21 Ways to Play with Your Rice

21 Ways to Play with Your Food

I love crafting with food. Here are 21 suggestions for playing with rice. See the end of this post for a simple visual tutorial and information about the three types of molded rice featured here.

1. Having a celebration for your superstar? Make rice with black beans and garnish with snow peas and stars.

Rice and Beans

I made these for a party and they were very popular. I received many questions about the green garnish. Guests liked it but did not know they were snow peas.

To make the filling sauté a small onion in olive oil until tender. Then add a can of black beans and a small can of diced tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes juice a little. Pack some hot, cooked rice into a custard cup, add some filling, and then pack some more rice. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) For the garnish, slice snow peas lengthwise and use a small star cookie cutter to cut carrot stars.

2. Are you a fan of broccoli and cheese? Make this simple dish.

Rice with Broccoli and Cheese

Pack some hot, cooked rice into a custard cup; add some cooked broccoli with shredded cheddar cheese; and then pack some more rice. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) Add a garnish of broccoli and a cherry tomato cut in half.

3. X marks the spot with this asparagus garnish on tomato rice.

Tomato Rice

This is a plain one but you can spice it up according to your taste. Pack some hot, cooked rice into a custard cup, add some sliced cherry tomatoes, and then pack some more rice. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) Add asparagus for the garnish.

4. Need an idea for Meatless Monday? Try making this beautiful rice with mushrooms.

Mushrooms and Rice

I am not a mushroom eater but my husband loves them. As a practically lifelong vegetarian I don’t have experience with gravy. This was my first time making gravy and it worked out great! The only change I made to the recipe was that I used butter instead of margarine. My husband enjoyed being the taste tester for this mushroom dish and decided to eat it for dinner two nights in a row.

To make the filling, remove the stems and chop baby bella mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms in butter until done. Pack some hot, cooked rice into a custard cup, add some filling, and then pack some more rice. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) Make mushroom gravy using this recipe.  For the garnish sauté a mushroom slice in butter and add a spring of fresh thyme.

5. This cheesy rice is delicious with any meal.

Cheese Rice Mold

This meal came about because I had some leftover rice balls and I wanted to do something different with them. It was delicious cold and made a fantastic lunch.

Pack plain hot, cooked rice into a Japanese rice mold. (See the end of this post for information about Japanese rice molds.) Put shredded orange cheddar cheese on top of rice shapes and broil until melted and bubbling a little.

6. On a diet? Try this attractive dish.

Rice with garnish of Broccoli Cheese Tomato

Make some plain, shaped rice. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) Place shredded cheddar cheese on top of your rice. Put it in a microwave to melt. Surround the rice with cooked broccoli and cheddar cheese. Garnish with a sliced cherry tomato and spring of fresh thyme.

7. Want a unique farewell party theme? This fun salad is a breeze to make before your friend flutters away.

Butterfly Rice

My niece is a fan of butterflies. This salad was a beautiful collaboration.

Pack plain hot, cooked rice in a butterfly shaped cookie cutter. Use plastic wrap to help protect your hands from the heat and stickiness of the rice. (See information about shaping rice with cookie cutters at the end of this post.) Garnish with pistachio nuts and heart-shaped sprinkles.

The salad has fresh spinach leaves, butterfly-shaped watermelon, and pistachios.

8. Perhaps not ideal for a date, but this corn and garlic rice will leave you satisfied.

Rice with Corn and Garlic

Sauté minced garlic and corn in butter. Mix corn with cooked rice and pack it into your mold. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) Sprinkle the top of the rice with paprika. Garnish with a slice of radish cut with a Linzer cutter flower shape, a green pea with a small piece of angel hair pasta to hold it in place, and kernels of corn arranged around the shape.

9. Cheesy chicks are a cute dish for a barnyard-themed meal.

Cheesy Rice Chicks

Pack hot, cooked rice into a chick-shaped cookie cutter. Use plastic wrap to help protect your hands from the heat and stickiness of the rice. (See information about shaping rice with cookie cutters at the end of this post.) Put shredded orange cheddar cheese on top of rice shapes and broil until melted and bubbling a little. Add blue sprinkles for the eyes.

The background for the chicks is sautéed baby zucchini and sunflower seeds.

10. Want a simple side dish for dinner with a loved one? Garnish your rice with sage and a carrot heart.

Plain Rice with Sage and Carrot Heart

Pack plain hot, cooked rice into a mold. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) For the garnish, fry a fresh sage leaf in olive oil for about 5 seconds on each side. The leaf should remain green and not turn brown. Use a small cookie cutter to cut a carrot slice into a heart shape. Place the fried sage leaf on top of the rice and add the carrot heart. 

11. Try this attractive side dish for any occasion.

Rice with Snow Pea Garnish

My young nephew designed this one to look like a Coat of Arms.

Pack plain hot, cooked rice into a Japanese rice mold. (See the end of this post for information about Japanese rice molds.) Garnish with long slices of snow peas.

12. Celebrate Fall with this edible orange leaf.

Leaf Shaped Carrot Rice

I used carrot for this one because I wanted the orange color. Try this one if you enjoy the earthy taste of carrot.

Mix finely grated carrot with some hot rice. Pack hot, cooked rice into a maple leaf-shaped cookie cutter. Use plastic wrap to help protect your hands from the heat and stickiness of the rice. (See information about shaping rice with cookie cutters at the end of this post.)

13. This simple corn flower is “growing” to put a smile on anyone’s face.

Rice with Corn Pea Rosemary Garnish

Pack plain hot, cooked rice into a mold. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) For the garnish, arrange corn and pea into a flower shape and place a rosemary leaf beside the flower.

14. Having a home cooked Chinese food night? Make this yummy broccoli and water chestnut rice.

Broccoli and Water Chestnut Rice

Cook small broccoli florets and chopped water chestnuts in a little olive oil and then add a vegetable bullion cube and some water. Cook until broccoli is tender. Combine broccoli mixture with some hot rice. Pack the broccoli rice into a mold. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) Garnish with a slice of water chestnut and a broccoli floret.

15. Try this beautiful cinnamon rice for an elegant brunch at home.

Cinnamon Rice with Fruit and Nuts

I loved the taste and look of this one! I came up with the idea to make rice with fruit. I researched and found this Superfood Fruit & Nut Salad which became my inspiration.

Mix some cinnamon with hot, cooked rice. Pack the cinnamon rice into a mold. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) Surround the rice with orange segments cut in half, cut kiwi, and pistachios. Garnish with kiwi and dried goji berries.

16. Dyeing Easter Eggs? Make this vibrant rice egg with natural berry dye.

Painted Egg Rice

Pack hot, cooked rice into an egg-shaped cookie cutter. Use plastic wrap to help protect your hands from the heat and stickiness of the rice. (See information about shaping rice with cookie cutters at the end of this post.) Microwave a few frozen mixed berries to obtain juice. Use a pastry brush to paint the rice egg with juice.

17. Chocoholic? Try this chocolate rice with oranges for a snack or light meal.

Cocoa Rice with Oranges

Pack hot, plain cooked rice into a mold. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) Sprinkle rice with cocoa powder. Surround the cocoa rice with orange segments cut in half. Garnish with a cut orange segment. Serve with a drizzle of honey.

18. Star Wars movie night? Invite Stormtroopers and Darth Vader for dinner.

Star Wars Rice

I used small teddy bear shaped rice molds for my take on Star Wars Stormtroopers and Darth Vader. (See photo of my rice molds at the end of this post.) 

To make the Stormtroopers: Pack hot, plain rice into a teddy bear-shaped Japanese rice mold. (See the end of this post for information about Japanese rice molds.) Use this Stormtrooper Rice Stencil and sprinkle a little bit of paprika. (I was a little overzealous with the paprika.) Carefully lift off stencil.

To make Darth Vader: Grind some black sesame seeds in a coffee grinder. (You can clean the grinder immediately after by running pieces of bread through it, but you may want to have one dedicated grinder for spices.) Mix the ground sesame seeds into hot, cooked rice. Pack rice into a teddy bear-shaped Japanese rice mold. (See the end of this post for information about Japanese rice molds.)

19. This zesty orange rice for breakfast will help you wake up and meet the challenges of your day.

Orange Zest Rice with Fruit and Nuts

I was inspired by this post from Healthy, Happy, Life. I added a lot of orange zest because I wanted a vibrant color. It was too zesty for my husband. At first he said he couldn’t eat it. But I gave him some honey and he ate it all.

Zest an orange then mix into hot, cooked rice. Pack the orange rice into a mold. (See the tutorial at the end of this post for how to make the rice shape.) Surround the rice with orange segments cut in half, cut kiwi, and pistachios. Garnish with kiwi, orange, and goji berries.

20. Snoopy fan? Charlie Brown and Lucy rice are perfect for a Charlie Brown movie night.

Charlie Brown and Lucy Rice

I used spinach for details instead of the traditional dried nori seaweed because I prefer spinach to seaweed.

Pack hot, cooked rice into Charlie Brown and Lucy-shaped cookie cutters. Use plastic wrap to help protect your hands from the heat and stickiness of the rice. (See information about shaping rice with cookie cutters at the end of this post.) When working with detailed shapes make sure your rice is well packed. Carefully release the rice from the cutter.

21. Need themed food to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas? Make this “Swan a Swimming” rice.

Rice Swan

Rice and blueberries may sound like an odd combination, but I thought it was delicious. I made this as part of my 12 days of Christmas lunch series.

Pack hot, cooked rice into a swan-shaped cookie cutter. Use plastic wrap to help protect your hands from the heat and stickiness of the rice. (See information about shaping rice with cookie cutters at the end of this post.) Garnish the beak with pumpernickel bread and carrot.

Nishiki Rice

To keep it simple I only used Nishiki rice for all of the dishes in this post. Nishiki is a premium medium grain rice which sticks together when packed into shapes.

I featured three types of shaped rice in this roundup: ramekins/custard cups, Japanese rice molds, and cookie cutters.

Ramekins/Custard Cups

Rice and Bowl Comparison

As pictured above, I used three different sized ramekins/custard cups for the rice featured in this post. Different sources provide varying calorie counts for cooked rice. Rice Calorie Counter gives 241 calories for 1 cup of cooked white medium-grain rice.

Below is a simple tutorial for molding rice in a custard cup with plastic wrap. Of course you can try to do this without plastic wrap, but I find that with plastic wrap it works every time. It is especially helpful when you add a layer of ingredients in-between the layers of rice. I did try it without using plastic wrap and sometimes the top layer stuck to the mold.

Step 1: Line your mold with plastic wrap. Spoon hot cooked rice into the mold.

Line cup with plastic wrap fill with rice

Step 2: Fold over the plastic wrap and press down on the rice. Open up the plastic wrap.

Fold over plastic wrap press down unfold

Step 3: Invert your mold onto a plate.

Invert Bowl on Plate

Step 4: Remove the mold and plastic wrap.

Remove bowl and plastic wrap

Japanese Rice Molds

Rice Mold Collection

The photo above shows my collection of Japanese rice molds. I received these over the years from a close friend in Japan. A good online source is Bento USA. Search under rice mold. It is easy and fun to use these rice molds. Wet the rice mold, fill with rice, put on the cover, push down to pack and then remove the rice from mold.

Cookie Cutters

I collect cookie cutters. But as my regular readers know, my collection is not just for display. I frequently use them, mostly for savory food. Cookie cutters allow for endless possibilities because of the variety of available shapes. Shapes with tiny details are not as good because it is difficult to release the rice in one piece. Wet the cookie cutter with water, put it on a plate, fill it with rice, press down with plastic wrap, and then carefully remove the cutter.

Have Fun!

I hope that these ideas inspire you. When crafting with rice, you are limited only by your imagination and food preferences.

About eclecticlamb

http://eclecticlamb.com/
This entry was posted in Bento / Cute Food, Food and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to 21 Ways to Play with Your Rice

  1. Rebecca says:

    This is probably my favorite blog post ever (on any blog)!

  2. This is an INSANE amount of amazing ideas!!!! WOW!!! :)

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m totally trying some of these! Great post! Thanks for visting and commenting! I’m going to add you to my links page and visit often, too!

  4. bentodays says:

    Great post! I love the idea of chocolate rice, and the Charlie Brown one looks awesome!

  5. coconutcraze says:

    I am inspired by the molded rice display. Must try some…especially the cheese and chocolate variety.

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