Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Cooking techniques: Rice -- boiled or steamed.

There are two basic ways to prepare rice: steamed and boiled. Each has their own advantages. The boiled rice method is nice because what you chose for the cooking liquid changes the taste of the rice. The steamed rice method made for a very light and fluffy rice.  It is also the best method to use for unprocessed white rice  (not Uncle Ben’s). 

Generally speaking, ¼ cup of raw rice (3/4 cups of cooked rice) is considered a normal serving. One cup of raw rice will cook up to 3 cups of cooked rice, which brings us to the 

1-2-3 Rice Cooking Rule for Boiled Rice.
1 cup of uncooked long grain white rice plus
2 cups of liquid (water, stock, broth, apple, orange or tomato juice) will equal
3 cups of cooked rice.
½ teaspoon of salt (optional) 

Bring the 2 cups of liquid to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan with a tight fitting lid
  1.  Stir in 1 cup of rice.
  2. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer (just barely boiling)
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes (no peeking!!)
  4.  Remove the pan from the heat and let it steam for 2-3 minutes with the lid on (still no peeking!!!)
  5. You now have 3 cups of rice, take the lid off and fluff the grains with a fork. If there is still a bit of liquid, put the cover back on and let it sit for 2-3 more minutes.

Brown rice: This needs to cook longer so you will let it cook for 50 minutes (no peeking or taking the lid off to stir). Let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes before fluffing the grains with a fork. 

Steamed Rice method: 

This is the best method to use for plain, regular long-grained rice. It also lends itself well to quantity cooking. 

You will need:
A flat bottomed sauce pan with a tight fitting lit
Mesh strainer. 

  1.   The first step is to wash the starch from the rice. Place your rice in the pot and gently run cold tap water over it. Use your fingers to swish the rice around. When the water becomes a murky white, gentle pour off the water (without letting the rice go down the sink!). The white is the starch that makes our rice dishes sticky. Fill the pot up again and repeat washing until the water is almost clear. You will go through the process at least 4-5 times
  2. The next step is to soak the rice. Fill the pot up again with cold water and let the rice and water sit for 20-30 minutes. This softens the rice grain and helps loosen any remaining starch that makes the rice sticky.
  3.  Drain off the water and refill the pot on last time. You don’t have to worry about quantity of water – we just want lots of it because we are going to boil the rice.
  4.  Bring the rice and water to a boil, without covering the pot. It will cook for approximately 8-9 minutes. You can check the doneness of it by biting into a grain of rice. If there is a little firmness just at the centre of the grain, it is done.
  5.  Using the mesh strainer, completely drain the rice. Allow as much of the water as possible to drain off.
  6.   Return the rice to the pot, add ½ cup of water and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Heat the pot until the water you added turns to steam. Reduce the heat and let the rice steam for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and let sit for a few minutes. Uncover and fluff the grains with a fork or chopstick. 

For Quantity cooking: This is a great method for keeping rice handy in the fridge for 3-4 days. Boil up (steps 1-5) enough rice for several meals and transfer to an airtight container for the fridge. Reheating the rice is step 6 – “Instant” rice that still has its nutrition and taste in it. It’s a great timesaver for busy cooks.                

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