Rice revelry 

September is National Rice Month in the U.S. Rice is not native to this country, so why not celebrate it with food from countries that do it the best?

By Jacob Threadgill with photo provided and Gazette / file

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Sheesh Mahal
4621 N. May Ave.
405-778-8469

The rice options are plentiful at Sheesh Mahal, and that even includes dessert. It offers basmati rice with every entrée, and the biryani is layered with chicken, herbs and spices. The green masala rice is cooked with a mixture of greens and is as flavorful as it is colorful. It also offers zarda, which is sweet basmati with nuts and raisins, and a pair of rice puddings.

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Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
7516 N. Western Ave.
tokyookc.com | 405-848-6733

Sushi is incomplete without rice; otherwise, you’re thinking of sashimi. Oklahoma City’s longest-open sushi restaurant certainly delivers with its rolls and nigiri. The sable nigiri get a brief singe from a blowtorch before arriving to your table. There are more rice options than sushi, like the ochazuke from Tokyo’s happy hour menu. It is a bed of rice with cooked salmon and eel finished with a light broth.

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Indian Dhaba
4600 NE 120th St. | 405-478-2151

This restaurant might be known for its buffet options, but it has plenty of variety if you want to order off the menu. You can choose from both vegetable and meat options, and to enjoy rice, it’s best to order biryani, where the basmati rice is the star. The dish is cooked with plenty of herbs and spices, and Dhaba offers vegetable, chicken and goat varieties. The goat (also called mutton) adds a depth of flavor not found from the standard chicken.

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Thai House
500 NW 23rd St.
facebook.com/thaihouseokc | 405-524-0503

You’ve got nine variations of rice options at Thai House, where the choices range from standard fried rice with a choice of protein to more interesting dishes. Add some sweetness with the pineapple fried rice or enjoy other options with the seafood variety featuring shrimp, scallops, squid and mussels. The kao pad kra pao is spicy basil fried rice; go with the pork, which is finished with bell peppers, basil leaves and spicy hot basil sauce.

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Cafe Saffron
770 Deans Row Ave., Norman facebook.com/cafe.saffron.shawerma.kabobs.persian
405-360-8050

This Norman staple serves approachable Persian favorites and has done so for almost two full decades. Entrees consist of kebabs, lamb shanks, ground beef skewers, chicken and vegetable options. The best way to soak up all those meat juices is the saffron rice, which is served with every entrée, along with salad and yoghurt sauce.

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Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse
7 S. Mickey Mantle Drive
mickeymantlesteakhouse.com | 405-272-0777

The care and love it takes to properly make risotto — adding stock to the rice as it cooks on the stove, a little bit a time — makes it one of the most luxurious dishes for a night on the town. Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse takes the dish to another level with the addition of lobster that appears with and on top of the rice. You can practically make a meal out of it, but it pairs great with either land or seafood.

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Lang’s Bakery
2524 N. Military Ave.
405-528-5141

Upon first mention, you might think about this local bakery as a one-stop shop for banh mi, but the menu goes much deeper than that. It’s got hu tieu bo kho—a pot roast-like soup that is a cousin to pho — and a few broken rice options. The com tam bi, thit tuong, cha combines both charbroiled and shredded pork over rice with a baked egg patty and fresh vegetables. The meal has everything you could want; just make sure you bring cash because Lang’s doesn’t take cards.

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