You’ve heard of Wikipedia, but did you know a ‘ Ricepedia ’ is in existence?! It’s the home of all things rice, and it explains just how the grain originally came to be.
As the team here at Fairway Foodservice recently scooped an accolade at the Cash and Carry Management Awards for our Easy Cook Long Grain Rice, we thought we’d take a deep dive into the staple carbohydrate.
Where did rice originate from?
Domesticated from the wild grass, oryza rufipogon, around 10,000 years ago, oryza sativa is divided into two subspecies of rice: indica (prevalent in tropical regions) and japonica, which is found in subtropical and temperate areas of East Asia.
Today, of course, we can’t get enough of rice – as a nation and worldwide, with the grain being dished up in all manner of exciting cuisines and cultures. It isn’t so much a staple food, but a trend – and it’s growing in popularity.
Maeve Webster, president of Menu Matters consultancy, tells GetFlavor.com exactly why rice is so prevalent in cooking. “There’s a rice for almost everyone. Want the low-flavor, high-carb experience of white rice? Check. Nutty, more complex flavors? Check. Healthy? Check. Indulgent? Check. It’s a universally familiar, broadly accepted ingredient that is almost infinitely versatile, either through the varieties available, the preparations used, or the flavors included.”
True, it’s versatile, but it’s naturally gluten-free, too, which means chefs can answer diners’ call for gluten-friendly meals.
Rice is considered the most consumed food in the world, too. It’s good for you, as well, contributing to the recommended 170g of daily grains for women, and 200g for men. A good source of zinc and manganese, it can be used in a variety of dishes – and of course, it’s cheap!
Here’s how to make the most of this low-cost yet nutritious commodity:
- In ‘bowl’-based food – it’s Instagram-worthy for a reason; the concept of ‘bowl’ food is a growing trend, because it gives chefs the opportunity to be creative with textures, colours and tastes. Try rice with pork belly, honey-mustard kale and sambal sour cream, as featured on GetFlavor.com
- In porridge – create the perfect breakfast food with rice. Yes, really. Asian influences are on the rise in breakfasts, with rice being made use of in place of porridge oats.
- In soup – you’ve heard of noodles in soup, but rice is beginning to muscle in on the action, too.
Meeting all your culinary needs
Our rice range here at Fairway Foodservice covers all your culinary needs. Below, we share with you our selection – and some tempting recipe suggestions from our chefs:
Risotto – Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese
Ingredients (Yields 6)
- 250g Risotto rice
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 1 chopped shallot
- 1 tsp garlic puree
- 300 ml vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper
- 4 oz Unsalted butter
- Olive oil
- 50g Diced Blue cheese
- 50g Dice Roasted Squash
- 100ml Squash puree
- 50g Grated parmesan (optional)
- Watercress picked
- Sweat shallots and garlic in butter until soft
- Add rice until transparent
- Add white wine and stir in
- Add stock a little at a time stirring constantly until all is absorbed and creamy. Add salt and pepper and a little olive oil
- Add the squash puree, squash puree and (optional) the parmesan
- Cook for a further minute and serve, top with diced blue cheese and watercress
Mediterranean Rice Salad
Ingredients (Yields 8)
- 190g uncooked long grain brown rice
- 600ml water
- 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
- 200g diced cucumbers
- 50g diced red onion
- 75g crumbled feta cheese
- 50g sliced Kalamata olives
- 25g chopped fresh mint
- 75ml olive oil
- 5g lemon zest
- 2g garlic puree
- 2g sea salt
- 2g ground black pepper
- Bring the brown rice and water to the boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 45 to 50 minutes; remove from heat and allow to cool, fluffing occasionally with a fork.
- Toss the avocado and lemon juice together in a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, feta, olives, mint, olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper to the bowl; lightly toss the mixture until evenly combined.
- Fold the cooled rice gently into the mixture. Serve immediately or chill up to 1 hour; the salad does not last well for more than a day as the tomatoes and cucumbers begin to release their juices and the salad becomes watery.
Green Bean Rice with Beetroot & Apple Salsa
Ingredients (Yields 4)
For the Rice
For the Salsa
- 1 Cooked Beetroot, diced
- 1 Small Apples, cored & diced
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 25g Walnut Halves, Broken
- 15ml Balsamic Vinegar
- Boil the rice for 20 mins, then add the green beans and cook 5 mins more until both are just tender. Drain and leave to cool slightly before stirring in the cucumber, spring onions, mint and lemon juice.
- Meanwhile, stir all the salsa ingredients together.
- Spoon the rice onto plates and serve with the salsa, scattered with a few extra mint leaves.
Coconut Rice Pudding and Jam Sauce
Ingredients ( Yields 12)
- 600gm Easy cook long grain rice
- 2.16L Semi skimmed milk
- 150gm Caster sugar
- 3ml Vanilla essence
- 100gm Desiccated coconut
- 430gm Apricot jam
- 50ml Water (hot)
- Mix the milk, pudding rice, sugar, vanilla and desiccated coconut together in a mixing bowl
- Pour the rice mixture into the recommended serving vessel, cover with tin foil and bake at 170c for 40 minutes
- Remove pan from oven, remove tin foil and stir
- Place back in the oven at 170c for a further 10 minutes
- While the rice is baking bring the jam and water to the boil, whisk well and decant into the recommended serving vessel
- Once cooked remove from oven, rest for 3 minutes, portion into 12 and serve with apricot jam