Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Cookbook preview: cooked rice, three ways!

[If you have no idea what cookbook I'm talking about, check out this post.]

Cooked rice has been the bane of my existence more times than I can count.

Once you're done the curry you made it with, you have rice left over, so you make more curry, but then you run out of rice before the curry is done. So you make more rice, and then you have new rice left over once the curry is gone. It's like the three-legged stool: the food waste edition.

I've decided to throw the towel in on eating leftover rice as a side dish, or rather, an under dish (as a bed for a stir-fry or stew). So I've developed three recipes to use up cooked rice in new and delicious ways that don't count on me cooking another main course to go with it.

Check out the photos and recipe ideas after the jump!

The dessert: rice pudding

There's no time that isn't the right time for rice pudding. It's creamy, and full of cinnamon and raisins (if you want), and just as good warm out of the pot as it is stone-cold out of the fridge.

With a little almond milk and cinnamon, this day-old rice gets a whole new life, and it's a serious upgrade. And considering it takes about 10 minutes to make, there really isn't much excuse not to.

If you haven't used Arayuma's cinnamon, you are seriously missing out. For real, there's nothing else like it.

Creamy almond milk with flecks of cinnamon and juicy raisins? You almost don't care if there's rice in it at all...

The final product looks almost as good as it tastes! And no more wasted rice? Double score!

The salad: rice salad with dried fruit

In case you didn't know, pretty much any grain or pasta salad can have rice subbed for the grain or pasta. It's sometimes not as flavourful (white rice doesn't taste as strongly as, say, wheat berries), but if the dressing and toppings are good, you're in business!

For this particular salad, I used two of my favourite products of all time: olive oil and za'atar from Zatoun, an amazing co-operative in Palestine that produces the most exquisite olive oil I've ever tasted (and I don't even like olives). Also, it's Fair Trade, which is a big deal in Palestine, FYI.

Dried fruit makes it sweet, the spices make it savoury, and the rice and oil make it creamy. Gorgeous balance makes this salad awesome! And did I mention it takes 5 minutes to make?

Zatoun plus dried fruit make this rice into a tasty salad!

The sweetness of the dried cranberries is just amazing in this salad! Dried apricots would also be heavenly.

The side dish: mock fried rice

If you're a fried rice purist, this may not be for you, even though it's still pretty damn tasty. But if you're someone who likes quick and easy things that use up stuff you already had, this is right up your alley. In exchange for about 10 minutes, you've got an awesome, toasty, salty side dish where you once had bland, white rice that you didn't know what to do with. Sounds like a good trade-off to me.

Veggies, a little sesame oil, and some seasonings add flavour to this rice, but the real key is the toasty flavour you get from browning the rice.

Leftover rice? What leftover rice?


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