6 simple rice recipes that use this staple to its fullest

From making a rice bun to making rice milk — we bet even rice lovers could be using it more!

From making a rice bun to making rice milk — we bet even rice lovers could be using it more!

(Credit: iStock / Getty Images)

Rice is an absolute go-to — especially in times when we rely on bulk groceries to minimize store visits. If stored properly, uncooked brown rice keeps well for up to six months, and most other varieties of uncooked rice have an indefinite shelf life. Cooked rice can last in the fridge for about 5 days and can hold up in the freezer for months! 

Of course, rice is the perfect compliment to an endless array of food and flavours. Whether you're working with a billowy basmati, a sticky sushi rice, or an earthy wild rice, you probably are eating rice fairly often… but you may still be overlooking its uses! From rice milk to rice burgers, there are so many ways you can work rice into your daily meal plans. Here are some suggestions on how to use rice to the fullest for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Make rice milk

If you've run out of milk or you have accidentally overcooked white rice, making rice milk is the way to go. To make milk, place 1 cup cooked white rice and 4 cups water in a food processor and blend for 1 minute. Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth. 

Make congee

Congee is a savoury rice porridge that's popular in Asia enjoyed at breakfast and delicious for any meal. To make congee combine just ½ cup of rinsed, uncooked long-grain white rice, with 4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock, some freshly grated ginger, a splash of soy sauce and salt. Simmer the mixture for at least 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Pair the congee with a fried egg, spinach, roasted sweet potato, and chopped green onion. If you've got crisped rice cereal, sprinkle some on top for an extra crunch!

Make rice burgers

You can turn rice into a burger patty — or a bun! For buns: line a 1 cup measure with plastic wrap. Press ⅓ cup of cooked sushi rice into the bottom of it, then remove. In a lightly oiled pan, fry the buns on medium-high heat, until browned on each side. For a rice patty: combine cooked wild or brown rice, roasted beets, black beans, diced onion, a raw egg, and some dijon mustard, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Fry in about 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat, cooking for 3 minutes on each side. 

Make arancini

Instead of arborio rice, you can make arancini with any leftover cooked white rice. 

Combine 2 cups of the rice, with a splash of water, ⅓ cup of grated Parmesan (optional) and a raw egg with your hands, then carefully fold in some peas. Scoop about ¼ cup portions of rice in your hands, place a cube of mozzarella in the centre and form it into a ball. Loosely cover and refrigerate for an hour. Then whisk together 2 eggs in a medium bowl and place some breadcrumbs in a separate bowl. Dip each rice ball into the eggs then coat in the breadcrumbs. Fry in about 2 inches of canola oil for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Removed with a slotted spoon and season with salt. Serve with a marinara sauce. 

Make risotto

If you've been shy about making risotto, don't be. Use this easy guide and go for it. Saute chopped shallots or onions in some oil for 3 minutes, a cup or two of sliced mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. Add 1 ½ cups of uncooked arborio rice and stir for a couple of minutes. Add ½ cup of white wine stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Ladle steaming chicken or vegetable broth (keep it hot on the stove in another pot) over the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed again. Continue adding the broth a ladle at a time, stirring continuously for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in a knob of butter, and some grated Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste. You can use long-grain white rice or brown rice instead of arborio — just don't rinse the rice before cooking, the starchiness will give it a creamy texture.  

Make fried rice

Fried rice is a great way to use up any leftover rice. Here's a guide, but really, customize this freely to your tastes! Heat a couple of tablespoons of canola oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add in 1 chopped clove of garlic, ½ teaspoon of minced ginger and some chopped onions, and cook until soft but not browned. Add a whisked egg to the pan and stir until scrambled, about 30 seconds. Add a big handful of fresh or canned vegetables (chopped), cook until heated and softened. Finally, add 3 cups of cooked rice, a splash of soy sauce and sesame oil and toss for a couple more minutes.  

Ariel Lefkowitz is a Canadian/American food writer, chef, and video journalist based in Montreal, Que. She has been a trained chef for over a decade. Ariel believes that cooking is a critical part of self-care that should be joyful, sustainable and accessible. She is currently developing a comedic cooking show, titled 'Cooking in the Cut'. Follow her at @cookinginthecut.

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