Rice pudding
Nick Koon/Orange County Register/MCT

Having grown up in a part of the South where potatoes are a big part of our meals, I sometimes forget that there are regions where rice is just as important as the “spud.”

I like both and, over the years, I have tried to find interesting rice recipes to add to my “favorites” file.

About 25 years ago, someone introduced my palate to an unusual rice salad. I must admit that it took a while for me to say, “I think I will make the curried rice salad again.” This is one of those “like it” or “don’t like it” side dishes, but it is definitely worth a try.

While searching my files for other rice specialties, I found a variation of a recipe I have made for years. Rice Primavera is great with any meat, especially chicken or pork.

When my granddaughter Meagan learned that I was writing about rice, she asked if I was including rice pudding, which is one of her favorites. This says a lot for this old-fashioned comfort food, because Meagan doesn’t like desserts. I noticed that The Pioneer Woman likes to sweeten her rice pudding with sweetened condensed milk instead of syrup. I have always liked sweetened condensed milk, so I think I would like to taste this one. Just sample it as you add the sweetened condensed milk so it won’t be too sweet.

Whether you want a salad, side dish or dessert, you can’t go wrong with rice.


  • 4 cups cooked white rice
  • ½ cup diced green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped radishes
  • ½ cup sweet pickle relish
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground curry
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Salt

In large bowl, combine rice, bell pepper, green onions, celery, radishes and pickle relish. Mix well. In small bowl, combine mayonnaise and spices. Stir to blend flavors. Add mayo mixture to rice mixture and mix well. Chill for several hours.


  • 2 (6.25 ounces each) packages long grain and wild rice mix
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 (16 ounce) can peas and carrots, drained
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • ½ cup chopped onions

Cook the rice according to directions on package, substituting chicken broth for water. Stir in flavor packet from rice mix. No additional salt is needed. When rice is done, stir in peas, carrots, celery and onions. Toss to mix. Makes 8 generous servings.


  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup short grain rice
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring milk to a boil in a large covered saucepan. Add rice. Stir and lower the heat. Simmer uncovered until rice is tender, about 25 minutes. If rice starts to dry out, add a little more milk. Add syrup and spices. Cook uncovered about 15 minutes longer. Place raisins in small bowl and cover with hot water (or a fruit juice, if desired). When plumped, add to rice and stir well. Cool about 30 minutes and stir in vanilla extract.

Award-winning chef Prudence Hilburn’s cooking column appears every other week. Contact her at prudencehilburn@aol.com.