Fatherhood, Food & Cooking, Man Matter

Enhancing your rice #1 (Non-halal)


I love to cook and I love to experiment with food. So I’m always looking for new ingredients and recipes to try & perfect, like the 24-hours super juicy roost chicken by Heston Blumenthal.

This is a new series of food hack/recipes that I’ve done at home which I’m sharing to cater for men & women who are too busy to cook a decent meal but still wants to enhance what they can get with limited ingredients and limited time. More importantly, it’s cooked at home so you control the quality & nutritional value.

You will see many of the ingredients are being reused & remixed so you do not have to spend time looking for them but at times, the mix of ingredients may seem bonkers and that’s the whole point. Doing something special to surprise your loved ones and delighting their taste buds.

There’re only a few condiments/spices that I frequently use which I’d reveal over the series but rest assure I’d keep reusing/revisiting the same taste so the ingredient don’t go bad from disuse. Most of the ingredients I use are of higher quality but because you’d only need a little, in the long term, it’s inexpensive.

If you have any questions or comments, or if you love it as much as I do, please click the article header and find the comment section below.

Recipe #1 – Bacon Butter Rice

To kick off the series, I’m going to show you how to enhance your plain rice. Unfortunately, some of my recipes don’t have Halal equivalent (like this one,) so I’d put that in the title.

This recipe is so ridiculously simple because you simply throw all the ingredients into the rice cooker and wait. I got the idea last week when I realize my bacon is about to expire and rather than simply frying it up, I thought why not put it in the rice to give that wonderful smoky fragrance! Heavenly! I can already imagine the aroma from this special butter rice. And the best part is, it goes well with Chinese food as well!

Don’t worry, I’d explain the purpose of the ingredients so you don’t have to buy a specific brand or type. Just find the closest match, mix it up and have fun!

One last note. It’s hard to cook for 1-2 person, so most of my recipes are upsized to be stored for later consumption. It’s perfectly fine to use the microwave to reheat rice. For meat, fish & vegetable, you should consider steaming if possible.

Serving size: 8 adult portions or 6 man-sized portions

Ingredients:

  1. 1 pack of streaky bacon (you’d want more fats to make the rice smoother so back-bacon is not such a good idea & definitely don’t waste that parma ham!)
  2. 2 tablespoon of salted butter or cut about 1cm from the block (if you use unsalted butter, add about half a teaspoon of salt)
  3. All-purpose herbs (unsalted) in a shaker
  4. 4 cups of rice (Jasmine or Thai fragrant rice is best but long-grain or pearl rice should work too)

Note about the ingredients:

  1. Real Bacon has a smoky aroma that really adds a fantastic and luxurious taste to the rice. This can’t be easily replicated with Turkey Bacon or even good ham.
  2. Use REAL butter, buy what you can afford. Generally more expensive butter has more milk solids + water and thus taste more creamy. NEVER use margarine for your health’s sake.
  3. All-purpose herbs comes in a shaker form but are not cheap unless you mix it yourself. Fortunately, you don’t have to use a lot each time. However, because it’s so versatile, it’ll be used in many of my recipes! If your herb contains sea salt, use a little less salt if you find the result too salty.
  4. Most Asian get our carbohydrates from polished rice. It’s so versatile but its potential is under appreciated. I’m going to show you MANY things you can do to enhance the humble rice in future posts!

Cooking:

  1. Wash your rice once and drain. Fill it to the number 4 mark in the cooking pot.
  2. Dump the salted butter or the unsalted butter + salt into the water.
  3. Shake the herb onto the water so it covers most of the surface loosely.
  4. Stir!
  5. Cut the streaky bacon in half (meaning from 15cm slices to 7.5cm)
  6. Chuck the first half to the bottom of the rice and the other half on top, making sure it’s completely submerged.
  7. Cook the rice as per normal.

Tips:

  1. Don’t worry about the quantity of the ingredients. Adjust it to your liking. These recipes are supposed to be quick food hacks.
  2. Do not use too much herbs! The herb is there to give you a tantalizing aroma, too much and it becomes bitter. If you like a stronger smell without the bitterness, use fresh herbs!
  3. Similarly, do not use too much salt as the bacon is pretty salty already. You’d want the salt to enhance the savory sweetness (umami) but not to make the rice salty!
  4. Know your rice! Stick to what you know best. Most Japanese brand rice cookers will cook Thai Jasmine rice, Thai Fragrant rice & Japanese Pearl rice to perfection with the Plain rice program. However, different rice are cooked differently, for example, USA and China Pearl rice has a lower moisture content, meaning you need to pre-soak the rice for some time after washing and before cooking!

No nos:

  1. Do NOT use turkey bacon, ham & luncheon meat, it wouldn’t turn out as well.
  2. NEVER use margarine! It just isn’t healthy!
  3. Putting the ingredients into the rice before the water. You need a very specific amount of moisture during and after cooking as the oil & fats will drive out some of the moisture from the rice grains. You’d want a chewiness to the rice and the moisture in the rice is very important!
  4. Using Soya sauce instead of salt. I personally think the soya bean taste will dilute the smoky aroma of the bacon but I have not tested this. I just imagine the 2 together and it seems to cancel out or at least doesn’t flare wonderfully.

Well I didn’t hold anything back so you should be able to get the same taste as my family last week. Everyone loved it and I hope your family loves it too!

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2 thoughts on “Enhancing your rice #1 (Non-halal)

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