How to Prepare Rice
Rice, like many starches, is an enjoyable food because it is versatile. It is commonly eaten with many different spices and used in literally thousands of recipes. Before adding it to your menu or including it in a dish it is important to learn how to properly prepare rice.
Before choosing a preparation method consider the best method for the dish. The different ways of cooking rice create a significant difference in the outcome. A good cook will experiment and become knowledgeable in the various methods.
As rice cooks it expands by absorbing water. To do this, boil water, and add a touch of salt. When the rice is tender, stop boiling and pour out the water. When the water is gone, cover the pot so that the rice can steam cook until it is ready.
If the correct amount of water is used, there will be no water to pour off. (Ed. - I have found through experimentation that 4 cups of boiling water with 1 3/4 cups rice makes the best rice without having to pour off any water. The instructions say not to remove the lid during cooking, but I frequently stir rice during the steaming process, when I see that there is no water left I turn off the heat and allow the rice to set while other dishes finish cooking.) Simply bring water to a boil, turn down to simmer, add rice, a bit of butter or oil, put lid on pan, and steam for about 20 - 30 minutes.
Steam cookers make this process even easier. Add water to the steam cooker. The rice is poured into a special compartment. The rest is automated, and may even "ding" to signal that the rice is ready. This is a quick a simple way to cook rice!
Another way to prepare rice is to saute it. This is great for certain recipes and is usually done in a mixture containing many different ingredients. Fried rice is a favorite, but not quite as healthy as when other methods are used. But even rices cooked in this manner require the addition of water after the rice has been fried in butter or oil.
Some more helpful hints when preparing rice:
- A typical serving of rice is about 1/3 cup.
- Rinse rice before cooking it to remove any dust.
- A sauteed rice is generally less soggy than a steamed rice.
- Cook rice in a ratio of 2 1/8 parts water to one part rice.
- Steam rice at a very low setting
Though the process is fairly simple, things can occasionally go wrong with rice preparation. If there is water left, it may be cooked off by turning up the heat and removing the lid, or by simply pouring it off.
It the rice is a bit crunchy adding a bit of water and cooking longer should solve the problem. Over-cooked rice will turn starchy and mushy. It is best to use the rice for dessert recipes like rice pudding. It is pretty much impossible at this point to bring it back to its preferred consistency.
Ultimately, rice has many advantages at the table. It is fairly simple to prepare. It complements other dishes, and can be a filling ingredient in many recipes. By its nature it lends itself to experimentation in the kitchen.
Next Page: Cooking with Rice