When I first started cooking rice, I didn’t get it quite right. It was too sticky or too hard. I would have to add more water while it was cooking. So I ate a lot of potatoes, they were easier to cook. But I enjoy eating rice, so I needed to conquer my fear about cooking rice, and learn how to do cook it properly.
Cooking rice depends on several factors; equipment, the kind of rice used, and altitude. Make sure you have a 4 quart sturdy pot with a tight fitting lid. What kind of stove top will the rice be cooked on? Induction, gas, or electric.
For plain generic white rice the ratio is 2:1. 2 cups water to 1 cup rice. If you are making more, keep that ratio. I always rinse my rice to remove any foreign debris. White rice doesn’t need to be soaked. Bring salted water to a boil, drop in the rice, bring to a simmer, put on the lid, and let it go for 30 minutes.
Brown rice is a bit harder to judge. Is is short grain or long grain. The consensus seems to be a 3:1 ratio. 3 cups of water to 1 cup of rice. Soaking brown rice for about 20 hours prior to cooking helps germinate the seed, adding more nutrients to the finished dish.
There are different kinds of ways to cook rice, and ways to flavor rice. The Biryanis of India are famous for their flavor and addition of meat. Rice pilafs usually combine two different kinds of grains. Rice and lentils are the most common. But you can put together rice and chick peas, rice and millet, rice and, well whatever you can think of that will go good with rice.
Rice and fruit play well together too. Rice pudding with raisins and cinnamon is a common treat in England, brought over from India and other Asian countries. There’s much more rice knowledge from Thailand, Vietnam, regional areas of China, and Japan. (although Japan is a late-comer to rice, around the 1st century a.d.)
There are Rice Gods, and stories about the creation of rice. I’m not sure I’ve even heard of a potato God. Rice feeds at least 2/3 of the world’s population today.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring variations of Rice. The kinds of rice to cook, the types of food you can add to rice, and seasonings that go well with rice. By the end of it, rice will become a companion, and a comfort food.