Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Rice, Rice, Baby

Rice is one of, if not the most, popular cereal grains in the world. The majority of rice sold in the United States is long grain white rice, though brown rice has become more popular over the past decade or so.

The difference between the two types of rice has to do with processing. After being harvested, rice seeds are milled to remove the outer husk. If the process stops there, the product is brown rice. However, if milling is continued to remove the bran and germ, what remains is the kernel, which we call white rice.

While brown rice is more nutritious, white rice is better for long term storage; due to brown rice's higher oil content, it has a tendency to go rancid. When stored properly, rice can last for a very long time. 

Your biggest concern when storing rice is keeping out moisture. If this isn’t done sufficiently, it can lead to mold. One method for long term storage of rice is through canning, a subject I covered in an earlier post; another is storing the rice in an airtight container with food safe desiccant packets. For longer term storage, rice can also be stored in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.

When rice of any color is combined with beans, the result is a complete protein, which means the dish contains enough of each of the nine essential amino acids necessary as part of a healthy diet. 

An inexpensive but valuable addition to my kitchen equipment is a simple rice cooker. Once I experimented with it to find the ideal water to rice ratio, it makes perfect rice every time. Even better, I don’t have to watch it to make sure it doesn’t boil over or burn.

Rice can be used as part of almost any dish. I’ve included it in soups and stews, accompanying chili, in Asian dishes such as  fried rice, or just served plain as a side. While I haven’t yet made it myself, rice can even be used in the traditional dessert of rice pudding.

A plain bowl of steamed rice

One of my favorite rice dishes is fried rice, specifically the style of fried rice I grew up eating from Chinese restaurants in Manhattan. As you might imagine, this is hard to find outside of New York City or possibly Los Angeles, and the farther away you get, the harder it is to find. I’ve tried and modified a variety of fried rice recipes over the years in hopes of coming close, and I've finally found one that meets my standards.

Fried rice with kung pao chicken

The base recipe is from a book called "The Instant Pot College Cookbook" by Julee Morrison, and at the time of this writing it’s free on Kindle Unlimited.

As you might expect, I made some changes to suit my tastes. The recipe is designed for an InstantPot, if you don’t have one there are conversions available (here’s one example and another) for use with conventional cooking and crock pots.

Pork Fried Rice

  • 3 Tbs Sesame Oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 12 oz pork, cut into ½ pieces
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 Cups rice
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1-2 Tbs ginger paste
  • ½ - 1 cup frozen peas and carrots


  1. Select saute and set heat to medium on the InstantPot. 
  2. Add 1 Tbs sesame oil, add onion and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Season the pork with salt and pepper and add to pot. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, transfer the pork and onion to a bowl.
  4. Add the water to the pot and scrape the bottom to combine browned residue from onion and pork. 
  5. Add the rice. Lock the lid in place and seal the valve. Select rice. When done, let slow release for 10 minutes, then open the valve.
  6. Unlock and remove the lid, stir the rice, and create a well in the middle. Add the remaining two Tbs of oil and the beaten egg. Still quickly to combine with the rice.
  7. Stir in the soy sauce, ginger paste, pork, and onions. Set to warm, add the peas and carrots and replace the lid with the vent open. 
  8. Let sit for 5 minutes to heat the vegetables through.

This can be eaten as a main dish or as a side. 

Remember, no matter what anyone says about using cauliflower as a substitute, It’s Not Rice (rice is actually a grass seed).

1 comment:

  1. I store my rice and beans packed in gallon ziplocks layered on four gallon square buckets. The ziplocks allow you to bring stored food in the kitchen pantry without exposing the whole bucket and the square buckets conserve storage space.


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