Rice Bonanza – Part 3

Four more concoctions make up the latest instalment of Rice Bonanza, my cooking trip through the world of our most widely consumed staple food!

Part 3 includes a Creole favourite (and my favourite to say), Jambalaya; a tomato fest via Mexican rice; and two takes on a baked brown rice technique, Laksa Bake and Middle Eastern brown rice. The latter pair of dishes, adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food, involve a lengthier cook and absorption of the rice, but while the methods share similarities, the final products are wildly different thanks to two swags of differing flavour additions.

Recipe 11 – Jambalaya

RB 11 Jamabalaya

I love a good spice mix! Creole seasoning packs the potent players and provides a distinctive coating on the prawns and chicken. There is a lot going on in this dish in addition to the spice haul – three meats, loads of veges, various sauces… It sounds like overload, but it works.


Creole Seasoning:


• 2 teaspoons garlic powder
• 1 teaspoon each of:

• smoked paprika
• sweet paprika
• salt
• black pepper
• onion powder
• cayenne pepper
• dried oregano
• dried thyme


• 200 gr uncooked prawns, chopped
• 200 gr chicken breast, diced
• 1 ½ tablespoons Creole seasoning
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 chorizo sausage, sliced thinly
• 1 onion, diced
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• ¼ cup diced red capsicum
• ¼ cup diced green capsicum
• ¼ cup celery
• 1 cup long grain rice
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 cup passata
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon hot sauce
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped
• Spring onions, sliced, to serve


1. Combine prawns, chicken and 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning in a bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a saucepan and cook chorizo until golden on both sides. Transfer to plate and set aside.

3. Add onion to saucepan and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic, capsicums and celery and cook for 3 minutes. Add remaining ½ tablespoon of Creole seasoning, cooked chorizo and rice and stir for 1 minute. Add bay leaves, passata, sauces and stock. Season, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until rice is just tender.

4. Add chicken and prawns to rice mix and cook for 10 minutes, or until meat is cooked through. Stir through parsley. Serve topped with sliced spring onions.

Recipe 12 – Mexican rice

RB 12.1 Mexican rice

This is my cheats version of a Mexican rice whereby measurements aren’t a concern. Why? Because you’re not using the absorption method. Here, you can change the rice and sauce ratios as you like, as the rice is cooked via the boiling and draining, so you’ll get the right consistency and, given the punch of the sauce, not lose out. Hooking the rice mix up with beans, avocado and lettuce cups, it’s a filling and fairly healthy take on Mexican, too.


• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 chorizo, skin removed and meat crumbled
• 4 large tomatoes, cored and chopped
• 1 onion, chopped
• 4 cloves garlic + 2 cloves finely chopped
• 3 bird’s eye chillies
• 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
• 2 teaspoons cumin
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 teaspoons pepper
• 400 gr tin tomatoes
• 1 cup long grain rice
• 400 gr tin black beans
• Large ice berg lettuce leaves
• 1 avocado, sliced
• Coriander leaves, to serve
• Long red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced, to serve


1. Heat oil over high heat in saucepan and cook chorizo for 5 – 6 minutes, or until it turns golden.

2. Combine tomatoes, onion, 4 cloves garlic, chillies, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper and tinned tomatoes in a blender and blitz to a puree.

3. Add tomato mix to chorizo and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 30 minutes, reducing heat if it starts to spit, until sauce has thickened.

4. Meanwhile, cook rice as per packet instructions and set aside.

5. Combine beans and 2 cloves finely chopped garlic in fry pan and cook for 5 minutes.

6. Combine rice and sauce. Spoon into large lettuce leaves with beans and avocado and top with coriander leaves and sliced chilli.

Recipe 13 – Laksa bake

RB 13 Laksa bake

Laksa with rice? Yep, it’s an odd one. But it works surprisingly well and presents a nifty alternative to the soupy, noodle use for laksa paste. Use chicken with the bone in is important for this recipe, as the meat is exposed in the oven and would otherwise dry out quite a bit. But other than that general rule, you can always add any veges you like to the mix without upsetting the process.

Ingredients (serves 4)

• 1 bunch of coriander
• 1 stick lemongrass, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic
• 10 cm piece of ginger
• 2 fresh red chillies
• 1 teaspoon shrimp paste
• 2 shallots
• 80 ml coconut cream
• 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons fish sauce
• 4 3cm chunks of butternut pumpkin
• 4 chicken thighs, bone in
• 700 ml chicken stock
• 150 gr brown rice
• 2 teaspoons sesame oil
• Lime wedges, to serve


1. Preheat oven to 180C

2. Reserve some coriander leaves for serving, then combine the rest with the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chillies, shrimp paste and shallots in a blender and blitz to combine. Add coconut cream, vinegar and fish sauce and blitz into a paste.

3. Rub paste over chicken and pumpkin.

4. Combine stock and rice in an overproof casserole dish. Place chicken and pumpkin into the dish and cook in the oven for 90 minutes. Turn off oven and leave inside to rest for 15 minutes.

5. Serve with coriander leaves and lime wedges.

Recipe 14 – Middle Eastern brown rice

RB 14 Middle Eastern brown rice

Like laksa rice before it, this recipe involves absorbing the brown rice while the bulky attraction (eggplant this time, not chicken) has a nice hot bath. Also similar is the fact that you can substitute veges and quantities as you like, provided you keep the ratio of rice to water. That’s handy if you’ve got some random crisper items to use.

I used Le Phare Du Cap Bon Harissa for this recipe, which I can highly recommend.

Ingredients (serves 4)

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 onion
• 2 cloves garlic
• ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
• 150 gr brown rice
• 800 ml vegetable stock
• 2 teaspoons harissa
• 1 teaspoon rose water
• 1 large eggplant, sliced lengthways into four 1.5 cm thick pieces
• Small handful of olives
• 2 truss tomatoes, chopped
• 1 small red capsicum, chopped
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• Pomegranate seeds, to serve
• Roasted almonds, crushed, to serve
• Coriander leaves, to serve


1. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy based, ovenproof saucepan. Add onion, garlic and cumin seeds and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Stir rice into onion mix then pour over stock. Cover and cook on medium-low for 10 minutes.

3. Combine harissa and rose water to a paste. Score the eggplant slices, then coat one side of each with harissa paste. Add to rice when Step 2 is complete (if there’s not enough room, try to keep at least half of each piece above the liquid), cover and cook for a further 20 minutes on medium-low. Preheat oven to 180C.

4. Combine olives, tomato, capsicum, carrot and balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Scatter vegetable mix over eggplant and rice when Step 3 is complete, then transfer to the oven uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn off oven and leave inside to rest for 15 minutes.

5. Serve with pomegranate seeds, almonds and coriander.


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