Rice ideas???

faechildmom
Bento-ing from: San Diego › California › USA
Joined: 25 Apr 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 4 weeks ago.

Hey everyone,
I finally got my bentos in the mail... *jumping up and down* and I need ideas for flavoring the rice. Unfortunely I can't think of anything beyond putting boullion cubes in the water when I steam the rice. My family also hates most veggies so I am stuck...
PLEASE HELP!!!
Thanks,
Melissa

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Loretta
Moderator
Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 20 weeks ago.
Re: Rice ideas???

What kind of rice do you use most, faechildmom?

Personally, I find I treat Indian style rice (such as basmati or patna) very differently from Italian or Spanish rice and these differently to how I treat any of the Japanese varieties I use.

From what I understand, American long grain rice is similar to the Indian patna variety. If this is what you're using then how about flavouring with grated lemon rind, mustard seeds and turmeric? (Add some oil to a pan, put in a little bit of chilli/optional, a spoon of mustard seeds, the seeds will soon start to pop so be sure to have the rest of the ingredients ready, once the seeds start bursting add the rind of a lemon, half a teaspoon of ground turmeric and then the rice and water/stock as well as the juice of the lemon. Cook the rice as you would normally.) This is really nice with little pieces of cashew nuts. I also like to add dried curry leaves (which I pop in at the same time as the lemon rind)

Coconut is great with patna and basmati rice too, but there must be hundreds of recipes for preparing this, from all over Asia right to the Caribbean. I still haven't worked out which is my favourite! The simplest way is just to add coconut milk to rice but it can get a lot more complex than that.

For Japanese rice, once it's cooked and has cooled a little, one of my favourite ways is to fry a little oil with garlic until the garlic has browned, add the rice, combine, then add a couple of tablespoons of dashi concentrate and stir through. Then I take the rice off the heat and mix in a combination of chopped fresh basil and mint leaves. I got the idea for substituting basil and mint for shiso leaves from a book by Harumi Kurihara that an Australian friend lent to me. You can see the original recipe here: http://www.recipezaar.com/Harumi-Kuriharas-Garlic-Fried-Rice-186870 (I don't eat chicken, so the dashi concentrate was a logical substitute for me, and one I really enjoy)

As a cheat, I also like to mix cooled, cooked Japanese rice with Mandarin Jah Jan sauce (Mong Lee Shang brand http://shop.waiyeehong.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=...) and a few chopped vegetables (the vegetables are optional, but if you fry some diced shallot and zuchini/courgette and brown a little before adding the sauce and rice they should hardly be noticeable to vegetable haters!). Actually, I'm drooling now just thinking about it... must get some more! I'd never heard of Jah Jan sauce - also called Zha jiang sauce - until my husband introduced it to me, apparently it's quite well known in Japan (炸醬?), but as an accompaniment to noodles.*

But please do mention which rice you use, it does make a difference.

* P.S.
I've learnt quite a lot working on this response! I plugged in 炸醬 into the Japanese Google image search engine:
http://images.google.co.jp/images?hl=ja&lr=lang_ja&um=1&sa=1&q=%E7%82%B8...
And found lots of delicious looking Jah Jan noodle pictures. I'm going to combine Jah Jan Sauce with minced Quorn (a meat substitute popular in the UK) and have it with drained noodles and shredded cucumber.
Hopefully, it will turn out something like this - http://blog-imgs-31.fc2.com/l/i/m/limesoda/DSCF1026.jpg
Thank you for the inspiration!

Alice
Bento-ing from: Leicester › UK
Joined: 9 Jun 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 35 weeks ago.
Re: Rice ideas???

Green tea is nice as a rice flavouring, I have yet to try black tea. Maki's carrot rice is really good, kind of sweet but not carroty, but a word to the wise, just buy the juice (or at least use a food processor). I should imagine pretty much anything liquid would work, it's just a matter of experimenting to see what tastes good.

Of course you could just make onigiri with salt and a filling, or sushi flavoured with sushi vinigar.

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