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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How To Cook Rice Made Easy!

First ignore the directions on the box!
There are several different types of rice and should be cooked correctly:
  • Long Grain
  • Medium Grain
  • Short Grain
  • Brown Rice

Next time you are in the supermarket take time to check out all the different kinds of rice available.

Long Grain Rice - very common in the supermarket, as well as Basmati rice (aged extra-long rice from India), Texmati (domestic) and Thai Jasmine. It is slender, long, five times longer than it is wide. Long grain rice cooks light and fluffy with a firm texture. Wonderful for pilafs and salads. You cold cook it using the absorption method which is fine. But you should try a sauteed method to bring out the toasted almost nutty flavor.

Medium Grain Rice - Medium grain rice is fat with a dusty chalky grain, only three times longer than it is wide. It is great for risotto and paella it is tender and some what sticky.

Short Grain Rice - Opaque, round grains. It is the softest and stickiest rice when cooked. Used a lot in sushi. Best when steamed. The apsorption method can be used as long as you don't boil it so that it turns to mush.

Brown Rice - Light brown with maybe a little hint of green grains here and there. Known for it's fiber content. Long like the long grain rice. Takes twice as long to cook as white. Cooks much better in the oven than on stove top. Brown rice has a nutty chewy flavor.

Cooking the rice:

Absorption Cooking - Rice is simmered slowly in a measured amount of rice to water. For example 1 cup rice to 1 3/4 cup water. Bring to boil stir, cover and reduce heat to low or simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork. Cooking time for short grain rice 16 -18 minutes, wild rice 35 to 45 minutes.

Pilaf Cooking - Saute in hot oil or butter quickly before adding liquid to release the nutty flavor. Onions, garlic and spices are added before adding the rice. After the rice is added saute for about 3 minutes. Add the liquid and salt, increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and grains are tender. Let sit covered 10 minutes and fluff with fork. Cook time for long grain rice 18-20 minutes, short grain rice 16-18 minutes.

Oven Cooking - Great for brown rice. Heat oven to 375 degrees with rack in the middle of the oven. Bring liquid to boil on stove top. Add rice, liquid and salt to a baking dish, cover with foil cook until tender. About one hour.

Five steps to remember when cooking rice:

  1. Choose the right pot.
  2. Cook low, bring water to boil, cover, then reduce heat.
  3. DO NOT stir cause the rice to break apart.
  4. Keep a lid on it. Don't peek! You peek and you release the steam needed for moisture.
  5. Let it sit. Let it sit off the heat to complete the cooking process and allowing the rice to firm up.


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