7 Traditional rice dishes from around the world

Rice dishes are simple to prepare, versatile, and come in a variety of colors. Simple rice recipes from around the world will add flavor to any menu. To give you some menu ideas, we’ve uncovered the most traditional, flavorful dishes from around the world that will leave your customers wanting more.


Rice can be used in a variety of dishes, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and everything in between. So, when it comes to versatility, rice is the way to go. It’s a product that’s probably already in your kitchen and can be used in at least three dishes on your menu. To give you some menu ideas, we’ve uncovered the most traditional, flavorful dishes from around the world that will leave your customers wanting more.


The traditional rice pudding comes to mind when you think of rice as a dessert. Chefs in Belgium, however, are far from concerned, thanks to the traditional Rijsttaart. The Rijsttaart is a Belgian rice pie that can be eaten for breakfast 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 housed in a flaky pie crust. Arborio rice rice is cooked with milk, heavy cream, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, vanilla, and eggs to make the pudding filling. The mixture is then poured into a pastry pie shell and baked. The authentic rice pie is served with a dusting of icing sugar and should be kept at room temperature before serving, or the filling will turn into rice bullets. The best part about this dish is that it can be made as a large offering that is then sliced into servings or as individual pies – the choice is up to you and the capacity of your kitchen.


Over the last 18 months, cheesy stuffed zucchini flowers have been appearing on entrée and shared menus across the country. Stuffed zucchini flowers, on the other hand, are a traditional offering in Greece, both at home and in restaurants. Instead of a cheese mixture, the traditional zucchini flowers offering is filled with medium grain rice and herbs. The filling is made with cooked rice and crushed tomatoes, and it is spiced with dill, mint, and cumin. The baked dish is traditionally served as an appetizer on menus and is accompanied by a Greek yoghurt, extra virgin olive oil, and herb dipping sauce.


Risotto is one of Italy’s signature dishes, and it is the dish that comes to mind when rice is the star ingredient. But don’t be fooled; the Italians also serve a deep-fried rice delicacy that leaves tastebuds wanting more with each bite. This dish is the tried-and-true arancini ball, or rice ball as it is known in Australia. Arancini are rice balls that are typically made with arborio rice and are coated with fine breadcrumbs before being deep-fried to create their crispy texture. The typical street food from the south of Italy comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and fillings. Arancini are typically filled with ragu meat or mince that has been slow cooked at a low temperature with a tomato sauce and spices. Finishing touches include mozzarella and caciocavallo cheese. Arancini are also available with ham and mozzarella or besciamella cheese inside. This crispy, tasty rice dish is the perfect dish for starter or entrée menus, even as an option for catered events.


Paella originated in Spain and has since become a global favorite. The national dish is prepared in a shallow pan and comes in a variety of flavors. Bomba rice, green beans, rabbit, chicken, butter bean, and occasionally snails and artichoke hearts make up the original recipe. It’s traditionally prepared with saffron and paprika, as well as olive oil and whole rosemary. Then there’s the paella de marisco, which replaces all of the meats with seafood like prawns and other shellfish. Cooking the traditional paella in an open oven and allowing the dish to settle for five to ten minutes after cooking promises to yield the best results. You can never go wrong by offering it as a menu option to your customers.


Rice is served with a wide variety of foods in Indonesia. The delicious nasi goreng, on the other hand, is their most traditional offering. In Indonesian, nasi goreng means fried rice, but it is not the same as the classic Chinese version. It’s a straightforward dish made up of stir-fried vegetables combined with the star ingredient, jasmine rice, and spiced with kecap manis. Nasi goreng is distinguished by a variety of aromatic, smoky flavors derived from caramelized sweet soy sauce and shrimp paste. To round out this simple, spicy dish, a fried egg (still with its running yolk) is placed on top to give customers a drizzly experience. Chef Paul created this delectable dish; see how he brought it to life for his café.


When you think of a Chinese dish, the majority of them come with a side of boiled rice. It’s no surprise that the traditional rice offering is fried rice. Fried rice is available on every menu at Chinese banquets in Australia and abroad, and can be made with long grain, jasmine rice. But did you know that because of its punchy flavor combinations, the light and fluffy dish is traditionally consumed as a celebratory dish? In China, there are two types of fried rice: Yangzhou fried rice, which contains shrimp, scrambled eggs, and BBQ pork, and Shanghai fried rice. This dish is commonly referred to as special fried rice on menus. Then there’s fried rice, which comes with mushrooms, meats, and vegetables, as well as a thick sauce that’s poured on top when it’s served. As a garnish, winter bamboo shoots and peanut oil are sometimes used. Though there are some similarities between the two dishes in terms of aromatics. Both dishes include onions, shallots, scallions, and garlic for flavor, as well as soy sauce, oyster sauce, and a variety of spices. This traditional Chinese meal is an easy and inexpensive addition to any menu – and it is certainly a favorite among many customers. It is often served as a side or eaten alone.


Biryani is popular throughout India and has been considered a traditional meal offering for centuries. The main course dish is typically made with a variety of meats (chicken, goat, lamb, or fish), eggs, nuts, fried fruits, and potatoes, as well as a blend of Indian spices. The dish frequently contains pepper, cardamom, coriander, onions, tomatoes, green chilies, garlic, and saffron, so it’s no surprise that the flavor is strong. Despite its reputation as a simple dish, biryani requires two complex steps to prepare. Unlike fried rice, where all of the ingredients are cooked together, the meat and basmati rice in biryani are cooked separately before being layered together in a pot and reheated on the stove. Chef Robin has shared his traditional chicken biryani recipe; learn all of his cooking tricks and tips.



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