Tag: rice

It’s Tasty Tuesday! Thanksgiving Sides

It that time again. The time when our thoughts turn from Jack O’Lanterns, witches, bats and other scary things to the holiday many people consider to be their favorite. Thanksgiving.

What first comes to your mind when Thanksgiving is mentioned? Turkey?

For our family, it’s all about the sides! Do we stay with tradition, never changing Grandma’s cornbread dressing? Or Aunt Sue’s asparagus casserole? How about that Green Bean Casserole or Sweet Potato Casserole?

Does your family just resist changing the menu? 

At ARWB, we think our foodies have some delicious alternatives for you. Why not give one or two of these a try and let us know what you think.


Lacie Ring: Easy Peasy Pleasy’s Bacon Cauliflower Salad


Cauliflower is one of those versatile foods that can really take on the flavor of what it’s mixed with. This salad gets devoured anytime I serve up this dish and it will feed a crowd.

My Aunt Linda has been making this salad for as long as I can remember! You never have to wonder what she will bring to any of our family functions! She graciously gave me the recipes years ago and I’ve been making it ever since! READ MORE

Anita Stafford: Sugar Spice and Spilled Milk’s Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Suace vis Sugar Spice and Spilled Milk


Even with all the hurry, I always enjoy preparing a holiday meal. Putting the Thanksgiving meal together was more fun this year because my son Daniel was here to help me with the cooking. He helped out by making Spinach Maria and a Sweet Potato/Carrot slow cooker dish. He also convinced me that we should try making our own cranberry sauce this year. I usually make a blueberry salad the family likes in lieu of cranberry sauce, but I decided to give homemade cranberry sauce a whirl.

The recipe we used was super simple and quick to make, plus it was very tasty. We made it ahead to allow it time to refrigerate in the mold overnight. I love any dish that can be prepared ahead. The original recipe came from Alton Brown. READ MORE


Talya Boerner: The Best Mac and Cheese in the World


The Best Mac and Cheese via Grace Grits Gardening Talya Boerner


We had friends over to eat Tuesday night. John grilled burgers, and I baked the best Mac and Cheese in all the land which hopefully cancelled out the very average pot of beans I served with it. This is my go-to mac and cheese recipe. There’s no need to make any other. You could add lobster like the fancy restaurants do and have a dish people would pay $17 a serving for in Dallas (i.e. Capital Grille). I truly believe that.

There are five kinds of cheese in this dish.  READ MORE IF YOU DARE

Lyndi Fultz:Crunchy Rice Casserole (for Riceland Foods)


One of the best things about rice is that it is so versatile. That versatility kicks up a notch when you are able to meal prep by cooking extra rice and freezing for a rainy day.

Why wait until a rainy day to use that extra rice you have stored in the freezer? Make a crunchy rice casserole and invite someone over tonight. This casserole would go nicely with meat, poultry and fish. The crunch is an added touch that gives some depth to this casserole. Walnuts, sunflower seeds, and sliced almonds all have a unique texture that makes each bite interesting. The sweet onions and melted cheese takes it from a so-so side dish to a so-so-so-delicious side dish!

Who’s ready for dinner?



We’ll have more coming. Come back next week for another edition of Tasty Tuesday.









Tasty Tuesday {Featured Food Posts}

Confetti Pepper Jelly: Jeanetta Darley

When you pick a peck of peppers, what do you next? One of my favorite solutions is to make pepper jelly.  And if you have a variety of colors in your pepper peck, it makes for a fun and tasty condiment that hopefully (fingers crossed) lasts you till the next growing season.  The bright colors of the different peppers give the jelly a confetti look just the right touch for a party. READ MORE…


Mexican-style Brown Rice: Jamie Smith

Does your family adore Mexican-style rice but you’d rather it have just a bit better nutrition? My Mexican-style rice uses reduced-sodium ingredients, making this recipe much less salty than what you would find from a flavor packet. Also, I use Riceland brown rice, which is usually considered better nutritionally than most white rices. This delicious, incredibly easy recipe is great as a side item or as a filler for burritos and other Tex-Mex dishes. READ MORE…

Polly's Apple Pie via Katharine Trauger of Home's Cool

Polly’s Apple Pie: Katharine Trauger

Our gal, Katharine Trauger of Home’s Cool, shares the pie that made her learn to love apple pie. Since it’s apple season in Arkansas, we thought this was one you’d want to put on your baking menu now. Do you make apple pies ahead of time and freeze them? They’re one of the easiest to freeze and enjoy later.

Polly was the mother of one of our dearest friends. She lived a life punctuated with fabulous sugary creations. We have found we need to eliminate lots of purely sugary downloads, but I make exceptions for Thanksgiving or very special company.

This pie is one of the exceptions. The secrets to it are: real butter, too much sugar, and the baking time and temp. The bottom crust will be a bit difficult to manage, but you will NOT care.  Read More


Easy Glazed 4 Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies: Lacie Ring


In the honor of the season of giving thanks and my girlfriend who loves pumpkin, I give you this super easy Glazed 4 Ingredient Pumpkin Cookies recipe made from a box of cake mix with glaze made from store bought frosting recipe. Read More

Keisha Pittman McKinney: Mama Sue’s Kitchen Cabinet Gumbo

Whether you are the Pioneer Woman, a contestant on the Worst Cooks in America, or just trying to get culinary in a small south Arkansas town, nothing makes dinner easier than a “cabinet creation.” Growing up, I always dreaded “clean out the fridge” buffet night. I would offer to help my mom get the meal ready because that left me first in line to pick out the remains of my favorite meal of the week. Thus leaving the mushy stuff that I didn’t like for the slow pokes who weren’t listening when the dinner bell rang!

On the contrary, I LOVED nights when my mom just winged it. She was (and still is) the queen of creativity in the kitchen. She taught me how to make incredible meals on a tight budget. She can always remake leftovers in to a new creation.She can take parts of two different meals and if you don’t pay attention, you think she has cooked a fresh dish 3 nights in the same week! It’s a not-so- secret talent and it’s been fun as we have added son-in- laws to the mix at our holiday table to watch their amazement at her dinner creations.

What she does best is always seek to be present with her people. Doing this takes lots of preparation. Mama will cook the week or weekend before we come and have meals ready in the fridge or freezer that we just have to bake and eat. (That leaves us more time for shopping, craft projects, window shopping, bargain hunting, cashing in coupons, and more shopping – all the essential things for time with your mama!)

She is also really great at her own “semi-homemade” treats. She will have the meat or cooked parts ready and just stir it all together at meal time. That’s exactly what happened with today’s dish. On their own, any of these ingredients are just fine. But, together, they are magic! And if a Cajun likes anything, it’s the magic that happens in a slow, stewed gumbo.

KEISHA MCKINNEY: Mama Sue's Kitchen Cabinet Gumbo


  • 2 Chicken breasts (fresh or thawed)
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 14.5-ounce Margaret Holmes Okra, Tomatoes, and Corn
  • 1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 27-ounce cans Margaret Holmes Red Beans and Rice
  • “soppin” bread – frozen garlic bread recommended


  1. Place the chicken breasts in crockpot with 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning and 1/2 cup water.
  2. Cook on low for 4 hours. Remove chicken to cutting board and dice in to cubes. Return chicken to crockpot and add canned veggies, tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.
  3. Cook for 2 more hours on LOW. A few minutes before serving, add shrimp (chopped to desired size or left whole) and canned red beans and rice.
  4. Stir together and serve hot with any sort of bread to sop up that goodness!


In case you are wondering, we are Texans, not Cajuns…therefore we let the people who know what to do, do it and we take full advantage of what comes our way!


Keisha Pittman McKinney Big Pitt Stop #ARWB Keisha (Pittman) McKinney is settling in to her new married life in South AR after she #becamemrsmckinney.  A Digital Media Director by day for a church in Northwest Arkansas, Keisha is remembering what its like to plan ahead for shopping trips to “the city,” getting resourceful at her small town Walmart and creating online shopping personas everywhere.  She blogs @bigpittstop about daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats and the social justice cases on her heart.

Follow Keisha:
Blog –bigpittstop: new journey, new normal, new you –  http://www.bigpittstop.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bigpittstop
Twitter – https://twitter.com/bigpittstop
Instagram – http://instagram.com/bigpittstop#
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/bigpittstop/
Periscope – @bigpittstop


Ricci Alexis: Spicy Ranch Chicken and Rice {Foodie Friday}

I don’t know about you but I hate to go grocery shopping. I hate battling crowds, always forgetting something, and the store usually being out of the one thing I came to get. So frustrating!

With all of that being said when I can’t find anything to make for dinner I usuallyplay a game with myself called “Iron Pantry”. It’s similar to the TV show Iron Chef (is that show still on??) in that I just dig through the pantry for random ingredients and make them into a meal. I have created some of my favorite meals this way! Today Iam going to share that meal with you, Spicy Ranch Chicken and Rice!

Riceland, rice, chicken, ranch dressing


I was playing Iron Pantry one night when I created one of my all time favorite meals!! I literally came up with this recipe when I was in college and it’s still around today. Two things that I always keep on hand are chicken and brown rice…I switched from white to brown rice when I was in college and never looked back. It just tastes so much better to me than white rice!!

I marinated my chicken in some fat free Italian dressing and grilled it on my George Foreman. Can I just stop and say right here that I am obsessed with my George? I am a single lady and have not yet mastered an outdoor grill, but I can grill anything on my George!

I usually use whatever brown rice I find but have made it a point lately to buy Riceland Brown Rice. I love knowing that the rice I use was grown and harvested right down the road, Plus it just tastes better than most.

With my protein and grain I had a great start for the base for my meal! The night I created this meal I had some bell peppers, mushrooms, and garlic that I needed to use so I decided to sauté them and mix them in with my chicken and rice. The meal was looking better but needed a little something…

rice, chicken, ranch dressing, Riceland

After digging though my spice cabinet I decided to spice it up with some Cajun seasoning. I always have Cajun seasoning on hand; it just goes good on everything!!

Processed with Snapseed.

It was looking pretty good but I decided to kick it up a notch and throw a little Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch on it and HOLY MOLY it was amazing!! And finally finished…HA!

These days I usually have everything I need to make this Spicy Ranch Chicken and Rice on hand and make it at least once a week. Sometimes I switch the veggies up and just use whatever I have on hand but that's the beauty of any recipe, you can totally customize it to what you like!

chicken, Riceland, ranch dressing

So that’s it for my favorite go-to dish!! What’s yours??

Ricci Alexis: Spicy Ranch Chicken and Rice {Foodie Friday}


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup fat free Italian dressing
  • 2 cups Riceland Brown Rice
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning


  1. Marinate chicken in Italian Dressing
  2. Grill chicken until done and then set aside
  3. Make brown rice according to the directions on the Riceland bag
  4. Chop up all bell peppers and onions and sauté on medium until veggies are tender
  5. Add in mushrooms and minced garlic
  6. When veggies are done set aside
  7. In a bowl mix brown rice, grilled chicken and veggies and cajun seasoning
  8. Top with Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch Dressing
  9. Enjoy!


ricci alexis profile


Arkansas Women Blogger Ricci Ellis is an Arkansas native and current central Arkansas resident. Her favorite titles include dog mom, sister, aunt, blogger and respiratory therapist. You can catch up with her on her lifestyle blog, Ricci Alexis, or on any social media @riccialexis.


How to Stir Fry with Renee {National Rice Month}

renee birchfield rice stir fry

ARWB member Renee Birchfield shares her step-by-step method for making stir-fried rice on her blog If Spoons Could Talk

Stir-fried rice is a popular dish not only when dining out, but also for making in our homes. With a little ingenuity, rice, a few vegetables and a bit of protein, if desired, you can whip up a tasty and filling meal for your family in a short amount of time. 

 [stextbox id=”custom” shadow=”false” bwidth=”1″ color=”050505″ ccolor=”050505″ bcolor=”050505″ bgcolor=”BAF8FF” cbgcolor=”BAF8FF” bgcolorto=”BAF8FF” cbgcolorto=”BAF8FF” image=”null”]”Stir-Frying is defined as frying rapidly over high heat while stirring briskly. It is the Chinese version of the French’s sauteeing, typically done in a wok over high heat.  If you don’t have a wok though that is ok, but if this becomes a common method of cooking for you I recommend that you get a good quality one as it does help when cooking.”[/stextbox]

Renee Birchfield











Check out these stir fry ideas from Riceland:


Duck Fried Rice


Brown Fried Rice


Chinese Fried Rice with Bacon and Mushrooms


Quick and Easy Vegetarian Fried Rice

mandarin stir fry

Mandarin Stir Fry

Have a favorite stir-fry idea or recipe? Share your recipe link with us or tell us about your idea in the comments.

Celebrating National Rice Month with ARWB

rice harvest nat rice month

Arkansas Women Blogger members enjoy a special relationship with Riceland Foods. Not only is this Arkansas-based company headquartered here, it supports and features some of the best farmers and producers in our state. Riceland is unique because it is a cooperative of rice farmers, meaning it is owned by those farmers. Both Riceland and ARWB take tremendous pride in supporting our local farmers and producers.

Several of our members have recipes which have been featured on Riceland’s blog, including this one for Baked Chicken Marsala and Rice Casserole from Lyndi Fultz of nwafoodie which uses Riceland’s Extra Long Grain White Rice.


And I can definitely recommend this Lemony Shrimp Scampi over Gold Perfected Rice, the rice preferred by the hospitality industry. 


Are you a Tex-Mex fan? Then be sure to put this Poblano Rice and Beans with Shredded Fajita Chicken prepared by our spicy gal Heather Disarro from Heather’s Dish.


Captain Mom, also known as Rhonda Franz our Girl Friday of everything The Women Bloggers, starts her family’s day off right with a Favorite Way to Eat Brown Rice for Breakfast. I certainly remember eating and loving steaming bowls of rice with sugar and cream especially on cold, winter mornings. 

If you struggle with the preparation of brown rice, follow my method for cooking brown rice and your troubles will be gone!   give Riceland’s new  boil-in-bag brown rice a try.


And who doesn’t love a good dessert? Rice can be your go-to ingredient for sweet craving as well as for your savory. Julie Kohl of Eggs and Herbs, Content Creator for ARWB, recently shared her Jumble Cookie recipe — perfect for lunch box treats.


I’m really looking forward to experimenting more with Riceland’s Jazmine (Jasmine) Rice in some of the Indian and Thai recipes I’m learning. (Thanks Swathi!)


Have you checked out the Riceland blog? Here are a few other examples of some of the jewels you’ll find when you do!

Dad’s Best Barbecued Chicken

Dad’s Best Barbecued Chicken

You don’t have to have a big fancy grill or even a tiny disposable one to have delicious barbecued chicken. I used to think that barbecue was saved for big family picnics or get-togethers at a local park and you …Continue reading…

Kabobs Over Yellow Riceland Rice

Kabobs Over Yellow Riceland Rice

It seems like every restaurant that serves kabobs on the menu or every butcher shop that sells pre-cooked kabobs follow a set routine by only offering chicken or beef. I often wonder, why the discrimination over other kabob meats?Continue reading…
Baked Rice Apple Crisp

Baked Rice Apple Crisp

As the resurgence of Sunday Suppers, potlucks, and general embracing of comfort foods tease us weekly on our social media apps, I am on the constant lookout for family-style desserts that are easy, delicious, and will please all age groups. …Continue reading…

Rice & Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Rice & Black-Eyed Pea Salad

When I think of black-eyed peas, I am instantly transported to a magical place of antebellum homes, magnolia trees, and mint juleps. In my minds-eye, I am sipping the mint juleps and fanning myself from the summer heat and persistent …Continue reading…
Brown Rice Chicken Skillet Dinner

Brown Rice Chicken Skillet Dinner

We all have those times when the day is super busy but there is still a desire to put a healthy, delicious meal on the table. This Brown Rice Chicken Skillet Dinner is quick, easy and sure to please even …Continue reading…
Turkey Tetrazzini with Rice

Turkey Tetrazzini with Rice

I keep leftover turkey and chicken in my freezer just about all of the time. It comes in handy for those evenings when I need a quick and easy dinner.During the holiday season when the prices are really good, I …Continue reading…
Riceland Rice Ole'

Riceland Rice Ole’

Just about everyone enjoys the spicy taste of Mexican food. From tacos to burritos to enchiladas, we just never seem to tire of all the combinations of meat, cheese, rice, beans, avocados and peppers. While we do enjoy those, one …Continue reading…
Riceland’s Vegetable Dip

Riceland’s Vegetable Dip

In late August and early fall in the South, all thoughts turn to football. And that, of course, means it’s time to tailgate! And while tailgate used to be just that —a picnic on the tailgate of your honey’s pickup …Continue reading…
Taramahoota Pollo Sopa con Arroz

Taramahoota Pollo Sopa con Arroz

Good friends are such a blessing. And they are especially so when they share delicious, original recipes with you and allow you to share those as you please. My good friend, Chef Liz Bray, created the original version of this …Continue reading…
Cherry Rice Salad

Cherry Rice Salad

Every Sunday, my in-law’s church hosts a dessert social following the evening sermon. Parishioners bring a variety of desserts to share while they mill around and enjoy each other’s company.  My mother-in-law is always looking for fun new recipes and …Continue reading…
Brown Rice Breakfast Tacos

Brown Rice Breakfast Tacos

If Taco Tuesday isn’t a thing in your house, it should be. And if you’re not eating breakfast for dinner on a regular basis, well you should be doing that too. We love Taco Tuesday and breakfast for dinner in …Continue reading…
Join me Tuesday, September 27 when I’ll be sharing some of our favorites from Riceland on THV11 This Morning — at 6:15 am (go ahead and set your DVR:)
Bon Appetít Y’all
logo-diningwithdebbie 1000
All recipes and photos courtesy of Riceland Foods.

Alison Chino: Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp {National Rice Month}

thai coconut curry allison

I love a curry.

I enjoy Indian curries with all kinds of lentils and veggies and I also like the fresher feel of Thai curries with citrus flavors and seafood.

These days you can buy your own curry pastes in the grocery store, but there is something sort of nourishing about crushing the garlic and mixing the flavors all together yourself. Making a curry from scratch is not hard, but it can involve a lot of ingredients.

thai coconut curry past

This Thai curry is fairly simple and a lot of the ingredients you might already have on hand, like the spices. Consider tracking down lemongrass and fish sauce a kind of flavor treasure hunt. Both of these make this dish smell and taste divine.

I put together this recipe after ordering a similar dish in a fairly expensive Thai restaurant. It is way less expensive to make, of course, and my whole family enjoys it. (Always a win!)

This is a good curry for the warmer months of the year because it’s not as heavy as many other creamy rice dishes.

Hope you enjoy!

Alison Chino: Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp {National Rice Month}

Alison Chino: Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp {National Rice Month}


    For the paste:
  • 1 inch ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stem lemongrass, ends trimmed and sliced lengthways
  • 1 jalepeno pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    For the curry
  • 2 cups cooked shrimp
  • 2 cups green vegetables (I used broccoli and sugar snap peas)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • Cooked Basmati rice (to serve on the side)
  • Fresh cilantro (for serving)


  1. Make the paste by taking all ingredients and crushing them with a mortar and pestle, or you can use a food processor. I like the mortar and pestle method but you will end up with larger stems of lemongrass. You can leave them large and then pull them out just before serving.
  2. Heat a large skillet.
  3. Add paste and cook for about five minutes.
  4. Add prawns (shrimp), then the coconut milk and fish sauce. Cook for about five minutes before adding green vegetables.
  5. Simmer 5-10 minutes more. Serve with Riceland Long Grain White Rice and garnish with cilantro leaves.



Alison Chino is a born and bred Arkansan who lives in Scotland (soon to be Germany), where she is learning to walk everywhere and to live with tiny appliances. She loves hiking the Scottish Highlands with her husband and kids on the weekends. She’s blogs at the Chino House and she’s pretty much obsessed with Instagram.

Comforting Breakfast Rice from Gina K {National Rice Month}

When the days grow shorter and darker and colder, Gina K of Desperately Seeking Gina, turns to one of her favorite comfort foods she fondly remembers from her youth growing up in Michigan. Breakfast Rice was a staple Gina’s mother prepared every Saturday morning.

 [stextbox id=”custom” shadow=”false” bwidth=”1″ color=”050505″ ccolor=”050505″ bcolor=”050505″ bgcolor=”78F6FF” cbgcolor=”78F6FF” bgcolorto=”78F6FF” cbgcolorto=”78F6FF” image=”null”]On cold winter mornings, usually weekends, she would make a pot of plain white rice.  On the kitchen counter she would set out sugar, a tub of margarine, and a gallon of cold milk straight from the fridge and we were free to fix our own bowls of breakfast rice.  The older we got, the more exotic breakfast rice became. We experimented with additions of brown sugar, imitation vanilla, and sometimes a shake of cinnamon.  There was always a side of buttered toast for dunking[/stextbox]

 Breakfast rice_Desperately Seeking Gina

Many of us grew up eating rice for breakfast just like Gina did. Maybe there was butter and sugar. Or perhaps cream–the good kind straight from the top of the milk can. However we seasoned it or otherwise adorned it, it was a blessing of comfort that filled our tummies and started our days well.

Arkansas has historically been the largest rice produced in the United States. Rice production contributes more than $6 billion to the state’s economy and accounts for over 25,000 jobs. The five largest rice-producing counties in the state of Arkansas are Poinsett, Arkansas, Cross , Jackson (101,762 harvested, and Lawrence.

 [stextbox id=”custom” caption=”Fun Fact” shadow=”false” bwidth=”1″ color=”050505″ ccolor=”050505″ bcolor=”050505″ bgcolor=”82FBFF” cbgcolor=”82FBFF” bgcolorto=”82FBFF” cbgcolorto=”82FBFF”]Rice & The Environment Rice growing is eco-friendly and has a positive impact on the environment. Rice fields create a wetland habitat for many species of birds, mammals and reptiles. Without rice farming, wetland environments created by flooded rice fields would be vastly reduced[/stextbox]. Arkansas Rice Federation

So how much did Gina enjoy her mother’s special breakfast rice? For more, check out her post on Desperately Seeking Gina.


Rhonda Franz: Sensory Activities with Rice {National Rice Month}

Rice isn’t just for eating, you know.

Rice can be used for crafts and to keep salt from clumping and as the noisemaking element in a homemade rain stick.

As a wedding guest, I have thrown rice at brides and grooms running from their ceremony to their decorated getaway car. As a special education teacher, I used dry rice to help my students develop fine motor skills and as a tool for working on sensory issues.  As a mom, I’ve used dry rice at home with my children as they developed their imagination while working on measurement concepts, and used the rice as a calming when a child needed a few minutes of quiet.

Specific skills children can work on with tubs of textured materials:

  • For children who avoid certain textures, allowing play in dry rice provides a structured way for them to develop a tolerance to the littlest of surfaces that bother them when they walk or wear certain clothing.
  • For children who seek certain textures, allowing play in dry rice lets them get that sensory input.
  • Pinching rice between fingers and scooping up a batch with hands gives children hand eye coordination practice.

pinching rice between fingers sensory activities rhonda franz

  • Experimenting with measuring cups, spoons and funnels helps children develop their spatial and measurement skills.

dry rice and measuring (1)

I like putting magnet letters or numbers in a bowl of dry rice, and letting my youngest pull them out and practice identifying each one. All of my boys find it fun and a little calming to work the rice with their hands and let it spill through their stretched fingers (and it’s kind of calming for their mom, too).

magnet numbers in dry rice

Ideas for dry rice:

Empty 2 or 3 2-lb bags or Riceland rice in a bowl or tub small enough for rice to fill a third to one-half the container.

  • Toss in a couple of funnels, spoons, and a couple of measuring cups.
  • Hide large wooden beads in the rice and provide a string for children to lace each bead as they find it.
  • Squeeze liquid glue on a large print writing of their name. Have kids pinch the rice grains between their fingers and sprinkle it over the letters. Allow glue to dry and shake off the rest of the rice, revealing their name.

rhonda franz headshot


Rhonda Franz is an educator and mom of three boys. Her kids like a tub of dry rice almost much as they liking eating cooked rice. As a result of both these activities, her kitchen floors are rarely clean.

Swathi Iyer: Qubooli {National Rice Month}

rice harvest nat rice month

I think I always have at least one rice dish in a day, and without that I don’t feel like I have had a proper meal. I have felt like that many times while I am traveling. Yes, we people from South India consume rice more than other parts of India. We make dishes with rice for our breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The most flavorful way of cooking rice in India is to make Biriyani, a dish that originated in the royal kitchens of Mughal emperors. Usually rice and meats mainly lamb, chicken, fish etc. are cooked in gravy and then incorporated with separately cooked rice and arranged in layers just like lasagna sans any cheese but with spices. Hyderabadi Nizams have a few vegetarian versions of biriyani; one is called Tahiri (Tehri) Biryani which is made with vegetables, spices and rice. The second one is qubooli, a flavorful combination of lentil, rice and spices the preparation is most like biriyani.

According to the author of The Emperors Table: The Art of Mughal Cuisine,  Salma Husian, Aurangzeb, said to be the most devout of the emperors, was a vegetarian for most of his life. Based on the Rukat-e-Alamgiri, a book with letters from Aurangzeb to his son, there is anecdotal evidence  that the ruler loved qubooli, a type of mega-biryani with rice, split chick peas, dried apricot, basil, almond and curd.

Qubooli 1

My version of qubooli is different from the book as I didn’t use any almond, holy basil, or dried apricot. It is closer to modern day version.  I did use yogurt as in is traditional version.  If you want to make it vegan use cashew or any other vegan yogurt.  For this recipe you need to cook both split chickpeas and rice separately.

When you cook rice (Riceland Extra long grain rice)  you need to make it aromatic using whole spices like caraway, green cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves and herbs like cilantro and mint leaves. Then make gravy with cooked split chickpeas. Layer the rice and split chickpea gravy alternatively with fried onions, extra herbs and saffron and finally heat them through it once again. Traditionally, you need to seal the pot with dough and cook in low flame which is called “Dum,” an essential part of any biriyani.  You can cheat that process with either baking them in oven at 300°F for 10 minutes or even cooking them in a Dutch oven. I used a Dutch oven to finish off cooking qubooli. Make sure not to overcook the rice or split chickpeas or you will get risotto, not qubooli. Any perfect biriyani requires rice should be in separate grains.

Qubooli 5

Here comes the recipe, even though it requires some preparation, in the end it is worth all the effort. You can‘t get this yummy dish at any Indian restaurants, so give it a try.

Swathi Iyer: Qubooli {National Rice Month}


    For the Rice
  • 1 cup Riceland Extra Long Grain rice ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 clove
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • ½ of one bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
    For cooking split chick peas
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • ½ cup split chick peas/chanadal
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
    For frying onion
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • 1 ½ cup chopped onion finely
    For Gravy
  • 2 tablespoon oil (Use the one in which onion is fried)
  • 1 clove
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 green chili
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup red onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
  • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
    For assembly
  • Cooked drained rice with spices
  • Cooked split chick peas
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon saffron
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon onion fried oil


    Cooking rice

  1. Cook rice according to manufacturer’s instructions making sure to add the spices and herbs while rice is cooking.
  2. OR you just add water, spices, herbs and rice and cook until it is almost 3/4th done. Set aside
    Cooking split chick peas
  1. In another pot cook split chickpeas with turmeric and salt with 1 ½ cup water.
  2. Cook for about 30 minutes until it is cooked well and soft but not mushy.
  3. Drain and set aside.
    Frying onion
  1. Fry onion in peanut oil until it is golden brown in color; you need to use low flame as it burns when you fry in higher flame drain; set aside.
    Making gravy
  1. In a pan heat oil and then whole spices like green and black cardamom, cloves, caraway, cinnamon sticks and add chopped onion and green chili.
  2. Add ginger garlic paste and fry for another minutes.
  3. To this add garam masala, cayenne pepper then add yogurt and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Add cooked split chickpeas cook for another 2 minutes; switch off the flame and set aside.
  1. In a Dutch oven add a very thin layer of rice at the bottom. Add the gravy and spread it uniformly.
  2. Then add another layer of rice, top with ½ of lemon juice, half of fried onions, half of saffron milk, half of chopped mint leaves and chopped cilantro.
  3. Then add layer of gravy and finally finish with a layer of rice, rest of lemon juice, fried onion, saffron milk, mint and cilantro leaves.
  4. Finally add oil. 
Cook it over a low flame for ten minutes with a closed lid.
  5. When you are ready to serve scoop rice from the bottom, that way you get every layer. 



Swathi (Ambujom Saraswathy) was born in Trivandrum Keral, India  and  blogs at Zesty South Indian Kitchen. She loves to explore cuisines from all over the world.  She has a weakness for freshly baked bread and is still counting all the recipes she would like to try.  After earning her PhD in microbiology and working in Japan, Sweden and the U.S., Swathi is now a Texas stay-at-home mom to two wonderful young kids.  Her loving husband  is her primary taste-tester who gives an up or down vote for the dishes she makes. Please connect with Zesty South Indian Kitchen’s Social Media Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,Google Reader and Instagram.