Sauces For Rice

Need recipes for sauces for rice? Here’s all the culinary inspiration you need!

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Rice is a versatile staple dish used across the globe, from the sushi restaurants of Japan to the jambalaya joints of Louisiana. But even the best-cooked rice needs the right sauce to elevate its taste. Let’s dive into the world of rice and its flavorful companions.

The Best Way to Cook Rice

I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret secret. I used to be terrible at cooking rice. Awful really. (Don’t tell my mother-in-law.) That is until I found the perfect no-fail recipe. Thank you Bon Appetit! 

Here’s how you do it.

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup of short-, medium-, or long-grain white rice (Avoid using parboiled, converted, or quick-cooking variants)
  2. ½ teaspoon of kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Start by rinsing your 1 cup of white rice thoroughly under cold water using a fine-mesh sieve. This process, which might take a minute, is important to wash away the starchy residue that could cause the rice to stick together during cooking. If you don’t have a sieve, you can also rinse in a bowl with several changes of water, ensuring to drain carefully each time. Once rinsed, combine the rice, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1¼ cups of water in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir the mixture gently and then bring it to a boil. Once boiling, secure a tight-fitting lid onto your saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Aim for the smallest possible flame to cook your rice gently and evenly. The critical point here is not to disturb the rice during this 18-minute cooking phase – resist the urge to lift the lid and check!
  3. After 18 minutes, take the saucepan off the heat. Allow it to stand for a minimum of 15 minutes, or until you’re ready to serve the rice. When it’s time to serve, uncover the saucepan and use a fork to fluff up the beautifully cooked rice.

Here’s the original rice recipe.

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No-Fail Rice Recipe

Trust me, this is the only rice recipe you'll ever need.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy rice, rice recipe
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 113kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • cup water
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

  • Start by rinsing your 1 cup of white rice thoroughly under cold water using a fine-mesh sieve. This process, which might take a minute, is important to wash away the starchy residue that could cause the rice to stick together during cooking. If you don't have a sieve, you can also rinse in a bowl with several changes of water, ensuring to drain carefully each time. Once rinsed, combine the rice, ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1¼ cups of water in a medium saucepan.
  • Stir the mixture gently and then bring it to a boil. Once boiling, secure a tight-fitting lid onto your saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Aim for the smallest possible flame to cook your rice gently and evenly. The critical point here is not to disturb the rice during this 18-minute cooking phase – resist the urge to lift the lid and check!
  • After 18 minutes, take the saucepan off the heat. Allow it to stand for a minimum of 15 minutes, or until you're ready to serve the rice. When it's time to serve, uncover the saucepan and use a fork to fluff up the beautifully cooked rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 35mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.04g | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.2mg

Sauces For Rice – Recipes

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce 

This recipe involves simmering a blend of soy sauce, water, brown sugar, fresh ginger, and minced garlic. Once combined, a slurry of cornstarch and water is added to thicken the sauce. The result is a glossy, flavorful sauce that’s ideal for drizzling over rice.

Easy Curry Sauce

This Curry Sauce is a delightful fusion of spices, garlic and ginger, and rich, creamy elements. The combination of garlic, fresh ginger, and onion sautéed in olive oil creates a fragrant base, further enhanced by the warming notes of cinnamon and curry powder. The addition of chicken stock and coconut milk results in a velvety, luxuriant sauce, while the tomato paste and a touch of sugar balance the flavors, creating a beautifully complex and versatile curry sauce.

5- Minute Stir Fry Sauce

This Stir-Fry Sauce is a well-rounded blend of savory, sweet, and spicy notes. The low-sodium soy sauce and chicken stock form a flavorful base, while brown sugar adds a touch of sweetness and cornstarch ensures a perfect, glossy consistency. The kick of heat from sriracha, the aromatic punch of garlic and ginger, and an optional sprinkle of red pepper flakes make this sauce an exhilarating addition to any stir-fry dish.

Indian Onions & Tomatoes Curry (Bhuna Masala)

This Curry Sauce is a tantalizing blend of aromatic spices and fresh, wholesome ingredients. It begins with a foundation of sautéed onions, garlic, ginger, and optional green chili peppers, creating a robust base of flavors. The addition of ripe tomatoes and a medley of spices, including Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander, turmeric, and salt, results in a rich, deeply flavored curry sauce that is both spicy and balanced, ready to envelop your favorite proteins or vegetables.

Lemon Garlic Butter Sauce

This recipe combines melted butter, minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, and zest. It’s simmered until the garlic is fragrant, then finished with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. This light, tangy sauce goes well with jasmine rice.

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

This recipe involves whisking together natural peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, chili flakes, and warm water until smooth. This creates a rich, tangy sauce with a kick that pairs beautifully with rice dishes, particularly those featuring chicken or vegetables.

Vegan Coconut Curry Sauce

Vegan Coconut Curry Sauce is a rich, aromatic blend of coconut milk and curry spices. This sauce embraces the flavors of garlic, coconut milk, and curry, creating a creamy, slightly sweet, and subtly spicy profile. It’s a delicious, dairy-free option perfect for dousing over rice or vegetables, transforming simple ingredients into a vibrant, flavorful dish.

Boom Boom Sauce

Boom Boom Sauce is a savory and spicy condiment that boasts a creamy texture and a vibrant orange color. It’s a tantalizing blend of mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, garlic, and other spices, creating a balance of sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors. This versatile sauce is a popular choice for dipping seafood, drizzling over burgers or giving an extra kick to sandwiches or wraps.

Nigerian Pepper Sauce

This Nigerian Pepper Sauce is a vibrant, hearty blend of meat, seafood, and aromatic spices. The combination of beef, tripe, and crayfish provides a rich, meaty base, while the mixture of red bell peppers, Scotch bonnets, and red chili flakes adds a fiery kick. The unique addition of locust beans, dried thyme, and palm oil, along with a flavorful beef stock, creates a robust and deeply flavorful sauce that is sure to enliven any serving of rice.

Harissa Sauce

Packed with peppers and red pepper flakes, Harissa sauce is a fiery, aromatic condiment originating from North Africa, predominantly used in Tunisian and Moroccan cuisine. It’s a vibrant blend of chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and various spices like cumin and coriander, giving it a spicy, smoky flavor with a hint of tanginess. This versatile sauce can be used as a marinade, a dip, a spread, or a flavor enhancer in stews and soups, adding a kick of heat and depth to any dish.

Sauces For Rice – Store Bought

Oyster Sauce

A rich, savory condiment, oyster sauce is made by simmering oysters and their juices until the mixture caramelizes, resulting in a deeply flavorful and slightly sweet sauce. Its thick, syrupy consistency and dark brown color make it ideal for stir-fries, marinades, and glazing meats. This staple in Chinese cuisine imparts an umami-packed flavor, elevating dishes like beef and broccoli or lo mein.

Rice Vinegar

Not necessarily a sauce, but a dash of rice vinegar can bring you rice from bland to bam! Rice vinegar is a mild, slightly sweet vinegar made from fermented rice, commonly used in Asian cuisine. Its delicate, balanced acidity makes it an excellent addition to dressings, marinades, pickles, and sushi rice, enhancing flavors without overpowering the dish.

Fish Sauce

Derived from fermented fish and salt, fish sauce is a thin, amber-colored liquid widely used in Southeast Asian cuisines. It has a robust, salty taste with a distinctively potent aroma, offering a burst of umami flavor to dishes. It’s a key ingredient in Thai curries, and Vietnamese dipping sauces, and is often used as a seasoning in stir-fries and soups.

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a thick, fragrant sauce commonly used in Chinese cuisine. It’s a sweet and salty blend made from soybeans, garlic, vinegar, and various spices, giving it a dark reddish-brown color and a robust, tangy flavor. Hoisin sauce is versatile, used as a glaze for meats, an ingredient in stir-fries, a dipping sauce, or a component in marinades.

Other ways to use hoisin sauce:

More Ways to Spice Up Rice

Sesame Seeds. Sprinkle your rice with sesame seeds. They have a lovely nutty flavor and add a dash of extra texture. 

Herbs. Never underestimate the power of a well-placed herb. Chop up some fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, or parsley, and bring a new personality to your rice.

Chicken Stock. Cook your rice in chicken stock instead of water. When rice is cooked in chicken stock instead of water, it absorbs the flavors of the stock, leading to a more savory, rich, and complex taste. The rice takes on the nuances of the chicken and the herbs and vegetables typically found in the stock, such as onions, carrots, and celery. This method enhances the overall flavor profile of the rice, making it more aromatic and flavorful compared to rice cooked in plain water.

Sesame Oil. Drizzle with sesame oil. Sesame oil packed an intense flavor punch with just a tiny drizzle. If you’ve never used sesame oil, sesame oil has a distinctive, nutty flavor that is both rich and slightly sweet. It gives a deep, aromatic quality to dishes and is known for its warm and toasty undertones. The intensity of its flavor can vary, with toasted sesame oil having a more pronounced, robust taste compared to regular sesame oil.

Fry it up! Leftover rice can be given new life when you transform it into fried rice.
Fried rice is a delectable, stir-fried dish often made with leftover cooked rice, a medley of vegetables, and proteins like chicken, beef, or tofu. It’s seasoned with ingredients like soy sauce, garlic, and sometimes a hint of sesame oil, creating a savory, umami-rich dish. This versatile, one-pan meal is a staple in many Asian cuisines, known for its enticing mix of textures and flavors, and its ability to be customized based on preference or available ingredients.

What Goes Well With Rice

Rice, the chameleon of the culinary world, pairs well with a variety of foods. You can incorporate it into a chicken stir-fry, serve it alongside a beef steak, or toss it with vegetables for a vegetarian rice bowl. Onions, bell peppers, and peas are all popular additions.

Chicken and Rice

Chicken and Rice is a comforting, one-pot dish where tender, seasoned chicken pieces are simmered with aromatic rice. This wholesome meal combines the savory flavors of the chicken with the subtle, grainy texture of the rice, often elevated with herbs, spices, and vegetables, creating a satisfying, well-rounded dish.

Mushrooms

When added to rice, mushrooms contribute a deep, umami-rich flavor that enhances the overall taste of the dish. Their earthy, savory notes offer a complexity that balances and complements the mild, starchy flavor of the rice. Moreover, their meaty texture and substantial mouthfeel make mushrooms an excellent meat substitute, providing a satisfying chewiness that can mimic the heft of traditional meat ingredients.

Veggies!

Incorporating vegetables into your rice dishes not only adds a burst of color and flavor but significantly boosts the nutritional value of your meal. Vegetables are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, contributing to a well-rounded, nutrient-dense dish. By increasing the ratio of vegetables to rice, you effectively lower the overall carbohydrate content, making the dish a healthier, more balanced option.

How to Choose Your Sauce

When choosing rice sauces, take the following into consideration.

Complementary Flavors

When selecting a sauce for your rice, consider the flavors of the other components of your meal. Your sauce should complement, not overpower, the taste of your main dish and side dishes. For instance, a spicy sauce may pair well with mild flavors, while a sweeter sauce might work better with dishes that have a savory profile. Ultimately, the sauce should enhance and tie together the flavors of your meal, creating a harmonious dining experience.

Sauce Consistency

The consistency of the sauce can greatly affect the overall texture of your dish. A thinner sauce may be absorbed by the rice, giving it a flavorful boost, while a thicker sauce will coat the rice grains and provide a more concentrated burst of flavor with each bite. The choice between a thin or thick sauce can depend on personal preference and the type of dish being served.

Nutritional Balance

The nutritional content of the sauce is another factor to consider. If you’re aiming for a healthier meal, opt for sauces made with wholesome, nutrient-dense ingredients, and avoid those with excessive amounts of sugar or sodium. Adding vegetables to your sauce can also increase the nutritional value of your meal, making it a more balanced option.

Cuisine Type

Different cuisines utilize distinct flavor profiles and ingredients in their sauces. For example, Asian cuisines often use soy sauce, sesame oil, and ginger, while Mediterranean dishes might feature olive oil, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Choosing a sauce that aligns with the cuisine of your meal can help to create a more authentic and cohesive dining experience.

Rice Sauces FAQs

What is a good sauce to put on rice?

The choice of sauce depends on personal preferences and the flavor profile you desire. Some popular options include teriyaki sauce for a sweet and savory twist, curry sauce for an aromatic and spicy kick, or hoisin sauce for a rich and tangy flavor. Experiment with different sauces to find your favorite!

What can I add to rice for flavor?

There are various ingredients you can add to rice to enhance its flavor. Consider incorporating herbs like cilantro or basil, spices such as cumin or turmeric, or aromatics like minced garlic or grated ginger. Additionally, adding sautéed vegetables, toasted nuts, or a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice can elevate the taste of your rice.

What tastes good on plain rice?

If you prefer to keep it simple, there are still plenty of options to make plain rice delicious. Drizzling a little olive oil or melted butter over the rice can add a subtle richness. Sprinkling it with herbs like parsley or chives, or even a pinch of salt and black pepper, can provide a burst of flavor. For an umami boost, try topping it with a spoonful of furikake seasoning or sesame seeds.

What can I add to rice besides soy sauce?

While soy sauce is a popular choice, there are numerous alternatives to explore. Consider trying tamari sauce, which is similar to soy sauce but gluten-free, or coconut aminos for a sweeter and milder flavor. Other options include teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, peanut sauce, or even a homemade vinaigrette or salsa for a fresh and zesty twist.

What to season white rice with?

To season white rice, you can start with a pinch of salt to enhance its natural flavors. For additional depth, try adding spices like cumin, paprika, or turmeric to infuse it with aromatic notes. Fresh herbs such as parsley, dill, or cilantro can also provide a burst of freshness. Experiment with different combinations to create a flavor profile that suits your taste.

Have questions or suggestions about sauces for rice? Leave them in the comments below.

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