Rice is a staple in many of the world’s cuisines, and there are a lot of good reasons for its popularity: it’s relatively affordable, it’s filling, it’s filled with nutrients and is very good for your body, and it’s extremely versatile. With rice as your main ingredient you can cook salads, appetizers, main dishes, and even desserts. Today we’ll take you on a journey through our 10 favorite rice recipes, where you’ll find both traditional Nigerian ways to cook rice and hit recipes from world’s famous cuisines.
1. Coconut Jollof rice
Jollof rice is one of the most popular ways to cook rice in Nigeria, and the basic recipe is familiar to anyone, but here we take the love for rice one step further and substitute water with coconut juice. Additionally you’ll need tomatoes, garlic, onion, tomato puree, ginger, carrot, and traditional spice. Serve your coconut Jollof rice in a coconut shell for an extra twist!
2. Lemon rice
If you want to try a new side for your meat or fish dish, why not try this delicious lemon rice? Take rice, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice, dried herbs, and black pepper. Combine the ingredients in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring up to a boil, and cook until the rice is ready. Serve with a piece of lime, so that everyone could squeeze some lime juice onto their cooked rice.
3. Jollof arancini
This recipes combines the best from African and Italian cuisines. Essentially arancini are balls with a filling, in this case the balls are made from traditional Jollof rice and the filling is shredded cheese (preferably mozzarella), combined with pepper sauce and served with diced spring onions. To cook arancini you’ll also need sunflower oil, breadcrumbs, and a beaten egg.
4. Rice casserole
Casseroles are a great way to make sure your family is full while not overdoing it in the kitchen. To make a rice casserole first you’ll need to cook some plain rice and mix it with chopped and fried onions, hot pepper, some greens, beaten eggs with milk, shredded cheese, and herbs. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and bake until the dish is golden brown.
5. Ofada rice
Ofada rice is a type of unpolished brown rice that is exclusive to Nigeria. In addition to its numerous health benefits, Ofada rice is a great addition to your daily menu. If you’re only starting to explore the wonders of Ofada rice, try preparing some of it with a simple tomato sauce. Make sure to carefully wash the rice, getting rid of any pieces that got there by accident.
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6. Beef fried rice
Nigerians are no strangers to fried rice, but this recipe is definitely among our all-time favourites. What’s great about this dish is that it allows you to experiment, adding and subtracting ingredients. A classic recipe calls for beef, rice, eggs, bean sprouts, broccoli, soy sauce, and tomato paste, but you can add your favourite vegetables or spices, or substitute beef for chicken – modify a fried rice recipe to your taste and you can never go wrong.
7. Oven Jollof
Sometimes you just don’t feel like standing in front of the cooker, waiting for your rice to be done, and in that case an oven-baked Jollof is exactly what you need. The ingredients are mostly the same as in regular Jollof – rice, water, onion, tomato puree + fresh tomatoes, pepper sauce, beef stock, and spices. Now, instead of waiting for it to cook on the stove, put the dish into the oven and cook until it’s done, mixing the rice every 20 minutes.
8. Cheese-filled rice balls
This recipe may sound a lot like the Jollof arancini you’ve read earlier, but instead of Jollof rice this recipe uses regular cooked rice, and instead of mozzarella you can take any of your favourite cheese. The rest of the recipe is similar: form balls of rice with cheese as a filling, dip in eggs, roll in breadcrumbs, and fry in hot oil until the rice is lightly browned and the cheese inside has melted.
Paella originated in Spain, but it can be successfully recreated in any Nigerian kitchen. Besides rice, you’re going to need a seafood mix, white wine, hot pepper, chopped onions, fish stock, ginger, garlic, paprika, and olive oil. Paella can be cooked in a regular frying pan, although if you have a genuine paella pan, it will be awesome. Be careful not to overcook your paella – the dish should be soft and moist, not dry and crunchy.
10. Rice pudding
We’re finally at the dessert part of our recipes. Compared to some of the less healthy desserts, this one not only tastes good, but is also good for your body. Rice pudding requires rice, water, a pinch of salt, milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon (optional). Cook the ingredients together until the mixture is thick and creamy. Serve in bowls and decorate with a bit of cinnamon.