We've rounded up some of our favourite rice recipes from around the globe. #nopassportrequired
15 May 2019 - 11:53 AM  UPDATED 8 Feb 2021 - 4:25 PM

--- Learn cooking techniques from across Asia with Diana Chan on the brand-new second season of Asia Unplated with Diana Chan, premieres Thursday 28 January on SBS Food, or stream it on SBS On Demand. ---


Coming in various shades and sizes, this globetrotting grain goes from sweet to savoury, rich to wholesome and everywhere in between. 

1. Malaysia: Fried rice

This recipe for a Chinese-Malay favourite was given to Jacob Leung by his mother, who adds curry leaves, kecap manis and fried garlic for a distinctly Malay touch. Leung shared the recipe with Diana Chan during Asia Unplated's second season. Like all good fried rice this recipe requires day-old already cooked rice that's been refrigerated overnight.

Mum’s Malaysian Fried Rice

2. Iran: Persian steamed saffron rice (chelo) 

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. 

Steamed saffron rice

3. Morocco: Chicken pumpkin tagine with almond pilaf

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.

Chicken pumpkin tagine with almond pilaf

4. Greece: Zucchini flowers stuffed with herbs and rice

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.  

5. Vietnam: black sticky rice creams

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. 

Blacks ticky rice creams

6. Senegal: Jollof rice (Senegalese ceebu jen) 

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.

Jollof rice

7. Albania: Baked lamb and rice with yoghurt (tave kosi) 

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. 

Baked lamb and rice with yoghurt (tave kosi)

8. Korea: Mixed rice (bibimbap) 

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. 

9. China: Healthy sweet congee

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.

10. India: Hyderabadi-style chicken biryani 

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. 

Bonus round: Barbecue pork with prawn fried rice 

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.


Barbecue pork with prawn fried rice

More reasons to love rice
The humble grain that won over the world, including Cate Blanchett
From comforting congee to flavour-packed paella, rice deserves more than ‘side dish’ status. In cultures across the world, this ancient grain is the main attraction.

Check out our rice recipe collection here.

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