Rice is a major staple food in most Nigerian households. It is so popular that it has its place beyond our daily diet, appearing on the menus at most restaurant and during special occasions, festivities, etc. It ranks among the most consumed staple foods all over the country, alongside cassava, beans, yams, potatoes and cocoyam.

Nigerians consume rice in different popular forms such as white rice, shrimp fried rice, coconut rice, jollof rice, fried rice and ‘tuwon shinkafa’ in Northern Nigeria. There are several mouth-watering rice recipes, like the global sensation ‘Nigerian Party Jollof’. However, rice can get boring if eaten so frequently.

Today I am going to show you how to use your rice, including leftover, to make something tasty and interesting. They are all fun to try, I promise

1. RICE BALLS

I found this recipe online while surfing the web and decided to try it out my own way. You need three phase to get the rice balls right: the breading, the filling and the frying. During breading, you prepare a regular flour mix (like is done for donuts) and knead it into smooth, flat dough. Prepare the filling: a combination of boiled rice, olive oil and cheese. Fill dough slices with the rice mixture and mould into a ball. Next, deep or shallow fry the balls in vegetable oil until they turn golden brown. Take it out, set aside to cool for a bit. You are ready to enjoy your tasty balls with a dipping sauce. I recommend the corned beef kind.

2. RICE-BEAN CAKE

Yay! I made rice and beans into ‘akara’! I discovered this by mixing a bit of mashed rice with bean paste and then frying it in hot vegetable oil. The result is very alien, yet so tasty. I had to use a deep fryer so it does not break apart in the oil. You can add ingredients like fish, prawns, onions and fresh pepper. It is very easy to make. It is an interesting way to use your leftover rice.

3. RICE BREAKFAST CEREAL

Do you have left over rice you need a quick breakfast? Try this: scoop the rice in a bowl, add milk, peanuts and banana slices. Mix it up and voila! You have a simple breakfast cereal that can take the place of corn flakes from time to time! Play around with new additions like cream, coconuts, date palms and cashew nuts. It’s your adventure!

4. RICE WATER COCKTAIL

With just a cup of rice, you can make a cool, refreshing drink to enjoy by the pool or dazzle your visiting friends. Parboil half a cup of rice, wash it and boil again with twice the amount of water. Leave to boil so the excess water whitens. Then, filter out, pour gin into a whiskey glass, and add a few shaves of ice and the rice water last. Shake the glass to mix and cool. Take a sip and enjoy the relaxing delight.

5. RICE SMOOTHIES

Can you imagine making a smoothie with rice? It might be a surprise but it actually works! The best part of it is you can blend it with any fruit or additives you want. I recommend a combo of cooked rice, watermelon, chocolate powder and filled milk. Be sure to blend the rice first for smoothness, but expect a bit of chunkiness.

After you try these five recipes, rice will not seem boring to you ever again. Several recipes out there can open the window to many exciting kitchen discoveries and experiences for you. So keep experimenting for more amazing results.

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Alaric Bane is a writer, web-content creator, Natural Science teacher and self-taught cook. He writes scripts, product descriptions, synopses, outlines and articles for a living. Bane is also an amateur actor and sketch artist.