Rice, in all its varieties, is the cornerstone of recipes around the world, from South American arroz chaufa to African jollof rice, Indian rice pudding and so much more. It’s something that ties different cultures together that otherwise may not have much in common.

I love celebrating rice and other grains and one of the things I enjoy best about preparing classic meals from a variety of countries is that it gives you a window to learn a little bit more. From ingredient choices to the cooking process, the way cultures prepare their food says a lot about them.

Using some of my favorite recipes, I’ll guide you through a few of my international favorites using traditional ingredients with rice and other grains from my go-to quality brand RiceSelect®. Get your notebook ready and let’s get started.

Flavorful African Dishes

Known for dishes that include starches paired with meats, fish, spices and herbs, the vast continent of Africa offers wonderful meal options.

North Africa

Starting in North Africa with the Maghreb, or the region of Northwest Africa including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania, Couscous is a staple in almost every home. Whether it is steamed inside a tagine or served under a bed of meat and vegetables, couscous is key to North African cuisine.

One key spice found in this region is ras el hanout which combines the aromas and tastes of nearly a dozen different items. I love these three recipes that use couscous or a lovely blend of spices.

Chicken, Cracked Olive and Couscous Tagine Recipe

Create your own flavorful Moroccan-inspired tagine using marinated chicken, seasonings, cracked olives and RiceSelect® Pearl Couscous.

Moroccan Spiced Roast Chicken with Pearl Couscous & Chickpea Stew Recipe

Perfect for entertaining or Sunday dinners, this Moroccan-inspired feast with will make your taste buds sing with delight.

Roasted Seven Vegetable Couscous Recipe

This fresh take on a classic Moroccan vegetable dish is roasted instead of stewed for loads of rich and yummy flavor. Serve over a bed of light and fluffy RiceSelect®...

When I’m looking to switch things up, I love to cook Pearl Couscous in my meals. Learn about differences between these two varieties in this guide to couscous.

West Africa

Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana and other West African countries offer a rich cuisine which features starchy ingredients with a kick of heat.

While its origin may be cause for a debate, there is no doubt that this Jollof Rice with Fried Plantains is a West African classic dish.

Another unlikely but classic ingredient in certain African dishes is the presence of peanut butter. Try this Senegalese Peanut Soup and taste for yourself the delicious touch it adds.

Middle Eastern Meals

Moving northeast, Middle Eastern meals often contain olives, nuts, fruits, seeds, beans and delicious blends of spices.

These two classics include some of my favorite ingredients:

Shawarma: Chicken Shawarma with Turmeric Couscous

Persian Rice: Jeweled Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts

Mediterranean

Steeped in both tradition and culture, Mediterranean cuisine always seems to brighten my spirits with its delicious and refreshing ingredients.

Greek

When I want to dip into Greek cuisine, I always love to use orzo pasta in tasty recipes like a Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup.

Spanish

This tasty authentic Spanish-inspired paella recipe made with RiceSelect® Arborio Rice is a simple all-star seafood dish the entire family can enjoy!

Italian

Famed for its many different dishes, there is not doubt that risotto is a star within Italian cuisine. And, if you’d like to improve your skills, take a look at these guides.

Irresistible Asian Cuisine

Known for its diverse richness of fresh ingredients, fermented foods, sauces and more, cuisines throughout Asia have something incredible to share.

Learn how to prepare all kinds of dishes from throughout Asia in these guides.

Asian Cuisine Foodie Style
Guide to Becoming a Sushi Rice Connoisseur
How To Make Gourmet Fried Rice

Caribbean Cuisine

Caribbean cuisine is a true fusion of global cultures and cooking methods that have found their way together throughout history to form delicious and crave-worthy meals. Uniquely vibrant, these Island dishes boast a bold blend of citrus and spice along with sweet and savory to create a feast for the senses.

Two of my favorites include:

Coconut Quinoa Jerk Chicken Bowl Recipe

Instant Pot Caribbean Rice and Beans with Grilled Jerk Eggplant

Latin America

Moving south down Latin America, there is much to be explored all the way from Puerto Rico and Mexico down to Argentina.

Starting in Mexico, I love enjoying a tall glass of this delicious and chilled Horchata rice drink made with RiceSelect® Texmati® White Rice – it’s a perfect beverage with any meal!

Moving farther south, the Peruvian recipe repertoire is vast and robust as it includes all kinds of foods that are as diverse as its landscape. With many humble ingredients such as rice, potatoes and beans at its core, the dishes rely on resources found in nature. Start with this Ceviche recipe using a Royal Blend of Rice.

Finally, in Argentina, I love to prepare homemade chimichurri to accompany a choice cut of meat.

Find more global recipes like these using my favorite RiceSelect varieties here and be sure to follow @Riceselect on social media for the latest kitchen tips for home chefs.