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Quick!! Something interesting to do to rice as a side dish

There's loads of threads on what to do with large amounts of leftover rice to make it a meal in and of itself (fried rice, rice fritters, rice puddings etc etc etc...)

But I'm looking for something interesting to do tonight with freshly-cooked rice. I've had steaks marinating all day, plan to grill some zucchini along side. Reason I say rice is a) I have plenty, b) we've had potatoes a couple of other times this week, and c) I have a four-year-old who will eat the steak but not the zucchini.. if I do rice I can reserve some of it plain for him before I spruce it up for us (I try to serve us all more or less the same thing whenever possible...)

My fridge and cupboard are pretty well stocked. What to do? Going to start cooking in about half an hour (dinner time is early around here in respect of said 4-year-old's bedtime)...

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  1. Tomatoes cored out and stuffed with rice, cheese, parsley, onions then baked

    Cilantro rice - fine chopped onion and cilantro stirred into cooked warm rice, salt and pepper to taste

    5 Replies
    1. re: absurdnerdbird

      Yep, cilantro rice (well, IF you like the flavor of cilantro...not everyone does) but Robert Lauriston's Cilantro Rice on this board is famous, beautiful to behold and delicious!

      1. re: Val

        Anyone happen to have a link for this?

        1. re: Becca Porter

          BP...here's the link...truly one of my favorite rice dishes!

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/328780

          1. re: Val

            Wow! I never expected to get so many replies. After Val's post I did a quick look in the recipes section of the site and didn't find the cilantro rice recipe, didn't expect it to be an actual thread.
            Just based on the name and absurd's post I pretty much made the same thing, save I didn't puree the ingredients. I ended up pan-frying the steak so I sauteed onions and garlic with it and then removed it from the pan, added the cilantro with it and stirred in the rice with a bit of oil. I don't think I used nearly enough cilantro, and I didn't use lime juice (although while eating it, I had the thought that lime juice would have been a nice addition). It was good - but not great - so I will definitely give the actual recipe a try as I think it will turn out better than mine.

            To all the other posters, thank you...although if they were after 4:45 pm they were alas too late. We made the said 4-yo try the cilantro rice which was met with the expected over-dramatic disgust...thanks for the risotto recipe M but even cheesy-rice has failed with this overly picky eater. Sigh...hope he finds his inner hound some day. If not, it won't be for our lack of trying.

            1. re: 16crab

              I don't blame him, I don't like cilantro either - way too overpowering.

              Try a simple rice pilaf saute like mine or Mr O's. Subtle flavor, easy, good.

    2. make some plain separate for your boy.

      cook in stock or 1/2 orange juice instead of plain water. you can also toast the rice in a hot skillet til it's brown before adding the cooking liquid. this gives a nice nutty flavor. when it's cooked dress it up with lots of fresh herbs, parsley and basil, toasted nuts, maybe some goat cheese or a sharper cheese and grated lemon zest. and butter.

      mix cheese and pesto or tapenade into it.

      do you have mushrooms? make duxelles and add that in.

      add frozen corn, cilantro, black beans, olive oil and lime juice, maybe a little salsa

      1. Same here... please post if you get some brilliant ideas elsewhere. I'd love to do rice more often but with a 7 year old, we have the same conundrum you have - early bedtimes, and not much time 'twixt coming home and dinner to get something done. The main dish is usually mapped out pretty well but it's the sides that send to trip me up. On th eplus size, mine will eat pretty much anything except very hot stuff. Mine will go for a zucchini-tomato garlic kinda thing so If I sautee the rice and garlic together, till golden then cook with the tomato (canned), zucchini, and the rest of the volumne needed of water, that ought to be pretty tasty. top with some parmesan and with the steak on the size I think everyone will like it. Sort of a italian rice instead of a spanish rice.

        1. Roast some beets in the oven, microwave, steamer, whatever. Cool, cut into small cubes.

          Start rice in the rice cooker as always. When the liquid is mostly evaporated, drop the beets on top. Do not mix. Continue cooking rice till it is done.

          Some of the rice in contact or near the beets will now a beautiful red color; the rest will not. That's good. Mix the beets in quickly and gently. The idea is not to create a bowl of red rice, but this gorgeous confetti of red and white rice, with beets in it.

          Looks great, tastes great. Goes with anything.

          1. Here's my favorite rice dish, very fast and easy, taught to me by the previous Mrs. O who got it from her Armenian grandma. So you thought Rice-A-Roni was invented by a food company in San Francisco? Ha!

            Basic Pilaf

            2 Tbs butter, or 1 ea of butter and olive oil
            1 cup broken up vermicelli (I like the nested kind best)
            cayenne pepper
            1 cup uncooked rice
            2 cups chicken broth

            Melt butter in a heavy 2-qt. saucepan over med-high heat. When it foams, stir in vermicelli, add a dash or two of cayenne, and keep stirring until it turns golden brown. Stir in rice, keep stirring until the grains turn chalky white. Dump in chicken broth ALL AT ONCE (this cools the mixture enough so it'll fizzle like crazy but it won't boil over). When it comes to a good boil, turn the flame to very low and cover tightly. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked and all liquid is absorbed. Taste for seasoning, fluff with fork and serve. This reheats better than plain rice does.

            Peas, carrots, fresh herbs or all kinds of things can be added to this. Its best gig, I think, is as a bed over which to lay your cooked lamb shishkabob. It's also a very good stuffing for butterflied pork or lamb roasts.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Will Owen

              This is generic "Rice-a-Roni" which is one of my major comfort foods. Carried two boxes to Rio recently :)

              1. re: c oliver

                It's really good out of the box, TONS better from scratch, and not really that much harder to do... unless you're stuck with a hotel-room microwave!

                1. re: Will Owen

                  We have an apt. there so this can definitely be made there. And I really like the idea of making with broth instead of water. I also sometimes saute in the R-R some red onions and garlic and add capers and grated cheese for an additional 5 minutes on low at the end. Making me HUNGRY :)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Tell me about it. I did a pork tenderloin last night and REALLY wanted pilaf, but got all virtuous and baked a "Fiesta" squash instead, partly because it was so pretty. Big mistake - stringy and dull, yuck. So guess what I'm making to go with the leftovers...!