Rice is rice, and it’s white and simple and plain and it can be spiced up and sweetened up and done savory or however you want it. For me, I like a flavorful rice, something other than the bland starch all by itself. I am always looking for ways to use rice in a healthy, tasty way, and creamy rice is one of those ways. As creamy and good as this can make rice, you might think there’s some milk or cream or something dairy in this recipe, but there’s not! (Of course, I have a ‘variation’ at the end that has some ‘creamy’ stuff to add to it, if you want). This is a yummy, flavorful rice that is easy to make but you have to start it a little ahead of time.
So the first step is to buy the right kind of rice. The best rice for this is basmati rice. However, you can do this with just about any rice, as long as it’s not the minute-rice variety. You don’t want to buy the minute-rices or the boil-in-bag rices. These rices are processed, with a lot of the starch outer part of the rice rinsed and washed and sometimes they are bleached and they are processed and some even have MSG and salt added to them.
Instead, find the cheap bags of rice that are often on the bottom shelf at the grocery store, usually for just 50-60 cents per bag. Long grain rice is great for this, but any will work, as long as it’s white rice (we’ll use brown rice and long-grain wild rices for other things, but for this dish, it needs to be white rice).
This recipe is similar to, but not quite the same, as a risotto… you might even call it ‘poor-man’s risotto’.
First, decide how many people you’re going to feed. For this dish, I was using the rice as a side dish to go with green lentil dahl, so I didn’t need all that much. I used one cup of uncooked rice. Do not rinse the rice, simple put it in a pot (stock pot or sauce pot large enough to hold it) and then add three cups of water to the rice pot. DO NOT use a rice cooker to make this recipe–it really won’t work. Into the water, add some garlic, black pepper, and a couple of dashes of paprika. Then put in two tablespoons of chicken bouillon powder. You can use chicken broth in place of water, but it has less flavor and is more expensive. DO NOT add salt. The bouillon has plenty of it for your dish. Now, put a lid on the rice pot–not on the heat–and just let it sit and soak for about 30 minutes before you cook. If you’re making this dish with dahl, you need to soak and rinse your lentils too, so maybe start soaking your stuff when you get home, take a break to change and get ready to cook, then come back in about a half hour later, and you’re ready to start cooking.
Now you want to add about a tablespoon of a quality oil, olive oil, coconut oil, something healthy and good for you, to the rice/water mixture. Then, add about 1/2 cup more of water and put the rice on the stove, on a low to med-low heat. Then, stirring regularly, heat the rice slowly to a nice simmer. The starch on the rice will become thicker and bubblier as it cooks. You want to keep heating the rice slowly and stirring it while it cooks so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. The rice is done when it’s full, thick rice, with a nice thick bubbly sauce to it. It will look and feel creamy when you eat it, but there’s not a drop of milk or cream in it.
Variations: Replace 1/2 the water with coconut milk for an extra creamy, slightly sweet and spicy rice. You can also use coconut water for a sweet and potassium-rich rice.
If you don’t want to use the rice as a side dish for dahl, you can add peas and carrots chunks into it, toss some butter chicken on top. You can even make a soup out of it once you make it creamy. You can add chunks of diced tomatoes and onions to the rice, and add a bit extra paprika. It’s also really good with seasoned crumbled ground turkey or beef, even ground sausage too! Really up to you!
The good news with this creamy rice is, while it takes a little bit of time, it tastes amazing and only has about 50-60 calories per serving, but is quite filling. Rice can be spruced up in so many ways!