Quarantine Cooking: 8 Quick and Easy Rice Recipes to Make on Repeat

Psst… these pantry-friendly dishes will be ready under 30 minutes or less.

Shraddha Varma

Lockdown or not, the one thing – irrespective of which part of the country you belong to or what cuisine you prefer – all Indian homes are perennially stocked up on is, rice. The ubiquitous grain, prevalent in Indian and international cuisines, is versatile, to say the least. Pair it with any curry you please, or sauté it with veggies or proteins.


The outbreak of Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has had a far-reaching impact on countries across the globe. With 1800-plus cases, and 41 deaths so far, India, too, has come under its tentacles. Yes, it has cooped up all of us inside our homes, but the pandemic has also propelled us earthlings to re-examine our lives. So, you’ll find unsuspecting thermophobes embracing cooking with open arms and others learning to slow down, in general.


If you’re one of them, and are just beginning to amble around the kitchen, with kilos of rice packets stacked in your pantry, you’ll want to read on. Here’s a consolidated list of easy recipes for rice-based staples that can be prepared under 30 minutes or less.



1.       Arroz Con Pollo

A close cousin of the traditional Spanish paella, arroz con pollo is a delicious one-pot meal. The dish features in both  Spanish and Latin American cuisine and comprises rice, chicken thighs, bell pepper, onion and aromatic spices, along with herbs, such as cinnamon, bay leaf, thyme and oregano. If you want to spruce it up even more, add a pinch of saffron, which helps lend a distinct colour and flavour to the dish.


2.       Mexican Rice

Wondering what to do with leftover rice? Take chef Vicky Ratnani’s suggestion and give it a Mexican spin. All you need is a few cups of vegetable stock – though this is optional – chopped veggies, and you can literally use anything you’ve got in the fridge, plus, rice! Give it all a stir with spices like cinnamon and cumin, and you are good to go. You can also use this as a burrito stuffing!


3.       Aloo Matar ki Teheri

Teheri or tahri is a pulao recipe from Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Rajasthan. While these states have several variations of tahri  , two of the most popular ones include, teheri with potato, cauliflower and carrot, and  version, which makes use of potato and peas. This easy rice recipe is cooked in desi ghee and  flavoured with whole spices. You can  serve it with potato papad, pickle and yoghurt.



4.       Parmesan Chicken Rice

All you need to whip up this comforting and wholesome bowlful is brown rice and chicken, sautéed with onion and spices, all layered in a pan. Top it up with grated parmesan and bake it at 180 degree Celsius for 10-12 minutes.


5.       Fried Rice

Fried rice is life. Who can deny the comfort one derives from a bowl of piping hot fried rice, an Indo-Chinese hybrid that has almost become a staple? LF host Gurdip Kohli Punj uses a simple vegetarian recipe prepared with long-grain rice, soya sauce and red chilli sauce, which you can now try at home.



6.       Pudina Pongal

With summer around the corner, it makes sense to include a natural coolant in your diet. On Mother’s Menu, chef Shazia Khan makes South India’s popular Pongal - a wholesome dish made with rice and lentils - with a fragrant paste of mint, coriander, green chillies and ginger. Pudina Pongal is also great for pregnant women!


7.       Tomato Rice

Tomato rice is another flavourful staple from South India, which you can makee with leftover rice. For it,use freshly chopped tomato and sauté them in coconut oil, along with garlic, black pepper powder, coriander powder, asafoetida and salt. Once cooked, add boiled rice and mix it well. Serve it in a bowl with a garnish of coriander leaves, or try chef Ripudaman Handa’s idea, where you can use spoonfuls of tomato rice on cooked zucchini slices.


8.       Curd Rice

Also known as Thayir Sadam, this curd rice recipe is perfect for beginners. The hearty meal involves cooking rice with carrot, corn and curd and tempering it with coconut oil, ginger, green chilli, curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves, mustard seeds, urad dal and chana dal. Curd rice is garnished with coriander leaves and best enjoyed with homemade pickles. 


Banner image: Shutterstock

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