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Orange Juice Is The Secret To Amping Up Plain White Rice

bowl of white rice
bowl of white rice - Fotografiabasica/Getty Images

Fluffy and filling, white rice is a kitchen cabinet staple for both amateur and professional chefs alike. Featured in a diverse array of cultural dishes and appreciated for its mild taste, budget-friendly cost, and practical ability to raise your energy levels, white rice has served as a satisfying base in stress-free dinners since the 1600s, and its dependable neutral flavor seems to make it the perfect complement to everything from steak to sushi and stir fry. In fact, if there's any complaint about white rice, it's that on its own, it can be, well, plain.

But as it turns out, orange juice is a simple but unique way to propel the flavor of your plain white rice to the next level of delectability. Using fresh orange juice to cook your white rice instead of water is the low-effort, high-flavor swap that will make it anything but basic.

Read more: 14 Liquids To Add To Scrambled Eggs (And What They Do)

How To Amp Up Your Rice With Orange Juice

person juicing oranges in kitchen
person juicing oranges in kitchen - Pidjoe/Getty Images

If you're going to utilize orange juice to add a citrusy note to the bland, neutral flavor of your white rice, note that freshly squeezed juice (strained, without pulp) works best, as it doesn't contain the added sugar and preservatives of its bottled counterpart (however, if you do decide to grab a carton, just make sure it's unsweetened.) No need to pick a whole orchard if you choose to use freshly squeezed — three to four oranges should be enough to add that subtle hint of citrus without overpowering your rice. And if you're looking for an even more subtle taste, use part water and part juice for a lighter flavor profile.

You'll want to bring all of your ingredients with the orange juice to a boil, then turn to low to simmer for about 20 minutes. If you use part water, however, your cooking time may be shorter, so you'll want to keep an eye on your rice. Either way, you'll have gone from plain to poppin' in about a half-hour or less. Wondering what to serve orange rice with? You're in luck — since orange rice is a reasonably versatile dish, your options are, well, fruitful. Not only does its sweet, slightly tangy flavor pair well with spicy food, but it also makes an enjoyable culinary partner to fish, chicken, shrimp, and even duck.

Other Ways To Jazz Up Your Rice

pot of chicken broth with ladle
pot of chicken broth with ladle - Ahanov Michael/Shutterstock

Using orange juice to cook your rice isn't the only way to jazz it up — there are many unique methods to transform the basic dish into a mouthwateringly savory side. Instead of boiling your rice in water, for example, you can substitute chicken broth, which will add a richer, more flavorful taste. If you want to kick things up another notch, you could even substitute beef broth — which will add a more intense flavor. Vegetarian or vegan? Vegetable broth adds a flavor boost, too.

But if you want to take your rice in a creamier direction, you can also add a little coconut milk. Coconut rice is featured on many South Asian and Caribbean menus, and while it's usually made with jasmine rice, white rice works, too. Just stir in 1 cup of coconut milk to your cooked rice just after turning off the heat, and you'll infuse that slight hint of coconut flavor that pairs well with everything from curry to spicy chicken wings. And if all else fails, you can never go wrong with a bit of butter and salt. Just add a few pats of butter to your uncooked rice and stir so it absorbs the flavor before you add the water (think Rice-a-Roni), or add the butter directly to the water itself, and you'll end up in buttery carb heaven.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.