I-ATE: let’s prepare a rice recipe!


Did you know that “roughly one-half of the world population, including virtually all of East and Southeast Asia,” completely depends “upon rice as a staple food“? And that 95 percent of all the rice crops in the world are consumed by humans? According to “the earliest archaeological evidence”, rice cultivation began in central and eastern China, around 7000–5000 BC (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2016). Since rice is an extremely important food and its cultivation is an ancient practice, “rice” was chosen as the I-ATE Food Term of this week.

I-ATE banner - Bag of Rice and Grains of Rice

There are many rice recipes throughout Europe and we decided to highlight some of them.

Arroz de Cabidela

Arroz de Cabidela / Cabidela Rice (Portugal)

Cabidela is a stew to which the blood of the animal being cooked is added. It is unknown when this became rooted in the Portuguese eating habits but this kind of stew is also made in other European countries. However, it is known that the Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula were already familiar with the recipe. The cabidela is deeply associated with the Minho region in Portugal and is made with chicken but also with piglet and, although not very often, duck. Olive oil and red wine are used to prepare the dish (Gomes, n.d.).


Paella (Spain)

The paella, one of the most well-recognised dishes from Spain, is a “saffron-flavoured rice cooked with meats, seafood, and vegetables” and is closely related with the region of Valencia. Its name comes from paellera, “a flat round pan with two handles” and “is traditionally eaten from the pan.” Paella is made with pieces of “chicken, pork or rabbit” and with “seafood, such as clams,” prawn, “mussels, crayfish and squid.” The meat and seafood are sautéed “in olive oil with onions, garlic, and herbs” and the dish is “garnished with peas, pimientos (peppers) and other vegetables.” Traditionally, the paella is prepared outside “over a wood fire” (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2009).

Risotto alla Milanese

Risotto alla Milanese / Milanese-style risotto (Italy)

Risotto alla Milanese is the symbol of Pianura Padana. The grains of rice are flavoured with saffron and this dish “can be considered a first course or a side dish” and is usually an “accompaniment to veal dishes,” such as the Milanese Ossobuco. The recipe is made with Superfino rice and includes ingredients such as beef bone marrow, meat broth, white wine, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, butter, onions, salt and pepper (Academia Barilla, n.d.). This delicacy was first known as riso giallo in padella, in 1809, but it was the Milanese chef Felice Luraschi that named it risotto alla Milanese giallo (Donati, 2016).


Youvarlakia (Greece)

Youvarlakia are “meat and rice balls in avgolemono” (egg-lemon) sauce (Elly Says Opa!, 2007) and it is this sauce, which is often used in Greek recipes, that “acts as a thickening agent, giving this soup a unique texture and flavour” (Giannopoulos, 2013). It is a simple, delicious and healthy dish to prepare. Depending on one’s preferences, youvarlakia can be made “more or less soup-like” (Elly Says Opa!, 2007). You can also add “some sprinkled parsley as garnish and some crusty bread” to fully enjoy avgolemono, the famous secret ingredient (Giannopoulos, 2013).

We hope you enjoyed these recipes. And you, what kind of rice recipes do you have in your country?

Have a nice weekend and let’s head to the kitchen!

Written by Pedro Ramos. Translator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg).


  • Academia Barilla (n.d.) “Milanese-style risotto”, Academia Barilla. Available at: http://bit.ly/2hr4Ubn (Accessed: 02 August 2017)
  • Donati, Silvia (2016) “The History of Risotto alla Milanese”, Italy Magazine. Available at: http://bit.ly/2woN6jA (Accessed: 3 August 2017)
  • Elly Says Opa! (2007) “Youvarlakia”, Elly Says Opa! Available at: http://bit.ly/2hraavq (Accessed: 2 August 2017)
  • Encyclopædia Britannica (2009) “paella”, Encyclopædia Britannica. Available at: http://bit.ly/2hraBG4 (Accessed: 2 August 2017)
  • Encyclopædia Britannica (2016) “rice”, Encyclopædia Britannica. Available at: http://bit.ly/2vvXj1h (Accessed: 3 August 2017)
  • Giannopoulos, Eli K. (2013) “Traditional Greek Meatball Soup (Giouvarlakia/ Youvarlakia) in Egg-lemon sauce recipe”, My Greek Dish. Available at: http://bit.ly/2w9Ja75 (Accessed: 3 August 2017)
  • Gomes, Virgílio (n.d.) “Cabidela e Pica no Chão”, Virgílio Nogueira Gomes. Available at: http://bit.ly/2u3rpox (Accessed: 2 August 2017)