4 Totally New Ways To Make Rice

According to a quick Google search, signs of addiction include (but are not limited to):

· The person takes the substance and cannot stop
· Addiction continues despite health problem awareness
· Maintaining a good supply
· Secrecy and solitude
· Denial
· Excess consumption
· Having stashes

My husband, James, hits all of the check boxes when it comes to take-out burritos. Granted, the burritos we get in NYC from Benny’s Burritos are pretty tasty, but it’s become a problem — and it really needs to stop.

One time, after a long work trip, I came home and James proudly stated that he didn’t have ANY burritos while I was gone. WOW — impressive! But then, the next morning, I found a half-eaten tortilla chip (a telltale sign of our favorite takeout joint) under the couch — BUSTED. He turned bright red when I confronted him and his story became that he “hardly had” any burritos while I was gone.

As it is officially “my job” to deal with all the food for the house, I started thinking of ways I could compete with take-out burritos in yumminess and convenience (not an easy task). This “One Rice, 4 Ways” idea is the result. I made a big pot of rice on Sunday night, wrapped it under tinfoil, and we ate it throughout the week with the different sauces and a hearty salad on the side.

Because each sauce has such different flavors and spices, we didn’t tire of having rice every night. By the end of the week, I noticed there were no signs of tortilla crumbs on the floor and no sneaky Benny’s Burrito bags stuffed to the bottom of our garbage. So, maybe this scheme actually worked! (Unless, of course, James has figured out another sneaky way to dispose of his burrito evidence.)

Related: When You Need To Just Eat Your Feelings

1 Rice, 4 Ways

One cup of uncooked brown rice will almost triple when you cook it. Technically, a serving is 1/2 cup of cooked rice, but that seemed paltry to me. For dinner, we enjoyed about a cup of rice each with the sauces below and a salad. Note that each sauce recipe below is configured for two people. If you have more people to feed, boil more rice, and adjust accompanying sauces.
Photo: Courtesy of Impatient Foodie.
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The Rice

Ingredients

1 cup of brown rice
3 quarts (12 cups) of chicken stock
1/2 tbsp of salt
1/2 tbsp of olive oil

Instructions
1. Boil the chicken stock.

2. Once stock is boiling, add salt.

3. Slowly pour in the brown rice, maintaining the boil.

4. Stir once or twice and continue to boil the rice until it’s done (about 25-30 minutes).

5. Drain the rice and run it under cold water for 1-2 minutes; drain well.

7. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil, mix well, and cover the rice with foil. Set aside.

For Mediterranean Rice, add 10 ounces (just over 1/2 pound) of halved cherry tomatoes, a splash of extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat rice and ingredients), the zest of a lemon, 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, and 1/4 cup of basil to the rice. Mix everything together and season to taste with salt and pepper.

For Asian-Flavored Rice, take 1 tablespoon finely diced fresh ginger, 1 large garlic clove, 1 tablespoon yellow or white miso paste, 1 tablespoon tahini, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, 2 tablespoons olive oil, a 1/4 of a box of tofu, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, and a pinch of salt and blitz in a blender until smooth.

Cook shrimp (3-4 cleaned and peeled, no tail, per person) in a pan with olive oil for 3-5 minutes, or until they turn pink. Mix rice with sauce and add the shrimp. Thinly sliced scallions make a great garnish.

Related: Patty's Miso Soup

For Mexican Rice, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Cook garlic (1-2 cloves, minced) and one chopped onion for a few minutes, until translucent. Add a can of black beans with liquid, 1/2 can of peeled tomatoes, and about a tablespoon of tomato paste to the pot. Add cilantro sprigs.

Simmer over medium heat until almost all of the liquid evaporates, about 20 minutes. When the sauce is thick, salt to taste, remove from the heat, and remove the cilantro. Put a layer of the sauce on top of your rice, followed by sliced avocado and some sour cream or crème fraîche. Garnish with chopped cilantro and some Tabasco sauce, if you like spice.

For a simplified Senegalese Rice, start by adding some boiling water to a tablespoon of peanut butter a tablespoon of tomato paste; stir well, and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a pan. Add one chopped onion and two chopped garlic cloves. Add 1/2 can of whole peeled tomatoes once the garlic and onion are golden. After the liquid has cooked off (about 5-10 minutes), add the peanut butter/tomato paste mixture. Next, add 1 cup of chicken stock and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and let the sauce simmer on low for about 15 minutes.

Note: You can also add things like diced carrots, potatoes, eggplant, and okra to this sauce, but it will increase your cooking time by quite a bit.