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Have a Never Fails, Really flavorful, Easy (veg) Side Rice Dish

I'm looking for an easy to whip up rice dish that I can use as a side for any meal. Everytime I make a rice dish, it never ends up tasting all that great. I'm looking something really easy, REALLY tasty. Also thinking about putting a bunch of spices in a bunch of packets so that I can just ad it to the water whenever I decide to make the dish. This way I don't have to buy the stuff in boxes.

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  1. Well, to me the secret of great tasting rice is to start with a great tasting rice like Tilda Basmati. From there, I prepare it the way I learned in a class on Indian cooking. In a small bowl, swish 1 cup rice around in water, drain, repeat about 3 times until water stays clear. Soak for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, chop up some onions, and any other vegies that will taste good with my main (like red bells or carrots) fine. Saute the vegies in a small pan in some ghee or butter or olive oil (depending on my main), add the drained rice, then 1.5 cups cold water and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and boil until the surface water has disappeared and there are "craters" on the surface of the rice. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover, and cook 5 minutes. Turn off the burner and let sit 5-15 minutes until the main is ready. Fluff and serve. This technique has been never fail for me, and always comes out delicious. I don't tend to put spices in rice, but I sometimes add either chopped fresh parsley or cilantro, depending on the main. With some Mexican food I like to serve a rice dish where I toast some whole cumin seed in the butter, and add a generous pinch of turmeric, and a small red potato, diced, with the rice. No need to change the water proportions. This is beautiful and tasty, I guess what is called sopa seca in Mexico.

    1. This rice pilaf recipe is incredibly easy. I usually make it with chicken or beef broth, but I am sure it would work with vegetable broth just as well:

      1 cup long grain rice
      1/2 cup orzo (or pieces of thin spaghetti, broken into 1/2 in lengths)
      14-1/2 oz broth (one can) - no fat, reduced sodium
      chopped onions or shallots (optional)
      1 tbs oil
      salt, about 1 tbs
      several grinds fresh pepper

      1. Heat oil in 2 qt pot. If adding onions or shallots, sautee until translucent. Add orzo, stirring frequently until golden -- about 3 minutes.
      2. Add rice, and stir to coat with oil. Add broth, salt & pepper.
      3. Cover & bring to boil. Immediately reduce heat to lowest possible simmmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
      4. Turn off heat, leave covered & allow to sit for at least 2 minutes. Fluff & serve.

      3 Replies
      1. re: masha

        I am going to try this tonight. I will report back next week. Sounds just like what I am looking for. Thanks

        1. re: masha

          YUM! This is a recipe that I grew up with and still make. When my mother made it, though, it was before we had ever heard of orzo. She made it with broken dried spaghetti and it was my job to crack it into little 1-2" pieces. Oh, one other difference as well, she started the whole thing with about a half a stick of butter instead of oil and I admit to still using it, although not that much.

          1. re: ajcraig

            I just made it. It came out ok, but I know what I did wrong, and will fix it easily next time. I used a concentrated veg broth, and spooned in too much. Other then that - Yum!

        2. Have I got a dish for you! This easy Wild Rice and Broccoli casserole can be used as a main or a side. It originated in Calgary Alberta in 1975, by a ladies' bridge group, and is now part of one of the best selling Canadian recipe books of all time, "The Best of Bridge". If you visit pretty much any Albertan family for a Christmas or other special occasion dinner you will most likely find it on the table. I'm from the East originally so it was new to me upon moving to Alberta, but now it's a favourite go to!

          Wild Rice and Broccoli Casserole
          The Best of the Best - Vol. 1 (Page: 176)
          The Best of Bridge (Page: 93)

          1/2 lb. cheddar cheese, grated
          2 heads broccoli (approx. 2 lb.)
          1 pkg. Uncle Ben's Wild Rice Mixture
          2 cans (or less) mushroom soup

          Cook rice mixture as directed. Cook broccoli until crunchy. Mix soup and cheese. Grease casserole dish. Alternate cheese, soup mixture, broccoli and rice in layers. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese. Cook at 350 F. for one hour.


          1. i do, I have a cheesey, sour cream rice dish that you make with white rice, sour cream several grated cheeses, and chilis. Its gooey and rich, and goes like wild fire. Let me know. Oh wait, easy? Do you have a stong man or food processor to grate the cheese? That you'll need...its delish.

            1. Here's a favorite of ours...but it is baked, not stovetop...

              Everyday Rice Pilaf

              1/2 an onion, minced
              2 TB unsalted butter
              2 cups long grain white rice
              1 quart canned or homemade chicken broth
              1 bay leaf
              2 sprigs fresh thyme
              1 teaspoon salt
              1/4 tsp. black pepper

              Preheat oven to 400. In a saucepan, heat onions and butter til onions are translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well-coated with butter. Add the broth, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring the stock to a boil. Cover the pot and place in preheated oven. (OR...pour into a ceramic casserole dish, cover and place in oven). Cook until the rice has absorbed all of the liquid and is tender, about 20 minutes. ***NOTE: it's easy to cut this recipe in half...I always use the regular amounts of the bay leaf and thyme, though***

              1 Reply
              1. re: Val

                you can basically follow this recipe with brown rice, just baking for twice as long (or even three times as long, but I usually do it at somewhat below 400, say 375 or so, depending on whether anything else is in the oven). I love it with brown basmati rice!

              2. I like rice all sorts of ways, from steamed jasmine rice to white rice cooked Carolina stye to pilaus and pilafs and risottos. But when I am cooking rice as a side dish I like to do a variation on Mexican rice. (It is worth doing a web search for recipes.) The basic idea is to saute the rice in in a broad pan in a bit of oil until the grains begin to look opaque. You can take them to the point that they are golden brown, but watch that you don't burn them. Toward the end of the precooking of the rice, I throw in a bit of finely chopped onion and maybe some minced garlic. (You can add garlic, a bit of tomato paste, cumin, whatever grabs you.) (Some do the onions and garlic first, but I find I often end up burning them.) Then add hot broth which should come to a boil immediately. (My experience is that if you add cold broth, sometimes the rice will not get tender.) Cover and turn down the heat to low and let the rice absorb the broth.
                Another easy thing to do is to fry leftover white rice. If it is moist, spread it on a cookie sheet and let it dry a bit in a warm oven. Put oil in the skillet, saute onions, garlic and whatever vegetables you like. Carrots can be grated or julienned. I often put in sesame seed to toast with the onions. Sometimes I'll add finely shredded cabbage. Then add the rice and fry it, stirring with the vegetables until it is hot. I you like, garnish with strips of omelet or other cooked eggs.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Father Kitchen

                  Here's a really easy Indian-spiced side dish:

                  Rice with Peas
                  One tablespoon vegetable oil
                  4 whole cloves
                  1 small cinnamon stick
                  2 cardamom pods
                  1 teaspoon cumin seeds
                  1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
                  1 1/4 cup long grain rice (I use basmati)
                  1 1/4 cup shelled fresh peas, or defrosted frozen peas
                  2 teaspoons salt
                  2 1/2 cups hot water

                  Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the whole spices over medium heat for one minute. Add the turmeric and rice and fry for two minutes, stirring. Add salt, peas and water and bring to a boil over high heat, then turn the heat very low, cover tightly and cook for 25 minutes, without lifting the lid or stirring. Fork up the rice and remove the whole spices. Serve hot.

                  1. re: janniecooks

                    OOPS, DIDN'T SEE THE "VEG" heading. Well, I'll leave this anyway. Haven't tried it with veg broth, but will have to.

                    My favorite quick rice "pilaf" dish is as follows:

                    1 cup rice (long grain or basmathi)
                    1 tsp olive oil
                    2 Tbsp butter
                    1 medium onion, chopped
                    1 1/2 cups Swanson Chicken Broth (low sodium, regular, whatever....I've even resorted to using a bouillon cube when desperate).
                    1 smallish Le Creuset-type pot with tight-fitting lid

                    Sautee the onion in the oil/butter til softened and starting to brown.

                    Add the rice and stir to coat.

                    Add the broth and bring to a boil. Boil for a minute or two. Cover pan and reduce heat to low. Cook as usual for rice - shorter, obviously, for basmathi.

                    This produces a tasty rice with a browned onion layer on the bottom that Persians love so much, the name of which I can never remember.

                    I sometimes add a few cardamom pods to the onions as they brown. You can fish them out before serving.