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What to put on rice?

After watching my Indian (from India) co-worker eat some really cool looking lunches for the last few months, all piled on a bed of rice, I broke down and purchased a nice rice cooker, It makes a lot of great rice.

The problem is........ I have run out of ideas for the topping. I am asking you folks, what is your favorite thing to put on or eat with rice.?

I live close to all flavors of ethnic markets and can get just about any ingredients out there. The only thing I don't care for is seafood, but my cooking skills are fairly good.

My last successful attempt was a Thai inspired cashew chicken dish that was pretty good.

Ok, here we go...... What is your favorite dish with rice?

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  1. In Hawaii a favorite is chili on rice.
    Bet you never thought of that one.

    Loco Moco
    Fried egg, hamburger patty and brown gravy on rice.

    5 Replies
    1. re: monku

      What can't you put on rice? (My grandfather used to put spaghetti on rice). Some ideas:

      Roast chicken (supermarket rotisserie is fast and cheap) - freshen with a quick persillade of herbs, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and butter.)

      Chinese BBQ (pork, chicken, duck, etc.)

      All sorts of ethnic stews, braises and curries (Beef Rendang, etc.) made using commercial spice pastes - you can buy good packaged spice pastes nowadays that are free from preservatives to simplify the preparation. (eg http://www.asianhomegourmet.com.sg/ca...


      You can even cook your protein at the same time as you cook rice...a common trick is to slice some Chinese sausage (for example) on a bias and toss it in to the rice cooker on top of the rice. It will cook together with the rice as it steams.

      Braised sausages - braise in water, wine or beer.

      My favorite quick lazy meal is a fried egg on top of steaming rice with few good shakes of furikake (a Japanese condiment). Sometimes I forgo the egg.

      ...just a few ideas.

      1. re: monku

        Chili is usually served over rice here in the UK too!

        1. re: Kagey

          I always ate beef chili over white rice as a kid. Now I make it with turkey, beans, or a combo and serve it over brown rice. Can't imagine eating chili without rice!

        2. re: monku

          My husband has never been to Hawaii. He calls chili on rice Cincinnati chili, not sure where he learned about it.

          1. re: lgss

            My friend from Cincinnati makes Cincinnati chili for Superbowl parties. It is Chili over Spaghetti the way she does it!

          1. re: alwayscooking

            Stew - absolutely. A great way to use up leftovers. Also Chicken A La King, anything stir fried. Of course, I just like rice with a little soy sauce as well.

            1. re: boyzoma

              chicken a la king!! my husband's grandfather is always talking about this.. and I would love to make it for him. do you have a recipe?

              1. re: cheesecake17

                This is my fast and easy one. However, its even better if you have the time to make your own cream of chicken sauce, and using leftover fresh veggies is preferable.

                1-2 cups diced chicken meat
                1 bag mixed vegetables (thawed) (I use petite mixed)
                1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
                1 can Chicken Broth
                1 sm. Can sliced mushrooms
                1 chicken bullion cube
                ¼ cup flour
                ½ cup water
                Salt & Pepper to taste
                Options: Serve over rice, noodles, toast or biscuits.

                In a sauce pan, mix vegetables, chicken stock and salt & pepper. Heat until boiling. In another cup, stir flour and water together to make a thickening mixture. Reduce heat and add mushrooms, bullion, diced chicken meat and soup. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in flour/water to make just thick enough to spoon over rice (or other options). Serve.

          2. Get yer wok on, son.

            Figure out how to use Black bean paste and use it with Chicken, tofu, Beef, etc.

            Almost anything in this book:


            1. As a child , my Austrian Mother would often serve me chili over rice. Delicious!

              1. I made this by accident last night in about 5 minutes and it was phenomenal. I'd previously made jasmine rice (the Trader Joe's store brand is great out West) that I'd turned into coconut rice with the addition of some canned coconut milk for a bit of the water toward the end. I froze a little of the leftovers.

                So last night I thawed it out, heated it briefly (microwave), fried a few bits of green onion in a teaspoon or two of coconut oil, and then tossed in a handful of trimmed cilantro leaves and a couple tiny bits of fresh basil, and threw in the rice - really just to toss it a little.

                Put it on a plate and it was just amazing. Sometimes in coconut rice they put little sweet corn kernels also. (And if you want to get fancy, I'm sure fresh coconut milk with a few shreds of fresh or frozen coconut would add to it.)

                OK, so that is the RICE part. Something like tender beef strips stir-fried with fresh mint and basil would be great with that.

                On a different rice topic, if you use basmati and make a biryani (add tart berries/nuts etc.), chicken koobideh (a kind of kabob) is amazing. Also a good whitefish with mango salsa on coconut rice.

                1. I just had it for lunch several hours ago.

                  Chana Masala over basmati rice. I'm not a vegetarian, but I play one in real life.

                  1. Dal and rice. Your Indian co worker can probably help you with a recipe or two. Legumes paired with rice make a complete protien as well.

                    1. A better question might be what can't you put on rice?

                      Anyhow, here are some ideas, from the very basic and convenient side of things:

                      1. Canned sardines in tomato sauce
                      2. Scrambled or fried eggs
                      3. Chili
                      4. Soup
                      5. Stews
                      6. Cubed tofu with some soy sauce and chili oil, garnished with some diced scallions
                      7. Curry
                      8. Pickled veggies
                      9. Pork chops
                      10. Chicken breasts, or thighs
                      11. Oxtail
                      12. Pot roast
                      13. Eggplants tossed with soy sauce and diced garlic


                      You get the idea.

                      1. Make Bibimbap.
                        Seasoned spinach, bean sprouts, fern sprouts, carrot shreds, potato shreds, bellflower root, shredded beef, sunny side up egg, and some gochujang (chili paste).
                        I have been working on a guide to bibimbap and can post some more detailed info if anyone is interested.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: hannaone

                          me! me!!
                          Let's start with how to say it- in my head I was calling it 'Bim Bam Bop' which is alarmingly innacurate but better than 'Bippity, boppity, boo'...

                          1. re: Boccone Dolce


                            Bee Bim (rhymes with him) Bahp - the b sounds are actually a cross between b and p so bap can sound like either bop or pop.

                            The guide is posted here:

                            1. re: hannaone

                              If all the prep for a proper bibimbop seems daunting for a weeknight meal, I oftentimes do a quick version of it with just a few sauteed vegetables I have readily on hand (kale, spinach, carrots, onions, mushrooms, shredded lettuce - in any combination) and an egg over-easy. Just add some sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds and gochujang and toasted shredded nori if you have them.

                              I love a simple breakfast version with a little warm dashi or miso, sesame oil, soy sauce, a pat of butter, some shredded nori, and an egg over-easy.

                            2. Try adding things to the rice pot before you turn it on. This opens up a whole chapter of new ideas.

                              Mushrooms and Rice:


                              Fava beans:

                              Also, see if there is a switch on your rice cooker to make rice porridge.

                              1. Here are some things that come to mind: Japanese Style Curry and Oyako donburi (chicken and egg over rice). Some other favorites that require no cooking: ochazuke (tea, crumbled rice crackers, nori and sometimes salmon), natto (fermented soybeans- I love it, but I may be in the minority), furikake ( dry Japanese condiment sprinkled on top of rice. Typical ingredients include dried fish, sesame seeds, and chopped seaweed,) and Gohan desu yo (seasoned seaweed paste).

                                1. Wonder if your co-worker would share some recipes?

                                  1. Sometimes I like it plain with some of that really thick black Chinese soy sauce.

                                    Any sort of condiment or sauce with cubes of tofu.

                                    Saute sliced garlic and chili with

                                    Moroccan tagine--either chicken (see Claudia Roden) or veggie (Deborah Madison's Veg Cooking for Everyone has a great chickpea/greens with Moroccan spices recipe).


                                    Put rice in the next pot of soup you make, if appropriate.

                                    Lime Pickle

                                    Black beans!

                                    1. The Indian toppings on the rice can be:

                                      Lentils: (there are tons of varieties in indian grocery stores, and each of them have a different taste)
                                      Chicken: plain gravy with onion-ginger-garlic-tomatoes, gravy with coconut milk, or gravy in cream sauce.
                                      Lamb/Goat: Same style gravies as with Chicken
                                      Vegetables: Mostly in sauces, with onion-tomatoes or coconut milk.

                                      Other Asian dishes like stir fries and most of malaysian and thai dishes are also served with rice.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: cpw

                                        I totally agree with ipsedixit - it is tough to think of a viand which can't be paired with a plate of good steamed rice. You could let your rice sit overnight and fry it up with bacon and eggs the following morning, let your taste buds lead you to add garlic, onions, sausage - so many variations.

                                        My favorite comfort food is rice and pork adobo. When you have some time you could try this baby back rib recipe. There are also numerous other versions of adobo to try.


                                      2. Oh me oh my, rice. I don't' use my rice cooker, I just use a pot most of the time, but they are a great thing for large families.

                                        Well to start with I make a big ol pot and then put the rice in the fridge to chill, and make yummy fried rice or what I call Indonesian rice. it is so spicy and full of everything under the sun.http://www.flickr.com/photos/7220939@...
                                        Then there is my seafood hot curry. With lots of shrimp, and scallops so fragrant with ginger, and garlic and scallions and so freaking hot, it'll cure pnemonia.
                                        Then there's my mom's dish. Pepper steak, for which every now and again I get a hankering for, Lots of red and green peppers, tons of white onions and a nice brown gravy that yes, has kitchen bouquet in it.
                                        Of course, red beans and rice. No beating that, and you can eat for a week.
                                        When times were tight I use to make a hamburger gravy with a white sauce, and put that over rice. Sounds good to me right now.
                                        Or just eat a bowl of rice with a bit of kimchee and veggies, hot sauce, soy scramble an egg, and call it a snack.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                          Of course, red beans and rice. And every other sort of bean goes with rice (black, pinto, soft-cooked southern style green beans, blackeyed peas, lady cream peas, purplehulls, crowders, etc). Beans-n-rice has the added benefit of being good for you, too.

                                          Google "rice cooker jambalaya" for a whole slew of ideas on cooking more than plain rice in your rice cooker. And gravy: rice and gravy (pan juices resulting from a braised piece of meat, I mean) is one of the first solid foods people feed to little cajun babies.

                                        2. i'm getting so hungry reading this post!

                                          my god-mother used to put a pat of butter on top of hot rice, with a little s&p.

                                          as for the chili, growing up in texas we always had frito pie (chili with fritos) and rice at home.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: lschow

                                            Thanks for the suggestions. Homemade chili on rice will go with me to work in the morning

                                            1. re: lschow

                                              ooh I forgot, I will have plain rice for breakfast with butter, then I drop some soy and sriacha with every bite. YUM. so good. Rice does really well in the microwave to reheat too.

                                            2. A few more ideas:
                                              - A little lightly sautéed spinach with garlic and a cooked salmon fillet, all topped with soya sauce
                                              - Cooked black beans Tex-Mex style with peppers, zucchini, cumin, tomatoes
                                              - Any curry (Thai; Indian, etc.)
                                              - Braised lentils
                                              - Osso buco
                                              - Creamed turkey or chicken with mushrooms
                                              - Meatballs with tomato sauce
                                              - Ratatouille

                                              1. hot rice with smoked salmon and terriyaki sauce and crunchy shallots

                                                1. When I'm feeling lazy, just a pat of butter, scallions and a ton of Sriracha.

                                                  1. almost forgot, make a cold salad. Make a dressing with balsamic, add scallions, fresh corn or peas, fresh basil, grape tomatoes, dried cherries, or golden raisins, pecans, and eggs, or just about anything your heart desires. Balsamic and olive oil with a little mashed garlic paste mix it well before adding, then the salad is good to go. Serve cold or room temp. Scoop some and serve in butter or red leaf lettuce leaves as a appetizer or fresh snack. Feta, olives, you name it, rice makes one of the best salads. I prefer it to the old standard macaroni salad heavy with mayonnaise.

                                                    1. first of all coconut rice rules there are recipes all over the internet but basically just add a can of coconut milk when its cooking instead of water and then a little brown sugar too taste (at least this is how i do it ;-)) and i agree with all the other ideas posted curries salads etc yummy....another i do which is a little wierd but oh so nice is cottage cheese tuna and brown rice also sometimes i add avacado and cherry tomatos if i feel like it season with salt pepper and parsley a sqeeze o lemon and your good to go.

                                                      and sometimes i make tabouli using rice instead of bulgar because i have celiac i usually use brown it comes out very nicely.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: umbushi plum

                                                        gotta try your rice and cottage cheese,etc... I would love that, with lots of red pepper flakes and sea salt. Or maybe some red wine vinegar too?

                                                        1. re: chef chicklet

                                                          i used to do cottage cheese and brown rice, but with stevia, cinnamon and vanilla and nuked in micro til gooey like rice pudding...

                                                      2. Well according to my SO everything goes well on rice - really if there isn't rice then it is not dinner. So taking that advice you can stirfry any meat and veg and put it on rice. The tricky part is seasoning the stir fry. Some options include simple veg, garlic, ginger, soya and sesame seed oil, black been sauce, hoisin, oyster sauce - really there are many sauces in jars at the market that you can try in veg and meat and put on rice. You can also take a second step and stir fry the rice and add veg and a scrambled egg. At the end if you have rice left over you can make congee with 5 parts water and 1/2 part rice, boil, and add meat, veg etc. Now my most favorite dish is smoked curred canned chinese herring in black bean sauce steamed over the rice in the rice cooker - haven't seen it in stores lately but if you can find it - very good on rice.

                                                        1. Really, anything stew-y or sauce-y or gravy-y... ! Its the sauce that makes rice so yummy...

                                                          1. Speaking of rice and rice cookers:

                                                            I just moved, and it's just me. Found a very small, and therefore very rare, rice cooker at Walgreen's for $10. It works great. Auto cooks, then switches to a warming mode when done.

                                                            1. veggies with chickpeas or hummus

                                                              black beans, broccoli or zucchini, salsa, and guacamole

                                                              sweet potato, hazelnuts, and currants or cranberries

                                                              stir fry veggies, cashews, pineapple, and tamari

                                                              collard greens or kale with a mixture of salsa & peanut butter

                                                              1. Why not flip your question on its head: What can you put your rice in?

                                                                Here are just a few suggestions:

                                                                Make a burrito with rice, beans and/or meat and cheese and something with heat .
                                                                Stuffed peppers or cabbage.
                                                                Asian-influenced lettuce wrap.

                                                                The wraps and burrito also hold the advantage of being quite portable which can be useful if you have to eat on the move.

                                                                1. Fried onions and mushrooms - can't go wrong.
                                                                  A dash of sesame oil or truffle oil - yum

                                                                  1. i like egg whites scrambled with bragg's amino acids and garlic/onion powder, diced broccoli, wild mushrooms and diced asparagus.

                                                                    kung pao shrimp and scallops

                                                                    miso glazed eggplant

                                                                    1. natto (fermented soybeans) whipped with soy sauce, green onions, and crumbled nori, poured over hot rice

                                                                      raw egg mixed with soy sauce, mixed in with hot rice

                                                                      day-old rice with dashi, soy sauce, and egg drizzled into the broth

                                                                      broiled salmon onigiri

                                                                      mapo doufu


                                                                      sake chazuke

                                                                      1. You can make various rice dishes *in* the rice cooker - add diced vegetables, other grains (try millet, or 'ten treasures oats' from a Chinese grocery). My husband does a lovely Japanese eel rice in the cooker. I do one with rice, various diced vegetables, and a mixture of tomato juice and chicken stock for the liquid, for a lovely tomato rice.

                                                                        1. We serve this sauce over rice all the time.

                                                                          Thai style peanut dipping sauce

                                                                          4 tablespoons peanut butter
                                                                          2 tablespoons salad oil
                                                                          4 tablespoons soy sauce
                                                                          4 tablespoons granulated sugar
                                                                          4 tablespoons distilled vinegar
                                                                          1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
                                                                          2 teaspoons hot chili sauce, such as Sriracha
                                                                          1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

                                                                          Combine ingredients in
                                                                          bowl and mix well with whisk.

                                                                          Serve over rice, hot or cold noodles, pot stickers or as a spring roll dipping sauce.

                                                                          1. Mapo tofu
                                                                            Sunny side up egg with a drizzle of oyster sauce
                                                                            Japanese style curry
                                                                            Cream corn and chicken

                                                                            1. When I was young, my mother used to make rice with a pat of butter and sprinkled brown sugar over it and then pour warm milk over the top for breakfast. It was very good. But then Mom used to make milk toast too! (Toast, buttered, cubed in about 1/2" squares - in a bowl sprinkled with sugar and warm milk poured over it).

                                                                              1. A quick one-pot recipe I do in the rice cooker is chicken rice. Substitute all the water you'd normally use with chicken stock. For every cup of rice, add diced chicken (about 1 handful), 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp scallions and a handful shredded chinese cabbage. Start rice cooker as normal.
                                                                                A late night snack - make sure rice is very hot. Butter. Raw egg. Soy sauce. Mix. Eat :)

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: ozinboz

                                                                                  Love your late night snack idea. So the hot rice cooks the egg? Could almost add some green onion as well? But your original sounds delicious.

                                                                                  1. re: boyzoma

                                                                                    Oh yes, I did think of green onions, it is a natural isn't it? I'm just too lazy to break out the knife late at night. I usually have rice in the fridge and the snack as described only requires a bowl, a spoon and a microwave to prepare.
                                                                                    The eggs get half-cooked by the rice, almost like a half-boiled egg sauce. (It tastes better than it sounds.) I also like to add a few drops of sesame oil.

                                                                                    A guilty secret I have is reheated rice with slices of American cheese melted on top.

                                                                                    1. re: ozinboz

                                                                                      Ooh - love the sesame oil. Always keep some on hand so I will have to try it. Thanks!

                                                                                2. Did anyone already mention gravy? We always have gravy over rice.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: vafarmwife

                                                                                    I don't think so, I'll second gravy. Here's some more suggestions on the easy and just plain old school comfort food style for me:

                                                                                    - Butter, hot sauce, and soy sauce mixed into hot rice
                                                                                    - Fried egg and some griddled spam (eat with some toasted, seasoned seaweed squares)
                                                                                    - Spaghetti sauce
                                                                                    - Hard boiled egg and vietnamese blended fish sauce (nuoc cham), mash it all together
                                                                                    - Cream of mushroom soup
                                                                                    - Throw some rice in a brothy soup to make it more substantial
                                                                                    - Throw on a cooked pork chop, tomato sauce, and shredded cheese and broil or microwave for some chinese syle baked pork chop with rice you get at those late night cafe's.
                                                                                    - Make a quick fried rice as some mentioned

                                                                                  2. Something I like to do with leftover rice (which we always seem to have alot of) is fried rice. Basically stirfry a bunch of veggies with garlic and ginger, add scrambled eggs, cooked rice and soy sauce. If you have any left over grilled meat or roasted meat, chop them up and add it to the mix. You can add a bit of sesame oil at the end and toss in some green scallions. Yum! I like to serve it with sriracha as a condiment.

                                                                                    1. I took a cooking course once and the chef gave us his favourite way to eat white rice: Throw a handful of baby spinach leaves on top of piping hot rice then add a dollop of tsaziki (sp?). Oh - it's good.

                                                                                      1. I love white rice with:
                                                                                        Sesame oil
                                                                                        Jarred pepperoncinis
                                                                                        Scrambled eggs and vidalia onions
                                                                                        Fried in olive oil with onions, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, ground or fresh ginger, and whatever other vegetables you like (bamboo shoots, sliced water chestnuts, sliced bell pepper, etc.), and canned chicken (undrained). If you use fresh chicken you may want to add some salt.