Rice is one of the most universal ingredients. So many cuisines make use of this grain that you could, in theory, spend months trying different recipes and still not repeat yourself. You’ll find rice in a plethora of colors and textures, spiced in numerous ways, loaded with meat or vegetables or just simply steamed.

Rice is widely accessible, affordable, versatile and shelf-stable, which helps explain its ubiquity and long, long history in global cuisine. (For those concerned about arsenic, the Food and Drug Administration notes that “consumers can certainly eat rice as part of a well-balanced diet” and that cooking it in excess water as a way to reduce inorganic arsenic content “results in lowering the nutritional value of enriched polished and parboiled rice.”)

Because the reach of rice is so vast, here’s just a small sampling of some ideas from around the world in our archives.

Adas Polo o Morgh (Persian-Style Lentil Rice With Chicken), above. This Iranian recipe from our Eat Voraciously dinner newsletter is a one-pot rice dish that includes saffron, caramelized onions, dried fruit and tender boneless, skinless chicken thighs. For more Iranian and Persian recipes, see Javaher Polow (Jeweled Rice) and Persian Herbed Basmati Rice (Sabzi Polow).


Artichoke and Roasted Red Pepper Paella. There’s no need for a giant pan over a fire or even seafood if you’re in the mood for this Spanish classic. This version is loaded with vegetables for a hearty, colorful meal you can make on a weeknight.


Veggie Jollof. Vegetables also star in this vibrant dish you’ll find on many tables in West Africa and the wider diaspora. This recipe hails from Ghana and includes a zesty onion and chile pepper relish for serving.

Potato Tahdig. Tahdig is another beloved Persian rice dish, with an enviable crust one of its most beloved features. This recipe gets an extra boost from sliced russet potatoes. We have a Chicken Tahdig to consider as well.


Better Than Takeout Fried Rice. If you want to become more adept at the art of stir-frying, look no further than cookbook author Grace Young. Her version of this flexible, thrifty dish showcases a defining cooking technique of Asian cuisine.


Chickpea Kichidi. Enjoy this Indian comfort food as a hearty meal that will also make good use of leftover ingredients you need to get out of your refrigerator and pantry. Other options: Kichidi, Malabar Chicken Biryani and Vegetable Biryani.

Cuban Beans and Rice (Moros y Cristianos). I’m not going to dispute chef and cookbook author Maricel Presilla, who calls this “one of the most felicitous rice and bean combinations I have ever tasted.” The bean cooking water also lends inky color and earthy flavor to the rice.


Naem Khao (Lao Crispy Rice Salad). Rice patties get fried to crispy perfection and are served with spicy sausage, lettuce and herbs.

More from Voraciously: