Everything You Need For A Simple Rice Seasoning Is Already In Your Pantry

Rice is a simple, comforting carb that's an easy foundation for a flavorful protein, stew, or sauce. It is the most pervasive global staple, encompassing numerous varieties, each with a different taste and texture. Typically, we'll season rice with a bit of salt and rely on more elaborate main dishes to supply the lion's share of interest for our meals. However, you can infuse a powerful burst of flavor into the rice itself with two additional household staples.

A mixture of salt, sugar, and rice vinegar adds a unique taste to rice without affecting its texture. This dynamic trio is as much a staple as rice is in Japan: Salt, sugar, and rice vinegar are the key ingredients in sushi rice. Rice vinegar has a more delicate profile than white or balsamic, with a well-balanced, sweet, and tangy palate. The sugar complements the vinegar's acidity and provides a sweet finish, while the dash of salt balances the sweet and sour combination of the seasoning and enhances the subtle nuttiness of rice.

This simple seasoning consists of cheap, household ingredients and works with all types of rice, from basmati to wild grain. It packs rice with a powerful tasty punch, effortlessly, without employing any tricky techniques or multiple ingredients.

How to add vinegar, sugar, and salt to rice

Various methods exist to add interest to rice: Making pilaf requires you to fry aromatics and spice mixtures in oil before adding the grain, and risottos involve rich cooking liquids and constant stirring. You can skip daunting and demanding techniques with this simple vinegar, sugar, and salt seasoning that you stir into a pot of regular old steamed rice.

You don't even have to dirty a mixing bowl. Simply pour each seasoning ingredient directly into cooked rice and stir to combine. You can adjust the amounts to taste, of course, but a simple guide is about ¼ cup rice vinegar per cup of cooked rice, then 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Once the ingredients are stirred in, place a lid over the rice for a few minutes. The steam dissolves the sugar and salt, while the vinegar transforms into a savory vapor for the rice to absorb.

You can draw inspiration from sushi rice for appealing pairings and meal ideas. The most obvious match would be raw fish dishes like sashimi, poke, or ceviche. A super simple dish where rice is the focal point would be a sprinkle of sesame seeds, crumbled nori, sliced avocado, sriracha, and a fried egg. Alternatively, serve your brightly seasoned rice as usual with a rich, savory stew or curry — you'll still upgrade the meal as a whole with a more nuanced depth of flavor.