Coming in various shades and sizes, this globetrotting grain goes from sweet to savoury, rich to wholesome and everywhere in between.
While traditionally eaten at breakfast, you'll find nasi lemak available in Malaysia all throughout the day. Considered the country's national dish, this banana leaf-wrapped package contains a plethora of flavours and textures. First, there's the fragrant coconut and pandan-scented rice, beside which you'll find sambal ikan bilis, toasted peanuts, hard-boiled egg and slices of cucumber for freshness. Curry rendang and fried chicken may also come as an accompaniment to this street food classic.
Best served as part of a Persian banquet, this rich, crusted rice is not your average side. The grains are soaked in water for 2 hours or, ideally, overnight, before being mixed with saffron natural yoghurt, saffron threads and a healthy serving of ghee. For a decorative centrepiece, scatter your chello with pomegranate or barberries.
Rather than serve simple steamed rice, jazz up your basmati into a Moroccan-style pilaf. This recipe uses chicken stock to imbue the grains with richness, while fresh ginger, garlic and coriander leaves add a touch of zing. A generous sprinkling of toasted almonds will take the pilaf to new heights. Oh and marinated chicken cooked with pumpkin, raisins and spices is rather decent, too.
From vine leaves to capsicums, the Greeks adore stuffing edible vestibules with herbaceous rice and tomato mixtures. In this gorgeous dish, zucchini flowers are paired with a dill, mint and cumin-spiced mixture then baked to perfection.
Sticky rice is adored across Vietnam, where it is commonly boiled, sweetened and turned into a pudding. Upon cooking, the black-ish grains turn deep purple and develop a delightfully yielding bite. This creamy version is adorned with palm sugar and shavings of coconut.
One of West Africa's best known dishes, jollof rice can be somewhat compared to Spain's paella. Featuring firm fish fillets, vegetables and parboiled long-grain rice, the dish is jazzed up with obe ata (African sauce), a sofrito of sorts.
Carrying a decidedly Mediterranean vibe, this Albanian classic is comfort food to a tee. Picture chunks of tender, garlicky lamb, oregano-spiked rice and a cheese-like yoghurt crust.
Served in a hotpot this all-in-one dish can contain any number of ingredients, but julienned vegetables, crispy rice and marinated meat are the usual suspects. Korean for "mixed meal", bibimbap is meant to be stirred about before eating.
A classic breakfast dish, this wholesome congee can be enjoyed warm or cold. Harnessing the goodness of fungus, goji berries and gingko nuts, it's thought to boost health and vitality.
Biryani is enjoyed across India, but this version blends Mughal and Andhra Pradesh cuisines. It's said the key to this biryani is cooking your chicken and rice in an airtight pot over a very low flame. This will ensure the grains, which should remain separate and in tact, absorb the rich flavours.
China Doll apprentice chef Wing took home the trophy for 'best char sui' on Monday night's The Chefs' Line, but it's that sambal-spiced fried rice we're loco about. Find the recipe here and, if you missed the episode, catch it on On Demand.
Check out our rice recipe collection here.