It's spring, yet we can still have comforting dishes... wouldn't you agree? "Greek" Rice or Arroz à Grega is one of those dishes. It's easy, quick, and colorful. It looks so festive that it makes me smile!
It is made with rice -- of course-- as well as assorted vegetables that can vary from one recipe to the next, raisins, and sometimes cubed ham. Regardless of variations in its ingredients, it's a complete meal! Greek rice can be served as main dish or a side for chicken. Since I put ham in mine, I serve it all by itself.
Although given the name "GREEK," this rice dish is, in fact, BRAZILIAN. 🙂 I searched... and searched for the origin of its name, only to come away without any explanation. That's when I told myself that it was time to consult Panos and Mirella, from Little Cooking Tips, my favorite Greek food blog.
According to them, in Greece there is no such rice dish per se, although many folks there use raisins, vegetables, or ham/sausage mixed with rice as ingredients for stuffing tomatoes, bell peppers, or chicken/lamb. Most likely this name was given to the dish by Greeks living abroad using the rice stuffing recipe as a main or side dish. It is so good to find answers!!!!
But don't you worry! The most important thing of all is flavor... and boy, "Greek" rice sure delivers, in every single spoonful.
"Greek" Rice (Arroz à Grega)
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ medium white onion small diced
- ½ cup cubed carrots
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 cups parboiled rice uncooked
- 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth, for a vegetarian version)
- ¾ teaspoon salt or more if necessary. Amount will vary depending on how salty the broth is
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup cubed ham (for a vegetarian version, skip this ingredient)
- ½ cup corn cooked
- ½ cup peas cooked
- ¼ cup green onions chopped
- To prepare Greek rice, heat the oil over medium heat in large pan and sauté both the the onion and carrots, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened (don't let brown). Add the garlic and cook for about 30-60 seconds, stirring constantly to not let brown. Add the rice, sauteeing for about 2 minutes (do not let brown). Add the broth and let come to a boil. Add salt and pepper, and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover pan. Let rice cook for about 15 minutes or until al dente. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
- Fluff rice with a fork and mix in the raisins, ham, cooked corn and peas, and green onions. Serve Greek rice hot (sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese on top, if desired) by itself as a main dish or as a side for chicken.
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Jasline (Foodie Baker) says
I love how this is a one-pot rice dish! I'll definitely have it as a main, yum!
It looks wonderful! I'd die to give it a try! Thanks for sharing! love one-pot dishes!
Little Cooking Tips says
Wow Denise, what an honor! Thank you for mentioning us, we're glad we could provide some feedback on the subject. Indeed there are many rice dishes served here in Greece, in countless variations, but there isn't any dish called "Greek rice" or perhaps just "Rice" (since we live in Greece already). Like you mention in the article, perhaps the "Greek" in this dish's title is derived from Greeks living abroad:)
In any case, this dish looks delicious, filling and perfect for so many occasions! It's on of those hearty, homemade dishes that are so comforting!
Thank you for the wonderful recipe and the reference dear Denise, we really appreciate it!
Panos and Mirella
Denise Browning says
Thank you for providing explanation for the possible origin of its name. The pleasure of having you both and your blog mentioned here is all mine.
I hope you can try this recipe at home one day. Sending you our love and wishes for a wonderful week! xx
Denise.....this rice makes me smile, too! It is festive, but very comforting. I love rice in all forms. I also love the addition of raisins....giving a sweet chewy bite! Nice! : )
It been days and days of foggy, cool weather and comfort food is very enticing! The Greek rice would be fabulous with grilled chicken! a wonderful dinner idea!
Chris Scheuer says
No matter what the origin, this looks wonderful Denise. So many great ingredients!
Anna @ shenANNAgans says
So it's kinda like the Euro version of Fried Rice? And is it the main meal or is it traditionally served as a side?
It sure does sounds delish, loving the sweet and savory combo and the one pot cook, massive fan of that. 🙂
Denise Browning says
Although it's named Greek rice, this dish is actually Brazilian. It can be served as a main dish but in my home country we serve it as a side for chicken.
Wishing you a marvelous day! xx
I love rice dish and yes, I would love to have this rice as my main dish...I love colorful this it...
Have a great week 🙂
Mi Vida en un Dulce says
In Peru we have to eat all our main dishes with rice, that is a must, so I like to combine white rice and also with vegtables, like this one.
I always think it's cool to see different cultures integrate other-world cuisine in their food culture; I immediately think of cous cous in southern italy and mussles in holland<3 this looks great, Denise!
Sugar et al. says
I can't resist rice and this one is so delicious yet simple to make. I love the way it looks studded with healthy veggies, ham and raisins. Perfect balance of flavours too!
John/Kitchen Riffs says
It's so interesting how dishes get named! Love this one -- such terrific flavor. Really good recipe -- thanks so much.
This looks nice and easy, I love the raisins in this recipe, it will give a nice fruity sweet touch to a nice savory rice like that.
Dedy@Dentist Chef says
SImply damn delicious, gonna try this a.s.a.p
I'm always intrigued by different culture and cuisines. The one pot dish looks absolutely stunning, yummy looking dish.
Hmm a Greek rice that is not so Greek after all :). Loved the recipe and the variations are endless.
Shashi at RunninSrilankan says
This sounds delicious, Denise! Reminds me a lot of Biriyani that we have in Sri Lanka!
I am Brazilian....and in Brazil when something is complicated ...we call it "Greek" ....and if is stupid ..."Portuguese"....she is Greek ...or he is Greek ...the person doesn't need to be from Greece necessarily....is a expression for someone who makes anything easy into something dramatic and complicated....now ...rice just need hot water and a bit salty usually...the receipt above sounds as a hell of work to get all the ingredients and cook and even so I cant certainly guarantee that'swhy is called ARROZ A GREGA ....It may very well be .
Denise Browning says
Thank you for the explanation, Mauro! That might be why -- although I think this rice is quite easy to make. It is actually a variation of rice pilaf and because of it, uplevel compared to a simple white rice.
Wishing you an awesome week! Thank you for stopping by and for your comment.