The only requisite ingredient for your own version is a bowl of any shape or color of hot rice.
Serve one thing that's warm: Each bowl can get a newly fried egg on it, or hot stir-fried spinach or scallions, or vegetable leftovers, like sautéed kale or roasted squash. If it's a leftover vegetable, chop it, warm it in a pan with a bit of broth or water, then mix it with a drizzle of vinegar and a handful of toasted sesame seeds, or peanuts, and top the rice with it or serve it in a bowl alongside.
Serve a little bowl of something cool and raw: thinly sliced radishes, chopped cucumbers drizzled with vinegar, thick slices of avocado, chunks of tomato, fresh herbs.
Serve one vibrant, intense-flavored thing: spicy pickled chiles, a homemade salsa of scallions, herbs, and vinegar, Korean kimchee, Indian pickled mango.
I like a little can of sardines, too. If you don't, try leftover beef, chicken, or pork, cut into cubes and panfried.
Or softly scramble eggs and add a handful of roughly chopped ripe tomato, salt, and a handful of fresh cilantro at the very end, and serve it on hot rice. I existed on solely this and sautéed eggplant for a month in China. The first I ate because it is humble but exquisite. The second is because eggplant is one of the few words I can pronounce perfectly in tonal Mandarin.
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For a truly pacifying rice dish, make rice and lettuce soup. I first made this soup after looking at a head of lettuce and wondering why I'd never seen lettuce risotto on a menu. I didn't get the answer, because I then began wondering why no one ever boiled risotto rice. I'm sure lettuce risotto is on a menu, and it's just a menu I haven't seen. And people surely do boil risotto rice, and ought to, because it turns out wonderfully.
I passed this recipe along to a friend who reported that it was "butter's highest and best use, because the lettuce becomes an expression of butter ... sweet, crunchy, innocent butter."
Rice and Lettuce Soup
1 1/2 onions, medium diced
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Arborio rice
8 1/2 cups chicken stock or combination chicken stock and water
1 very big head lettuce, such as romaine
Cook the onions in butter in a medium-sized pot, salting them once you have added them to the pot. When they're softened, add the parsley. Add the rice and liquid. Let it cook about half an hour until the rice is completely cooked through, and then for another 20 minutes until it's jagged around the edges. Turn off the heat. Taste for salt. Cut the lettuce in thin ribbons. When you're ready to eat, warm the soup up, add the lettuce to the soup, and mix it through.
Serve each bowl with rice mounded in the middle and more liquid poured over. Drizzle with good olive oil and crack fresh white pepper over it, or black if you don't have white.
The best example of the rice principle is also the one we think is the fanciest. Risotto needs clarifying. The plainest risotto calls for rice, onion, white wine, butter, broth, and Parmesan cheese. If you have those ingredients, which you probably do, you have a perfect version of that famous dish.