Carrot rice is basically just rice cooked with carrots and some flavorings. It makes the rice colorful, as well as sneaking in some more vegetable content into your meal, bento or not. (It should work on kids too.) It does not taste ‘carrot-y’ at all, just slightly sweet.
I’ve been experimenting with different ways of making carrot rice, and these are the two methods that produce the best flavored rice so far with the least effort. One or the other may fit your routine better, so they are both here.
This produces a slightly paler (rosey) colored rice compared to the other method. It’s the one in the left half of the photo.
To make 2 rice cooker cup’s worth, which is about 4 cooked cups:
Chop up the onion finely. Sauté it in the oil or butter until limp.
Wash the rice as usual. Add the carrot juice to the rice cooker with the washed rice, and top up with water to the 2 cups mark. Add the rest of the ingredients. Cook the rice using normal settings.
This is good if you want to eat carrot rice for dinner and have extra for your bento the next day, or to freeze a batch.
This method is very easy, and great when you have frozen or leftover rice that you want to jazz up. It makes a speckled orange-and-yellow rice. It’s the one on the right half of the photo above. This makes 2 cups worth of rice.
Grate the carrot finely. (To get half a carrot grated, take a whole carrot and grate down to about half. Use the rest for another dish). Grate the onion to produce about 1 Tbs. of pulp and juice. A microplane grater is the ideal implement for both grating tasks. (See Essential equipment ).
Mix these together with the oil or butter, salt and herbs.
Spread the rice on a microwave safe plate. Spread the carrot mixture on top. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes (depending on your wattage). The carrot should become completely soft. Mix well into the rice. (To deepen the color you can drizzle on a tiny bit of soy sauce.)
I prefer the second method, since I can use any plain rice I have on hand including the frozen stash I usually have . Plus cooking times are the same for brown or white rice, since the rice itself is cooked already. Either one is good if you want to bring a little cheery color to your bento. Carrot rice makes nice pre-flavored onigiri.