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Dec 8, 2013 01:21 PM

Where can I find plain yellow rice with no seasoning?

This has been driving me nuts for the longest time. I used to go to this place called california chicken grill and they served everything with plain yellow rice. It has a much better flavor than white rice. Every brand of yellow rice that I have ever bought in the store has this strange seasoning added to it. I have even tried washing the rice to remove the seasoning but the flavor still remains.

Does anyone know where I might be able to find plain yellow rice? I have looked at every package in the grocery store and they all contain this same seasoning.

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  1. I'm not aware of any commercial mixes that don't have seasonings.

    Classic yellow rice is made with saffron. Some places use turmeric or annatto for yellow coloring - but the flavor will not be the same. Perhaps experimenting with these will help you reproduce the dish.

    1. I went to the California Chicken Grill website and they describe all their dishes as being served with "seasoned yellow rice" so maybe it's an issue of balancing the seasonings.

      1. You were tasting the seasonings, not the rice.

        Yellow rice is made by adding seasonings (as meatn3 details) to white rice.

        All of these are pretty good:

        Vigo Yellow Rice Mix (too sticky for my taste, but good flavor)
        Mahatma Yellow Rice (good)
        Badia Sazon Tropicale - a tiny packet you add to the cooking water to flavor (and color!) two cups of white rice (no MSG)-- our favorite

        If CA Chicken Grill's rice has no flavor, then it's not very good yellow rice -- it's supposed to have a flavor!

        1. I'll venture that it wasn't the seasoning that turned it yellow, like Zatarains. It was the liquid it was cooked in, and I'll venture further that the liquid was chicken broth, which imparts a nice subtle flavor and subtle color to rice.
          Other than that, I don't know. But I have to go to my favorite grocery of all time, which by odd coincidence has a vast, well-stockd bulk section with all kinds of rice, and I'll check it out because now I'm curious.
          Anyway, you might try that, Add spices as you like. As other people have pointed out, there are some spices that lend a yellow color that you should probably check out.
          *Edit# Does the restaurant serve ethnic food? If so, what kind?

          8 Replies
          1. re: mamachef

            It's a Florida-based chain (despite the name) -- so it's a pretty safe bet that the yellow rice derives directly from the Spanish influence on the food in the state.

            Annato, turmeric, or one of the mixes I mentioned upthread (or some commercial equivalent) -- I'd bet my lunch money on it.

            1. re: sunshine842

              The chain website describes it as: 'Savory seasoned yellow rice'

              I use Sazón Goya packets, which come in annato (achiote) and azafran versions.

              The classic method in Latin America for making yellow rice is to gently fry annato seeds in oil, and use the colored oil to make a rice pilaf.

              1. re: paulj

                but I'm doubting that a fast-food chain in a university town is spending too much time frying annato seeds.

                Spanish cuisine produces a very light yellow rice with saffron -- that's pretty prevalent in Florida, too, but not at fast-food chains in university towns.

                1. re: paulj

                  paulj, I really like that product. I live in a very mixed ethnic community, and it's not unheard of, in the grocery store, to hear a mamacita telling her daughter, in NO uncertain terms, that those packets and jars were only for LAZY people and hippies, and that therefore they would NOT purchase them. Also by the way, she then told her daughter to cancel any plans she may have that evening, in order ot learn to make sazon, and while they were at is she'd be learning to make her own...something else, a base for EVERYTHING they cook. I know what it is and can't think of it right now. It will come to me in the middle of the night though. Every cuisine has a version, differently named.
                  You mentioned something about an objectionable flavor in the commercial products you tried. Knowing that, if you make your own, use saffron instead of annato. It's pricey as hell, which leads me to believe that what you're tasting is annato, which is much stronger and more noticeable. Saffron is quite subtle,. Pricey, but having it will open up a whole new world of things to cook, especially South of the border cuisines and Middle Eastern.meals. Lucky you!
                  *EDIT, D'OH!!!!!* Sofrito! Jaysus, that's the name of the cooking base that shows up everywhere in almost every cuisine: oil, onions, garlic, and whatever herb(s)are desired for a pronounced flavor.
                  How could I forget that, even momentarily? Augh!

                    1. re: mamachef

                      I'm more familiar with annato than saffron, in fact I have both the seeds and ground form in my pantry (as well as the Goyo packets). There have been several threads about using achiote, and the consensus seems to be that you have to use it as they do in the Yucatan to get much flavor from it. In most parts of Latin America it is use more for color than flavor. It is also used as commercial food coloring in the USA (e.g. to make margarine look like butter, or even to make butter look more like butter).

                2. re: mamachef

                  The food isn't ethnic at all, it's a place that caters to college kids. They sell grilled chicken and rice "boxes" as sort of a healthy alternative to other fast food options.

                  1. re: Footballman407

                    Nope, not ethnic -- but yellow rice in Florida is not considered ethnic. It's just yellow rice, and it's pretty easy to find at all kinds of restaurants at all kinds of price levels.

                3. I'm afraid you will have to make your own. Annatto or saffron will yield the yellow color you're looking for. Each will impart a unique flavor unless you go with a yellow food dye

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    Turmeric is what I use in my yellow rice... so that works too!

                    1. re: juliejulez

                      Yes, forgot about the one. As a dried spice it has little flavor. Fresh on the other hand.....

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        I just stumbled on fresh turmeric at my farmer's market - scubadoo97-you are so right, it has a totally different flavor! I was quite surprised. The farmer said to preserve it, to freeze the tuber and then grate off the amount needed. I haven't really found any recipes that spec fresh, so it's kind of a guess, but I love the flavor. I use it in a lot of rice dishes-do you have any other ideas for use? Thanks!

                        1. re: ksbee

                          I've found fresh turmeric in regular supermarkets in Chicago

                          I did freeze it and put some in sherry like Ginger but the latter creates taste issues so I won't do it again.