In collaboration with SunRice.
You know how there is that one thing you just fail at in the kitchen? Like poaching an egg is harder to master than peace in the Middle East, and the thought of creating a croissant makes you break out in a cold sweat?
For years I was thwarted by rice. One of the cheapest, most versatile basics you could ever have in your repertoire and I avoided it like a toddler avoiding bedtime because I just could.not.get.it.right. It either sat in a huddled gluggy mass in my saucepan like even it was disappointed in me, or I burned every last grain at the bottom while unhelpfully leaving the top layer uncooked.
Every time I tried, I failed.
I do remember putting it in the microwave once when I was about 20 and sick of scrubbing blackened pots, and it worked so well I made rice that way faithfully for years. One cup of rice, two cups of water, 10 minutes on high, NOTHING TO BURN! I was the smuggest rice cooker in Australia.
And then… one day I didn’t have a microwave. It was time for my nemesis and I to go head to head in a battle royale – and I was determined to come out on top.
Nervously, I put a cup of rice and two cups of water in a pot and set it on the stove. Once it began boiling, I put the lid on, turned the heat down to the lowest setting, and prayed for my soul.
Exactly 10 minutes later I turned the heat off and left the lid on a bit longer for the rice to do its thing (the boil-and-drain method sounded like entirely too much faffing for me), lifting the lid a few minutes later to find:
Every grain soft! Easily separated! No glug, no disappointment – I had nailed cooking rice by absorption on the stovetop first go after all that time!
I’ve made it that way ever since, and I’ve never had an issue. I don’t know why I failed so hard at it for all those years, but it is now the easiest thing. These days I do a cup of rice to a cup and a half of liquid, just to be on the safe side, but it still works every time.
Apparently “how to cook rice” is the second most popular “how to cook” search on Google, and I feel for you, rice newbies. I really do. And if it helps, I used to scrape as much of the rice out of the blackened pan as I could and half fill it with boiling water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid to soak. The next morning I would tip it all out and give it a decent scrub and the pot was good as new 😉
Once you get the hang of it, it really is one of the simplest things in the world to cook, requiring hardly any time and even less skill. Once you nail white rice, you can conquer wild rice, brown rice – just about anything at all! A cheap and abundant source of nutrients is just a few minutes away.
Poh Ling Yeow (Masterchef nerds, unite) has teamed up with SunRice to help those of you who feel like you always seem to ruin rice with cooking tips and simple recipes on the SunRice to the Rescue site. Poh has videos of each cooking method for cooking-from-scratch enthusiasts to get up to speed on what works best for them, and her recipes are only five ingredients and take max 20 minutes.
With that in mind, I thought about what I could do with rice in 20 minutes with minimal ingredients, and I decided to tackle the issue everyone has when they don’t know how much rice to cook per person (Poh will help you with that too!): leftover rice.
Each recipe uses two cups of leftover rice, and feeds four.
Stuffed Peppers with Feta and Lemon
Ok I cheated here, because stuffed capsicums/peppers take about 40 minutes, but the Roasted Red Pepper with Feta and Pinenuts recipe that’s coming up next is the 20-minute dinner winner!
- 4 red capsicums/peppers, sliced in half lengthways and deseeded with the ribs taken out
- 2 cups leftover SunRice (white or brown is fine)
- 100g feta
- 2 tablespoons pinenuts, toasted gently in a medium-hot dry frying pan
- ½ cup veggie stock
Pantry staples: 1 tablespoon lemon zest, juice of half a lemon, salt, pepper, olive oil, chopped fresh parsley.
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- In a large bowl, mix together the rice, feta, pinenuts, lemon juice and zest, stock, parsley, salt, and pepper.
- Drizzle the bottom of the baking dish with olive oil, place on the capsicums and drizzle them with olive oil too. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over.
- Fill the capsicums with your stuffing mixture, cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.
- Take the foil off and bake a further 20 minutes. Serve drizzled with extra olive oil.
Roasted Red Pepper Rice with Feta and Pinenuts
Excellent for when you’ve got less time or are feeling lazy, this risotto-style one-pot dish is super good with a side salad and a loaf of crusty bread.
- 2 cups leftover SunRice (white or brown is fine)
- ¾ cup veggie stock
- 100g feta, crumbled
- 200g sliced roasted red peppers,
- 2 tablespoons pinenuts, toasted in a medium-hot dry frying pan
Pantry staples: 1 tablespoon lemon zest, juice of half a lemon, salt, pepper, olive oil, chopped fresh parsley
- in a medium frying pan, heat the stock and rice gently until rice is warm. You may need to add more stock as you go.
- Add the roasted peppers, zest and juice of lemon, salt and pepper to taste.
- When the rice is hot, gently add in the feta and the pine nuts, and serve drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with the fresh parsley. (If you’re anything like me, you can cheat further and add 1 cup of your favourite cheese over the top and whack it in the oven for a bit to melt)
Chocolate Rice Pudding
Easiest thing EVER, and a nice change from the regular vanilla flavor
- 2 cups leftover white SunRice
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup cream
- ½ cup cocoa
- ½ vanilla bean, scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pantry staples: ½ cup sugar, pinch of salt
- In a small pot, heat the rice with the milk, cream and sugar for 20 minutes until thickened.
- Add the ½ cup cocoa and stir to combine. Serve warm (whipped cream is good too!)
Cacao-Maple Rice Pudding (gluten free, vegan, and refined-sugar free)
One for the health-conscious (sort of!)
- 2 cups leftover SunRice
- 2 cups almond milk
- ½ cup organic raw cacao
- ¼ cup maple syrup
Pantry staples: pinch of salt, pinch of cinnamon
- In a small pot, heat the rice and almond milk gently for 20 minutes until thickened. Add a pinch of salt, the raw cacao, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Serve.
And if you feel so inspired to rice up your life, SunRice are giving away 10 rice cookers every week (now that’s an easy way to make perfect rice every time!) to lucky winners who share their ricey creations on Instagram with the hashtag #sunricetotherescue. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!