In many African homes, rice remains a staple food that cannot be excused out of meals. This is because rice is one of the most common meal, especially in families with children, as it is relatively cheap to cook and eat. However, it could get boring eating repeated meals, the same way every time. Here is good news; find out how to spice up your rice meals from this piece, beyond just cooking white rice and jollof rice. Forget the strange or seeming big names; they are very budget-friendly to cook. Now let’s get to the kitchen:
1. African vegetable rice: This is otherwise known as native rice and it can be cooked with about two thousand naira for a family of four. Get your rice, at least four cups, some ugwu (spinach), scent leaves (optional), fine red oil, onions, bell peppers, green pepper (optional), ponmo ijebu (cow skin), two cloves of garlic, ginger, some iru (locust beans), four cubes of seasoning, salt, one sardine or titus fish, depending on your budget and some goat meat. You can also add some coconut milk, if desired.
Chop your green vegetables, green pepper, onions and set aside. Strain the water from the rice and empty your pot to put on fire. Now, put some red oil in your pot, add your chopped onions and pepper with the garlic. Allow to fry under low heat, then add your iru, ground pepper and seasoning with salt. Stir well, after adding salt then leave to cook for like 5-7 minutes. When the aroma smells done, add water enough to cook your washed rice. Now pour in the boiled mix, and cover. In about 10 minutes later, add your vegetables, coconut milk and chili powder (if available), chopped garlic, some meat stock (if available), add the boiled fish/meat and allow steaming on low heat till the rice is soft. Serve your vegetable rice while it is sizzling hot and thank me later.
2. Seafood rice: This is another healthy rice meal you should be hungry for, because it is loaded with lots of flavour! Besides, it takes less than 30 minutes to cook, if the needed ingredients are available. All you will be requiring are olive oil, minced garlic, chopped onion, turmeric, smoked crayfish, long grain rice or Basmati rice, frozen seafood mix with shrimps or fresh prawns, thyme, salt and pepper, diced bell pepper, frozen peas (if they are not in the seafood mix), green, red, and yellow pepper with chopped carrots.
Heat some olive oil in your pan or pot, add your chopped onions, garlic, peas, carrot and bell peppers. Fry like 2-3 minutes then add some thyme. After that is done, stir fry your sea food content on medium-high heat. Then add your ground crayfish and seasoning. Your drained parboiled rice can them be added and stir fried. You can add little water, if the rice is not done and in few minutes, your yummy seafood rice is ready.
3. Hibiscus rice: Budget-friendly yet yummy and healthy, this rice is cooked with hibiscus rice. Hibiscus flower, as a plant, is healthy for lowering cholesterol, promoting weight loss and fighting inflammation, among others. Now imagine, cooking with all these benefits in view. All you need is your rice, water, hibiscus flower and salt to taste. Meanwhile, about 3-4 ladles of a medium serving spoon of dried hibiscus flower is needed to cook like four cups of rice. Then, you can eat with your sauce or stew, as this is nothing short of super healthy!
Wash your dry hibiscus flower after removing dirt or unwanted particles. Wash your rice too and drain. Put water in a pot and pour the hibiscus flower. Allow to boil a while, and then drain the flower off the water. Put back in pot, then add your rice in the hibiscus water to cook with salt to taste, for about 10 minutes. After the rice is done, stir to ensure the hibiscus water is circulated evenly as the rice gets done. Cover the pot back and after 5-8 minutes, your rice should be soft, tender and tasty. Now, you can serve to enjoy!
4. Yellow/Curry rice: This is one of the fastest meals you can make on a low or friendly budget. You would be needing curry powder, cayenne pepper, onion, chicken stock (if available), garlic, frozen peas, carrots and vegetable oil.
Heat up vegetable oil over medium heat in a pot, then add the chopped onions, garlic and carrots until soft and fragrant, this should take about three minutes. Add curry powder to the content of the pot, then stir to combine, add rinsed rice, stir fry for some minutes till the colour changes totally. Few minutes later, add water to cook your rice, salt, little cayenne pepper and seasoning. Add chicken stock (if available), then stir and ensure that no grains are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cover the pot and allow to cook. When nearly done, you can add some peas and carrots (if available) and voila, your food is ready!