10 Ingenious Things Different Countries Do With Their Rice
Rice is a staple in most people’s diet. There is hardly a country in the world who do not eat rice in one form or another. Although rice can often seem quite bland, there are a lot of creative ways different cultures use rice in their meals to transform a simple, common food into an amazing culinary experience.
Here are 10 Ingenious Things Different Countries Do With Their Rice.
India – Curry and Rice
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India is famous for its curry. The natives have perfected the art of combining rice with meat (often chicken) and an array of the countries famous spices. Spices are added to the rice to give it a rich flavour. Curry powder is also used on the chicken, which gives it a real kick. Curry powder is usually a mix of rich and explosive spices, and can be really hot depending on the type of spices used. Curry and rice originated in India but is now a popular meal all across the world, with many countries having their own Indian food businesses which try to provide traditional Indian meals like curry and rice in an authentic way.
China – Fried Rice
Fried rice is a very popular meal originating from China and often a popular Chinese food meal eating across the world. Different Chinese cultures have their own ways of making the meal, but they generally follow the same guidelines to achieve to authentic Chinese fried rice feel and taste. The rice is fried together with bacon (often substituted for chicken), egg, peas, ginger and garlic. This ensures the rice builds up a strong, appealing flavour. It is topped off with soy sauce and a bit of sugar to give it more taste.
Japan – Sushi
Japanese sushi is one of the most inventive and popular way to use rice in a meal. Made famous in Japan and eaten across the world, the rice is wrapped tightly in seaweed together with vegetables and a side of fish or meat. Sushi rolls are small and quick to eat, so they make a great snack or a quick meal amongst friends or guests. You can also add your own twist to the sushi, by combining the wrapped up rice with different vegetables and meats.
Japan – Sake
This is the first item on this list that is actually a drink. Sake is made from rice, which is actually ground down and then steamed. The steamed rice is used to then make koji, which is a yeast that is mixed with water and even more steamed rice. After the fermentation is complete, you have sake. Sake is an alchoholic beverage that is made mainly from just rice. It just goes to show that rice may not be as boring as some people think!
Jamaica – Rice and Peas
Jamaicans love their rice. Jamaicans also love their peas. So it’s not hard to see why rice and peas is such a popular dish over there. There are different variations of rice and peas, with there being occasions when the rice is cooked with flavourings such as ginger and garlic, as well as there being times when it is made as white rice with only the side of peas adding their own bit of extra flavour.
West Africa – Jollof Rice
Jollof Rice is a very popular dish in West Africa, and is a staple of the diets of many of the regions people. Jollof rice is used across the West African region, in countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Mali. It is often made with a side dish of chicken, so also adds flavour to the rice. The rice is cooked with a ginger and chilli mix, as well as there being a dash of pepper and okra.
Mexico – Spanish Rice (Also known as Red Rice and Arroz Rojo)
With a name like that, you would think this rice dish is eaten primarily in Spain. But surprisingly, it is Mexico that hold the rights to this easy to make and great tasting dish. It is usually made as a side dish to more filling Mexican dishes. It is made from white rice which is sautéed in a skillet until it turns golden brown. It is seasoned with tomatoes, garlic and other similar ingredients.
Scotland – Kedgeree
The Scottish rice dish Kedgeree is a long standing Scottish tradition. It is usually made with boiled eggs as a topping, although it can also be topped off with other vegetable ingredients. It is generally seasoned with curry powder and occasionally even mango sauce to give it its distinct flavour.
Colombia – Arroz con Coca Cola y Pasas (Rice with Coca-Cola and Raisins)
This one is a little “out there” when you look at the ingredients. Rice, coca cola and raisins don’t really seem like things that go together, but some Colombian chefs have figured out to create a crazy rice recipe that actually turns out tasting much better than it sounds. To give it its rare flavour the rice is cooked in a sauce pan, with butter, chicken, raisins and you guessed it, coca cola. This is a really creative recipe, and one that is usually served at parties or informal gatherings.
Ethiopia – Wild Rice Pilaf
This interesting Ethiopian rice dish includes a variety of different toppings, including leeks, chicken, onions, and an assortment of different other vegetable toppings to give it great taste. The rice itself is seasoned with a special Ethiopian spice called Berbere, which is a combination of some unusual spices like cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and fenugreek.
Morocco – Amira Rice Salad
The Moroccans have a really smart way to make salads, and that is by adding rice to a dish already filled with an assortment of different vegetables like leeks, peppers, onions, potatoes and carrots. Ironically, sometimes the “salads” can have meat added to them in the form of chicken, lamb or beef. Fish like salmon, tuna or anchovies can also be alternatives to the meat. The rice is made using seasonings like ginger, cardamom and garlic. Although there are variations of the dish that only feature fried rice. The Amira Rice Salad is not always technically a salad, but it is called as such mainly because of its salad like elements. Vegetarianism isn’t big in Morocco so they rarely need a reason to refer salads that are completely meat free, as the majority of the people in Morocco consider meat a very important part of their cultural diet.
These 10 countries and regions show that rice does not have to be boring, and with a little ingenuity, creativity and by adding your own little cultural touch, you can create a culinary masterpiece from a relatively simple and underrated food.