with grilled meats or dahl, though I think the rice dish itself is divine.
Though rice originated in China, it has been adopted by so many different food cultures and is a feature in recipes across the world. Risotto, that Italian staple, uses distinctive varieties of short-grained rice. Their starches dissolve into the stock with all that stirring, giving risotto its characteristic creaminess. This risotto recipe uses dried porcini mushrooms for a real taste of autumn.
Kedgeree is a dish with its origins in the British Empire. British colonials brought back the rice and spices of a dish they loved in India, then introduced some of their own ingredients such as hard-boiled eggs and smoked haddock. I adore kedgeree, especially for brunch. I've added wild rice to this recipe. Though not traditional, I love the distinctive slightly chewy texture it brings. If you can't find wild rice, you can, of course, use just white or brown rice.

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Shaneod Oct 06, 2014 News