Around the World in Rice: 7 Traditional Rice Dishes

Goodman Fielder Food Service
Around the World in Rice: 7 Traditional Rice Dishes

Around the World in Rice: 7 Traditional Rice Dishes

Posted on 25th February 2020
Rice is an ingredient that can be used in more ways than one, so we've found seven traditional rice dishes you can place on your menu in an instant


Rice dishes are easy to cook, versatile and come in many colours. There are a simple rice recipes from across the globe that will add value to every menu. To help you with some menu inspiration, we’ve uncovered the most traditional, flavoursome dishes from across the globe that will leave your customer’s tastebuds wanting more.

Rice can be used across your breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and everything in-between menu. So, when it comes to versatility, rice is your answer. It’s a product that more often than not, is already in your kitchen and can be used across at least three dishes on your menu. To help you with some menu inspiration, we’ve uncovered the most traditional, flavoursome dishes from across the globe that will leave your customer’s tastebuds wanting more.

1. Belgium – rijsttaart (Belgium rice pie)

Rijsttaart is pictured in this image

If you were to think of rice as a dessert, the traditional rice pudding instantly springs to mind. But for chefs over in Belgium that couldn’t be further from their mind, thanks to the traditional rijsttaart. The rijsttaart is a Belgium rice pie that is eaten as a breakfast dish or as a dessert (so, double wins for those craving a sweet offering at the start of the day). The dish is a creamy baked rice pudding that is homed within a soft pie crust. To create the pudding filling, arborio rice rice is cooked with milk, heavy cream, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, vanilla and eggs. It’s then poured into the pastry pie shell and baked. The authentic rice pie can be served to patrons with a dusting of icing sugar and is to be kept at room temperature prior to service, otherwise the filling will turn into rice bullets. The best thing about this dish is that it can be created as a large offering that is then sliced into servings or as individual pies – the option is up to you and your kitchen’s capacity.

2. Greece – zucchini flowers stuffed with herbs and rice

Image of Zucchini flowers stuffed with herbs and rice from Greece

Cheesy stuffed zucchini flowers have been popping up on entrée and shared menus across the country over the last 18 months. But in Greece, stuffed zucchini flowers is a traditional offering, both in the home and at hospitality venues. In replacement of a mixture of cheese, the traditional zucchini flowers offering is filled with a medium grain rice and herbs. The tasty filling is created with the combination of cooked rice and crushed tomatoes and is spiced with dill, mint and cumin. The baked dish is traditionally served on menus as a starter and offered to customers with a Greek yoghurt, extra virgin olive oil and herb dipping sauce.

3. Italy – arancini

Arancini balls are here in this image

Risotto is considered one of Italy’s signature dishes and is the dish that is thought of when you consider rice as the hero ingredient. But don’t be fooled, the Italians also offer a deep-fried rice delight that leaves tastebuds wanting more whenever a bite is taken. This dish is the trusted arancini ball; or for the Aussies, the rice ball. Arancini’s are rice balls, commonly made with arborio rice, that are coated with fine breadcrumbs and then deep-fried to create their crispy texture. Traditionally from the south of Italy, the common street food comes in different sizes, shapes and fillings. The most common arancini filling is with ragu meat or mince that has been slow cooked at a low temperature with a tomato sauce and spices. The filling is finished off with mozzarella and caciocavallo cheese. Arancini can also be filled with ham and mozzarella or besciamella cheese. This crispy, tasty rice dish is the perfect dish for starter or entrée menus, even as an option for catered events.

Explore Goodman Fielder’s premium selection of oils to find the best oil for deep frying.

4. Spain – paella

Image is of a dish of paella

Paella was first created over in Spain and over the years the dish has become an all-time favourite across the globe. The national meal is cooked in a shallow pan and comes in a number of varieties. The original recipe consists of bomba rice, green beans, rabbit, chicken, butter bean and sometimes snails and artichoke hearts. It’s traditionally cooked with various spices such as saffron and paprika, as well as olive oil and whole rosemary. Then there is the paella de marisco option, where all the meats are replaced with seafood, including prawns and other shell fish. When it comes to creating the traditional paella, cooking it in an open oven and allowing the dish to settle for five to 10 minutes after cooking promises to deliver the best results. You can never go wrong by having it as an option for your customers on your menu.

5. Indonesia – nasi goreng

Image of Nasi Goreng recipe

In Indonesia, rice is served with an endless range of foods. But when it comes to their most traditional offering, the delicious nasi goreng is up there. In Indonesian, nasi goreng means fried rice but don’t be fooled, because it is different to the classic Chinese version. It’s a simple dish, that consists of stir fried vegetables combined with the hero ingredient, jasmine rice and spiced with kecap manis. Nasi goreng distinguishes itself with a range of aromatic, smoky flavours that are created from the caramelised sweet soy sauce and shrimp paste. To complete this simple, spicy dish, a fried egg (which still has its running yolk) is added on top, to provide customers with the drizzly experience. Chef Paul has created this tasty dish; check out how he brought it to life for his café.

6. China – fried rice

Traditional Chinese fried rice is pictured

When you think of a Chinese dish, majority are accompanied with a serving of boiled rice. So, having fried rice as the traditional rice offering, is no surprise. Fried rice is offered on every menu across Chinese banquets, both in Australia and abroad and can be created using a long grainjasmine rice. But did you know that the light and fluffy dish is traditionally consumed as a celebratory dish, thanks to its punchy flavour combinations. In China, there are in fact two varieties of fried rice; Yangzhou fried rice, which consists of shrimp, scrambled egg and BBQ pork. This option is usually referred to as special fried rice across menus. Then there is fried rice, which has mushrooms, meats and vegetables, as well as a thick sauce that is poured over the top upon serving. The dish can sometimes also include winter bamboo shoots and peanut oil as a garnish. Though the two dishes do have some similarities when it comes to their aromatics. Both offerings consist of onions, shallots, scallions and garlic that are added for flavour, along with soy sauce, oyster sauce and a range of spices. Often served as a side or eaten by itself, this traditional Chinese meal is an easy and inexpensive addition to any menu – and it certainly a favourite amongst many customers.

7. India – biryani

Indian biryani dish is pictured here

Biryani is enjoyed across India and has been classed as a traditional meal offering for centuries. The main course dish is commonly made with a range of meats (chicken, goat, lamb or fish), egg, nuts, fried fruits and potatoes, along with the combination of Indian spices. Pepper, cardamom, coriander, onions, tomatoes, green chillies, garlic and saffron are commonly used in the dish, so it’s no surprise it’s flavour is impactful. Despite being represented as an easy-to-prepare dish, biryani is created with two complex steps. Unlike fried rice where all the ingredients are cooked together, the biryani’s meat and basmati rice are cooked separately and then layered together within a pot and re-heated on the stove. Chef Robin has shared his traditional chicken biryani recipe; find out all his tricks and tips to creating the tasty meal.

Explore Goodman Fielder Food Service’s range of premium wholesale rice.

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