Thursday, March 25, 2010

Perfect rice

It took me a long time to master the art of cooking rice. Years ago I would buy small bags of rice at the grocery store, fret over the measurements, try to figure out how to cook the right amount or to cook the amount left in the bag, and then find myself confronted by a soggy, gelatinous mess. Then I moved to the Philippines, where rice is a breakfast, lunch, dinner kind of thing. After attempting a few times to make the rice for our household meals, I was tenderly taken aside and asked not to keep trying. Lucky for me, we soon hired a local woman to help with the household chores (washing the clothes in the river also was not my strong suit). Baby, as she was called, taught me the trick to cooking rice, each individual grain perfectly fluffy every single time. Now I will share the trick with you. It is so simple and will make your life so much easier that you will thank me for it any time you want to quickly throw on a pot of rice but don't want to sweat over getting the measurements right.

Here's what you will need: rice, any sized pot with a snug fitting lid, and water.

First, pour whatever amount of rice into the pot that you estimate will suit your needs. Remember, 1 cup uncooked rice = about 3 cups cooked.

Then, rinse your rice (what? you don't do this? if you saw where that rice was before it was poured into that sack you would probably change your mind, but until then: just trust me. Rinse!).  Next, shake the pot so that the rice is level on the bottom. Now, locate your middle finger. Actually, locate the line of the first knuckle of your middle finger on the palm side of your hand. Got it? Rest your finger tip gently on top of the rice and add water until it reaches that line on your finger. See? Not a measuring cup in sight!

With water and rice in the pot you are ready to cook. Place your pot on the stove, uncovered, and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling immediately cover the pot and lower the heat to the lowest flame. After 20-25 minutes turn the heat off and let it steam for a few more minutes.

Don't worry so much about over-cooking your rice. A few minutes extra and you might get lucky and end up with the crust at the bottom that is highly prized among rice eaters for it's wonderful nutty taste!

I almost exclusively cook with Jasmine rice but this method can be used with any variety of white rice.

1 comment:

  1. I am hopeless inept at cooking rice ... I'm definitely going to give this a try! Thanks, Christine!