My Broke Kitchen

Why You Should Eat More Rice + 5 Ways to Do It

February  5, 2014

Cooking on the cheap shouldn't mean minute rice and buttered pasta every night. With a little creativity and a little planning, Gabriella Paiella shows us how to make the most of a tight budget -- without sacrificing flavor or variety. 

Today: Four reasons you should be cooking more rice, and five ways to make it happen, without getting bored.

Shop the Story

Sometime in the last decade, rice began to lose its allure. I blame those now-ubiquitous ancient grains -- quinoa, bulgur, amaranth, and the like -- for sweeping in and charming us all with their exotic, borderline unpronounceable names and promises of antioxidants, fiber, and eternal youth. Poor old vanilla rice had nothing on freaky freekeh

But here's why you should be eating more of it:

- It's the original cheap grain, typically running around $2 for a bag that will yield several dinners. If you have the space to store it, buy a 10-pound bag and you'll be set for months on end. 

- It's naturally gluten-free, for those of you worried about that sort of thing.

- Combined with any sort of bean, it forms a complete protein -- necessary for any of you vegans out there. 

- It's a blank canvas that can easily adapt to several recipes -- you can make a pot at the beginning of the week and spoon curry over it when it's fresh or turn it into fried rice when it's not. 

It's not always so easy to cook (I consistently burn rice more than any other food), so if you're like me, here's a guide to all the different varieties and how to cook 'em

With a little bit of effort, you can even craft it into an impressive and affordable main dish suitable for dinner parties. Here are a few (and a dessert!) to keep on hand:

Aristotelian Rice and Peas 

Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt

Kimchi Fried Rice

Leek Risotto

Coconut Milk Rice Pudding with Citrus and Ginger

Tell us: What are your favorite rice-based dinners?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jo Goren
    Jo Goren
  • elise maiberger
    elise maiberger
  • Angela
  • Catherene
  • Candace Hallenbeck Elmore
    Candace Hallenbeck Elmore
Yes, my name rhymes.


Jo G. February 16, 2014
Dol sot Bi bim bop with lots of vegetables And an egg on top is a week night favorite, with kimchi on the side and my own gluten free gouchoujang sauce.
elise M. February 16, 2014
I think Angela's comment is very interesting as it's something I'd not heard of. Food safety/purity is tantamount to me, so I will follow her link and educate myself further. Thanks you stimulating the discussion.
Angela February 16, 2014
I thought the reason rice fell out of favor was the arsenic levels found in rice, particularly brown rice. The controversy is unresolved and has turned me -- and many other consumers -- off to rice all together sadly.
Catherene February 10, 2014
Well done Gabriella! You didn't cover every rice with a recipe but I so agree that rice has had a bad rep and needs more supporters to tout its benefits! Ok so white rice doesn't have as many nutrients as brown but it still has its place in terms of difference of taste and uses. Thanks for posting these interesting options!
Candace H. February 9, 2014
We love chili over rice instead of pasta
Alexandra S. February 6, 2014
I miss rice! I had forgotten how good it was until recently when I started making my mother's rice pilaf for my kids, who gobble it up and who won't touch quinoa with a 10-ft pole. My favorite rice-based dish is something I only started making last week but have since made it 3 times. It comes from a Canal House cookbook (Vol 6: The Grocery Store), and it's called chicken and rice. It's so simple, calling for 1 chicken, 1 onion, celery and butter. It uses water not stock and is a one-pot wonder. We all love it here. All of these rice dishes look so good, particularly that kimchi fried rice.

PS: Keep up the great work, Food52. I am constantly inspired by all that you do.
LeBec F. February 5, 2014
gabriella, i have two major complaints.
The first is that the world of rice is vast and the recipe you chose do not reflect that.
2) Compared to rice, whole grains like wheatberries, kamut, farro, freekeh, etc are much more nutrutious than rice, especially the nutritionally-challenged white rices. Finding alternatives , replacing white rice with brown rice and whole grains- would make an excellent feature.

skeptic February 5, 2014
2 words: RICE COOKER! You will never burn rice again.
Eva February 16, 2014
Seconded. Even cheap ($20) rice cookers produce consistently perfect rice.
elise M. February 5, 2014
But you didn't feature recipes using any of the wide range of rices you mention. No Japonica, wild rice (technically a grass), how to coax the best out of brown rice. short grain, long grain? I know you can do better, Food 52.
AntoniaJames February 5, 2014
Hear, hear. ;o)
Marian B. February 5, 2014
Fair point! But if you look closely, Gabriella actually linked to two super-useful posts, already on Food52, about different kind of rice and how to cook them. Here they are, for your convenience:
Lana February 9, 2014
exactly, Marian. Posters should *read* the article. Plus, those other types of rice, not to mention the other types of grains mentioned by Le Bec Fin are more pricey, which really would take away from the "My Broke Kitchen" theme... And with only 5 recipes, I think Gabriella gave us some nice variety...