Recipes; Rice up Your Life This National Rice Week

Friday 10th Sep 2021 |

Top Chefs and Foodies help you Rice Up your Life for National Rice Week 13th-19th September 2021

National Rice Week is back this September. To help you ‘Rice Up Your Life’, some of the nation’s top chefs and food lovers have shared their favourite rice-based recipes.

From Atul Kochhar’s Chicken and Egg Biriyani, Mallika Basu’s Rainbow Pulao, or Jack Stein’s Nasi Goreng with Chicken, to Danilo Cortellini’s Courgette, Basil and Black Olive Vegan Risotto, or Rebel Recipe’s Baked Mexican Rice with Beans and Greens, there’s a recipe for everyone to enjoy this National Rice Week.

Whichever variety you use, rice is the perfect ingredient to include when cooking. Not only is it really versatile, it is also one of the few foods that can be enjoyed from breakfast to supper and offers a host of nutritional benefits too. All rice is low in fat, cholesterol and sodium, high in energy, and packed full of vitamins and minerals (vitamin E, B vitamins and potassium).

To find out more ways to Rice Up Your Life, and to discover what’s happening near you during National Rice Week visit

National Rice Week – Kerala Chicken & Egg Biriyani by Atul Kochhar

Serves 6-8


  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 big green chilli
  • 1kg chicken thigh & drumsticks
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground red chilies
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.2lts water + 150ml cup water
  • 30g cashew nuts
  • 600g red rice or basmati rice
  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 3g cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 big tomato, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 6 eggs, boiled and peeled
  • 2 tsp natural set yoghurt
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar or coconut vinegar
  • 1 tsp rose water (optional)
  • 15g coriander (cilantro) leaves


Blend the garlic, ginger and green chilli, and 2-3 tbsp water to make a smooth paste.

Marinate chicken using half of the paste, ground turmeric, 1 tsp ground red chilli, 1/2 tsp garam masala and season for taste. 

Keep it in the refrigerator for an hour and then shallow fry the chicken pieces in oil for 3-4 minutes – until light brown and sealed and set aside.

Soak 7 cashew nuts in 150ml water and set aside for half an hour. Then grind the nuts into a smooth paste and set aside.

Soak the basmati rice in water for half an hour and set aside.

Heat some oil in another pan and fry 1 sliced onion, the rest of the cashew nuts and raisins separately. Set aside for the garnish.

To prepare the rice for the biriyani:

Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a deep pan and sauté the fennel seeds.

Fry half an onion until translucent and then add cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Fry again for another 2-3 minutes. 

Add 1.2lts of water along with the washed and drained rice.

Add lemon juice and season to taste. Let it come to boil.

Then turn down the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Once cooked, drain and keep it aside.

To prepare gravy for chicken & eggs:

Heat oil in a pan and fry the remaining onions until golden brown. Then add the remaining paste and fry for 2-3 minutes. 

Add tomatoes, the rest of the spices, salt to taste and cashew nut paste. Fry again for 3-4 minutes.

Add chicken pieces along with 100ml water, cook for 10-12 minutes until chicken is cooked.

Finally, add the whole eggs, 2 tsp yogurt and 1 tsp vinegar. Cook again for a couple of minutes.

To arrange the layers:

Take a deep heavy bottomed pan and place a layer of chicken. Then add a layer of rice and pour 1/2 tsp rose water. 

Use chicken, egg and rice alternatively until finished, but make sure the top layer is rice. Pour 1/2 tsp rose water and 1 tbsp ghee to the top of the layer. 

Garnish the biryani with the set aside fried cashew nuts, raisins, onions and chopped coriander leaves. Cover the pan with foil and lid.

Place the pan in a pre-heated oven at 200C, gas 6, for 10-12 minutes.  Remove and serve hot biriyani with onion raita.

National Rice Week – Nasi Goreng with Chicken by Jack Stein

Serves 4


  • Nasi Goreng Paste
  • 30ml vegetable oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 15g macadamia nuts
  • 2 medium chillies chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric


Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.


150g long grain rice


Cook the rice in boiling, salted water until just tender – roughly around 15 minutes.

Drain, rinse well and set aside.


  • 8 chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 6 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 4 spring onions sliced
  • Crispy onions to garnish


Slice the chicken thighs thinly and stir fry in oil for 5 minutes, then add a tablespoon of the nasi goreng paste and the chopped carrots, cook for a further 10 minutes.

Fry an egg for each person and warm 4 large dinner plates in the oven.

Add the soy sauce and most of the spring onions to the nasi goreng paste and toss together well.

Spoon the rice onto the warmed plates. Top with the fried eggs and sprinkle with the remaining spring onions and crispy onions; serve straight away.

National Rice Week – Rainbow Pulao by Mallika Basu

Serves 4


  • 3 x 135g Basmati Rice
  • 3 x 250ml hot water
  • 3 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • Half teaspoon chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 5 cubes frozen chopped spinach (125g), defrosted (or 200g of fresh spinach)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-inch stick cinnamon
  • Half teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt to season


Set a full kettle to boil and wash the first lot of rice in a sieve. In a lidded saucepan, warm a teaspoon of ghee on high heat. When it’s hot, stir in the ginger and the rice for a minute until the rice turns opaque. Mix in the chilli powder, tomato puree and half a teaspoon of salt, then add 250ml hot water. Stir once, cover and simmer for 12 minutes until cooked. Turn the heat off but leave to sit covered for another five minutes. Fluff with a fork and tip the tomato rice into a glass bowl and cover.

While the tomato rice is cooking, get going with the spinach layer by washing the rice. In another lidded saucepan, warm a teaspoon of ghee on high heat. When it’s hot, mix in the garlic and the rice. When the rice turns translucent, add the spinach, fresh coriander and half a teaspoon of salt. Pour in 250ml of hot water, cover and simmer for 12 minutes as before. When it’s done, turn the heat off and leave to sit for another five minutes. Fluff as before, tip onto the tomato rice, smooth over the top, and cover.

Now, make the final layer. Wash the last portion of rice. Warm ghee in another lidded saucepan (I rinse and use the tomato one). When it’s hot, drop in the black cardamom, cumin seeds, bay leaf and cinnamon. As they sizzle up, mix in the rice and turmeric and stir through for a minute. Now add salt and hot water, cover and simmer for another 12 minutes, repeating the process until you get a final layer of turmeric stained rice in your bowl.

Leave the whole lot covered in the bowl for five minutes, then place a plate on top of the bowl and turn it upside down to get your dome shaped three-layered pulao. 

National Rice Week – Courgette, Basil and Black Olives Vegan Risotto by Danilo Cortellini

National Rice Week

Serves: 4


  • 320g Carnaroli ‘Risotto’ rice
  • 4 green courgettes
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil
  • 8 courgettes flower to garnish (optional)
  • 1 lemon
  • 100g of taggiasca pitted olives
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)


Start by preparing the courgetti puree. This will help with the creaminess of the risotto. Sweat half of the chopped onion in a casserole pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil. When golden, add the garlic and cook for 5 more minutes. Now add 3 of the courgettes thinly sliced, season with salt and pepper and cook on a medium heat until soft (about 6/7 minutes). Add at least 15 leaves of basil and blend well straight away with a mixer or hand blender. Set aside and let it cool slightly.

For the risotto

Gently fry the chopped onion in a small casserole dish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 6/7 minutes on low heat until golden and a little translucent.

In a large casserole dish, start to dry toast the rice on a low heat with a pinch of salt, without adding oil or fat. This method allows the heat to reach the core of each rice grain, resulting in a more uniform al dente rice. Keep stirring the rice occasionally, so the rice does not catch on the bottom of the pan or burn. When the rice is very hot, pour the wine in. Let the alcohol evaporate for a few seconds, set the cooking time to 15/17 minutes (accordingly to the packet instructions) and add the simmering stock a ladle at a time, little by little. Remember, the risotto needs to always have a good simmer during the cooking time. Gently stir the rice every now and then, and make sure the rice is always covered with stock.

While the risotto cooks, thinly slice the courgette left, let it sit with a pinch of salt for a couple of minutes and then pat dry the natural water from it. Shallow fry in a pan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil until brownish and crispy in spots. Set aside.

If you are lucky enough to get a hold of courgette flowers, rinse them gently and remove the pistils inside, then shallow fry it as the courgette very quickly for 1 minute.

When halfway through the cooking time, add the cooked onion and then start to add the courgette and basil puree gradually. 

Once the time is up, taste the risotto and if you’re happy with the texture remove it from the heat. If you want the rice a little bit softer, cook for another minute.

This step is called “mantecatura” to make the risotto creamier increasing its natural ooziness with the right gesture and movements. Add 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and stir to incorporate extra air until the risotto is nice and creamy. At this stage I like to add a few drops of lemon juice and if the risotto dries up, you can still add a little bit of hot stock. Season to taste.

Plate the hot risotto straight away. Scatter over the courgette slice and a few taggiasca olives for each plate. Garnish with the optional flowers and basil leaves and finish with lemon zest for extra aroma.  

Baked Mexican Rice with Beans and Greens topped with Mango Salsa by Niki Webster, Rebel Recipes

Serves 4


For the rice

  • 650 ml veg stock – boiling water
  • 250g long grain rice rinsed well
  • 1 can black beans drained
  • Greens – 40g asparagus/broccoli/spring greens chopped 
  • 3 spring onions sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tomato sauce

  • 1 red onion sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 3 cloves garlic sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder or chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • 5 tomatoes chopped
  • 3 tablespoon sun dried tomato paste

For the mango salsa

  • 1 mango peeled and sliced into cubes
  • Fresh coriander & mint shredded
  • Juice 1 Lime 
  • Pinch sea salt flakes and chilli flakes


Preheat oven to 180°c.

Combine all ingredients into casserole dish & stir. Cover tightly with foil then bake for 15 minutes.

In the meantime – on a medium heat fry the onion for 8 minutes with the olive oil.

Add the garlic and spices and stir to combine.

Add the chopped tomatoes and sun-dried tomato paste and simmer for 6 minutes until the tomatoes have started to break down.

Remove the rice from the oven and add the tomato mix to the rice – stir to combine.

Bake for a further 15 minutes – or until the rice is tender.

To make the salsa

Add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix to combine.

Serve the salsa with the baked rice.
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