Our best rice recipes make everything from comforting rice porridges to luxuriant fried rice dishes, from traditional Southeast Asian congees to a classic restaurant-style Chinese special fried rice. We also have fusion East-West rice dishes, such as our fried rice with Southern style fried chicken, our tonkatsu fried rice, and our bacon and eggs breakfast rice.
In between our Cambodian cookbook and culinary history (eight years in the making so far!) and a cookbook of my Russian family recipes, we’re working on an exciting rice project that emerged from our stories last year on Make Rice Not War, A Celebration of Rice Diversity to Inspire Curiosity and Connection and How to Cook Rice Around the World: 66 Rice Dishes by 65 Rice Lovers.
We ordinarily cook a lot of rice but that means we’ve been making loads of the stuff recently, everything from an aromatic Burmese coconut rice to a fragrant Cape Malay yellow rice – both fantastic with a Burmese curry and Cape Malay curry, respectively (links below to all) – to new rice recipes we’re developing.
I’ve been experimenting with perfuming rice in the rice cooker and perfecting my Uzbeki plov recipe (I have family in Uzbekistan), while Terence made a wonderful fried rice on the weekend to use up leftover rice – which is exactly why fried rice was invented.
With rice on the brain at the moment, we thought it time we share a collection of some of our best rice recipes, but before I tell you more about our best rice recipes, I have a favour to ask.
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Best Rice Recipes for Savoury Rice Porridges, Rice Soups, Fried Rice Dishes and More
Before we tell you about our best rice recipes, a couple of tips: if you make rice frequently, buy a rice cooker for steaming rice and making fragrant flavoured rice dishes, and a carbon steel wok for fried rice.
We also recommend filling your pantry with Asian condiments, sauces and seasonings, such as various fish sauces, sesame oils, soy sauces, crunchy fried garlic and shallots, sesame seeds, and chilli flakes, as well as making batches of our homemade Sriracha, chilli oil, and furikake Japanese seasoning.
We often get asked which fish sauce we use. We’ll use a Cambodian fish sauce with Cambodian food, Thai fish sauce with Thai food, a Vietnamese fish sauce with Vietnamese etc, but if you don’t have access to a variety of sauces, we recommend Thailand’s Megachef for quality and consistency. American friends also like Red Boat Fish Sauce. Now let’s tell you about our best rice recipes.
Comforting Cambodian Rice Soup Recipe with Pork Meatballs for Borbor Sor
This Cambodian rice soup recipe with pork meatballs is a comfort food favourite that’s typically eaten for breakfast – and breakfast here in Siem Reap is one of our favourite meals as there’s so much to choose from, including nom banh chok, the fresh rice noodles doused in coconut-based curries served with edible flowers, leaves and herbs; kuy teav, a noodle soup with a clear broth and beef, pork, offal, or chicken; smoky, grilled pork and rice; and, of course, borbor, Cambodia’s rice soup or rice porridge, commonly known as congee across Southeast Asia. Called ‘borbor sor’ or ‘white rice porridge’ in Khmer and made with leftover jasmine rice, it’s one of several ways to make Cambodian congee. ‘White’ used here distinguishes it from rice porridges and rice soups made from the herb and spice paste called kroeung which have a yellow-green colour depending on the type of kroeung used.
Chicken Rice Porridge Recipe for the Cambodian Congee Borbor Sach Moan
This Cambodian chicken rice porridge recipe makes the Cambodian congee, borbor sach moan. It’s long been thought that this chicken rice porridge is a dish of Chinese origin and part of the Cambodian-Chinese culinary heritage rather than a Khmer dish, but no matter its provenance it’s become a comfort food favourite of all Cambodians. We’ve observed Cambodians tuck into big bowls of this borbor for breakfast, brunch, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner (particularly if someone is feeling ill), and a late night supper (i.e. hangover cure). Here in Siem Reap we can find borbor made with chicken, pork, fish, dried fish, seafood, snails, and frog legs, and it’s served with an array of condiments, from dried fish floss and pickled vegetables to fish sauce, chilli flakes, and fresh fragrant herbs.
Cambodian Vegetable Congee Recipe Adapted for Rice Cookers – Vegetarian with Tips for Vegans
This Cambodian vegetable congee recipe makes a delicious, healthy vegetable-driven rice porridge or borbor in Khmer, with a base of kroeung, a Cambodian spice paste. This is a vegetarian congee with tips for vegans. This rice dish was traditionally made in a large pot on a clay brazier, over an open fire or on a gas burner. While most households in Southeast Asia probably have a rice cooker, not all Southeast Asians make rice in a rice cooker as ‘Uncle Roger’ would have you believe. In Cambodia, for example, steamed rice is still mostly cooked in a pot on a clay brazier or directly over an open fire. When we moved to a village on the edge of Siem Reap at the start of the pandemic, we’d watch our neighbours light a fire in their yard each day on which they’d place a large metal pot to cook their rice and soups. I’ve adapted the recipe for rice cookers.
Bacon and Eggs Breakfast Congee Recipe for a Comforting East-West Savoury Rice Porridge
Rice porridges are probably the most widely consumed type of porridge, eaten everywhere from Asia to Europe and the Middle East – from Portugal to Turkey, The Levant to Taiwan – yet they might just be the most ubiquitous in Asia. Originating in India – in Tamil Nadu and Kerala, plain rice porridge is called kanji, which comes from the word for ‘boiling’ – China is perhaps the country we most associate with rice porridge or congee, although I’d wager that most Asian countries have a congee. Our hearty bacon and eggs breakfast congee recipe makes a comforting East-West savoury rice porridge that’s inspired partly by the classic Australian breakfast of bacon and eggs with sautéed mushrooms, and partly by Chinese and Southeast breakfast porridges with pork and boiled eggs, and we reckon it’s one of our best rice recipes. You will need a mortar and pestle to lightly pound the lemongrass, ginger and garlic a few times, just enough to release the aromas, not to make a paste.
Burmese Coconut Rice Recipe – A Traditional Recipe Adapted for the Modern Rice Cooker
This easy Burmese coconut rice recipe makes a deliciously addictive turmeric-tinted rice, scented with cinnamon and cloves, that’s made for rich Burmese curries. I’ve adapted it from a traditional Burmese recipe in Mi Mi Khaing’s cookbook, Cook and Entertain the Burmese Way (1978), which calls for cooking over embers, but indicates it could be made with an electric rice cooker. I accepted the challenge. While it might lack the smoky aromas had I cooked the rice “over embers only and put red-hot coals over lid”, it still has plenty of perfume and flavour from the coconut milk, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaves. The author recommends serving it with this Burmese Indian style chicken curry. If you enjoy this, you might also like these other recipes from Myanmar, including recipes for Burmese fried chicken, Shan vermicelli noodle salad, Shan tomato salad, Burmese raw cabbage salad, Burmese egg curry, and ohn no khao swe, one of our favourite Myanmar soups.
Cape Malay Yellow Rice Recipe for the Perfect Accompaniment to a Cape Malay Curry
This Cape Malay yellow rice recipe makes the perfect accompaniment for a richly spiced Cape Malay curry. Add buttery roti and refreshing tomato and onion and cucumber sambals and you’re set for a Cape Malay feast. The recipe will make you a very moreish sweet and savoury rice to accompany this classic Cape Malay chicken curry recipe that we learnt to make some years ago in a very memorable Cape Malay cooking class in Cape Town’s historic Bo-Kaap neighbourhood, the heart of Cape Malay cuisine and culture in South Africa. If you’re not familiar with Cape Malay food, you can learn more about it on that cooking class link. As with the curry, we recommend making more than you need, as this rice is another of our best rice recipes and it’s fantastic as leftovers.
Chinese Special Fried Rice Recipe, a Fantastic Filling One Pot Meal
Our Chinese special fried rice recipe makes use of that leftover steamed rice you have in the fridge and that wonderful char siu pork you cooked. Fantastic and filling, it’s our go-to recipe when we’re looking for an easy one-pot dish to make and it’s easily another of our best rice recipe. Long-known to us as a classic Chinese special fried rice of the kind we’d eat in Chinese restaurants growing up in Australia, this fried rice dish is sometimes called Yangzhou fried rice, because its provenance is the city of Yangzhou in Jiangsu province in China, one of the culinary hotbeds of Huaiyang cuisine. The traditional version of this Chinese special fried rice dish includes cooked rice, char siu pork, shrimps, scallions, scrambled eggs, peas, and carrots. Sea cucumber and crab meat were other additions. Growing up in Australia, fried rice was always served in the Cantonese restaurants that were in every city and town’s Chinatown, at suburban Chinese restaurants, and at food court all-you-can-eat buffets. While this dish probably tastes just fine after sitting in a bain-marie for a few hours, it really shines when made fresh and steaming hot.
Cambodian Fried Rice Recipe – How to Make the Best Bai Cha
This Cambodian fried rice recipe makes the best Cambodian bai cha (fried rice), a lighter version of the popular Chinese fried rice, and another of our best rice recipes. Thanks to many centuries of Chinese trade and migration, Chinese fried rice is found across Southeast Asia. In Cambodia, there are many variations of fried rice, bai char being the most ubiquitous. Bai cha (also written as bai tcha, bai char, bai chaa, bay cha) is simply ‘fried rice’ – ‘bai’ is rice and ‘cha’ is to stir-fry – and it’s distinguished by two quintessential breakfast ingredients, sausage and eggs, Siem Reap sausage in particular, the local take on lap cheong, the Cantonese name for a smoked, sweetened, red Chinese sausage. Sometimes you’ll see a fried egg plopped on top in addition to the egg combined through the rice. You’ll also see fried rice made with pork and shrimps; fried rice with mixed seafood, mainly found on the Cambodian coast (look for bai char Kampot and bai char Kep, named after the coastal towns where they originate); and the luxuriant bai char kdam (fried rice with crab).
Shrimp Fried Rice With Shrimp Paste Recipe – How to Make Cambodia’s Bai Cha Kapi
This shrimp fried rice with shrimp paste recipe makes Cambodia’s bai char kapi – ‘bai’ is rice and ‘cha’ is to fry or stir-fry and kapi is shrimp paste. It’s a classic fried rice distinguished by sweet plump prawns and the pungency of shrimp paste and it’s another of our best rice recipes. If you love the salty, funky flavours of shrimp paste and fish sauce, you’ll love this. You don’t? Then leave out the shrimp paste and you’ve got a fantastic shrimp fried rice. This shrimp fried rice with shrimp paste is super easy to make if you have leftover steamed rice in the fridge – day-old steamed rice is good, but a couple of days old is even better. You won’t see this shrimp fried rice with shrimp paste on menus all over Cambodia, as most Cambodians prefer fish sauce and their beloved fermented fish paste called prahok to shrimp paste, however, you’ll come across this shrimp fried rice dish wherever you find shrimp paste made and sold, whether it’s made from river prawns or ocean prawns. We use a local shrimp paste, but you’ll probably have greater luck finding a Thai shrimp paste than a Cambodian shrimp paste outside the country. You could also add a little fish sauce to this if you really love funky, fishy flavours.
Tonkatsu Fried Rice with Onsen Eggs Recipe for a Rice Leftovers Dish You’ll Want to Plan
This tonkatsu fried rice with onsen eggs recipe combines a few of the things we love – fried rice, eggs and tonkatsu, the succulent Japanese pork cutlet breaded in panko crumbs and deep-fried. Like the original Chinese fried rice that was invented to use leftover rice, this tonkatsu fried rice with onsen eggs recipe is the result of combining leftovers – we had a couple of pieces of tonkatsu, the deep-fried Japanese breaded pork cutlets, and some steamed rice in the fridge – as well as a little experimentation, as Terence had been making onsen eggs. It’s one of our best rice recipes. If you enjoy this, you’ll also love these tonkatsu burgers, so make extra. You’ll need this tonkatsu recipe to make your tonkatsu and tonkatsu sauce first.
Our Best Chicken Fried Rice Recipe Is Made With Spicy Southern Fried Chicken Leftovers
This chicken fried rice recipe combines our favourite Nashville-style Southern fried chicken by chef Morgan McGlone of Belles Hot Chicken with a classic fried rice. Like the tonkatsu rice above, this chicken fried rice recipe is the result of experimentation, as the best rice recipes are. Whenever Terence make batches of Southern fried chicken, we always have leftovers. Often, we’ll reheat the chicken the next day and have it for lunch or a snack. However, after making tonkatsu fried rice and it turning out so well, we thought Terence should try making fried rice with spicy fried chicken. One of his attempts at this chicken fried rice dish really stood out, borrowed from a Japanese curry fried rice recipe. He made it with a little curry powder and it was magic. Not all curry powders are created equal obviously. In this case, we use the Nguan Soon curry powder brand which comes from Thailand but you could use your favourite curry powder – or even make your own curry powder blend.
Please do let us know if you make our best rice recipes in the comments below, as we’d love to know how they turn out for you.