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5 ways with... Rice

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Rice is one of the cheapest and most versatile staples in your cupboard. Whether basmati, risotto or sushi, it doesn't have to be just a bland staple.

Paella

You can add a little Spanish flair to dinnertime with this simple dish – simply fry off chicken, onion and pepper with garlic and a few slices of chorizo. Add in the rice, frying until the grains are translucent then top up with chicken stock, paprika and chilli flakes. Cook slowly for about ten minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add peas and chopped tomatoes, then fry off any seafood you want to add and simmer for a few minutes.

Risotto

Risotto is Paella's Italian cousin, a similar creamy rice dish which can feature virtually any ingredients you fancy. To start, fry onions and garlic slowly on a low heat until soft but not brown. Making sure you have enough oil, add risotto rice and fry until translucent, about one minute. Add wine if you want and then chicken stock, one ladleful at a time. Continue to add stock until rice is cooked and creamy – then add whatever you like! Peas, asparagus and pepper are tasty vegetable options, combined with chicken, bacon or whatever else you need to use up! Always finish a risotto with a sprinkling of parmesan.

Rice Salad

Brown rice is delicious, giving a nutty flavour to anything you cook it with. It's also a wholegrain and therefore more nutritious than white rice. This salad is a play on the California roll sushi, minus the most expensive and difficult to source ingredients! Simply cook up some brown rice and toss with a tiny amount of sesame oil or seeds. Throw in chopped avocado, cucumber and diced seafood sticks (crab-meat if you feel like a splurge). Season with soy-sauce and enjoy warm or cold. I like to add some extra veg as well sometimes – chopped pepper is nice.

Egg-fried rice

Cooking your own rice when you order takeaway is a great way to bring down the cost and egg-fried rice can be a meal in itself. Pre boil as much rice as you want and leave to cool. Mix eggs with sesame oil (or whatever you have to hand) and pour into a smoking hot pan. Allow to solidify for about 30 seconds, then add the cooked rice and stir together. Season with soy sauce and pepper, add veg like peas & spring onions and stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes before serving.

Arancini

For these Italian rice balls you can either use leftover risotto or make a fresh batch. All you have to do is roll the rice into balls, about 7cm across. Next roll the balls in flour, dip in beaten egg and roll again in breadcrumbs. Then transfer to a greased baking tray, spray with oil and bake at approximately 200 degrees for 25 minutes. You can make them even more delicious by stuffing the balls – with almost anything! Popular Italian fillings include diced cheese, a mixture of spinach and ricotta and bolognese sauce.




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