Step One: Proper storage
Proper storage has every bit to do with a great product. Rice should always be stored in a cool and dry pantry. Make sure the bag is completely sealed and use within a year of purchasing.
Step Two: Cleaning and soaking
Washing rice has become a thing of the ancient past. Rice these days is washed thoroughly before packaging, so only a quick rinse is necessary to remove excess starch and debris. Long grain rice benefits from an hour soak as it will become less brittle and likely to break during the cooking process.
Step Three: The Three Amigos a.k.a. Cooking Methods
Some rices are best cooked in large amounts of water and covered with a lid, others are best steamed, and some required a combo of the two. Here’s the low down:
Absorption Method – This is the most common method of cooking rice and is usually reserved for Basmati, Jasmine and other long grain rices. Directions include:
Place rice in cold water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to very low. When water has completely absorbed, about 15 – 25 minutes, turn off heat and let sit covered for 10 minutes.
Fluff rice with a fork and serve. The rice is cooked by the hot water and once the water is absorbed, the rice is cooked by the steam.
Boiling Method – This method is similar to the way pasta is cooked: in lots of water. Risotto made with Arborio rice is a great example of this. Directions include:
Bring to a boil at least 6 cups of water or vegetable stock.
If making Risotto, saute onions in a large pot. Add the rice.
Add enough of your boiling liquid to cover the rice. Let the liquid absorb, then add more to cover.
Repeat this process until you’ve reached the desired tenderness of your rice. This method involves a lot of liquid because there is no lid to cover the pot. The steam is evaporated, only the boiling liquid (like pasta) is used.
Steaming Method – This method is generally reserved for sticky rice, like in Sticky Rice with Mango. Rice is soaked for at least two hours, then placed in a bamboo steamer atop a pot of boiling water and cooked using only the steam. The rice never touches the pan and therefore produces a soft, moist product, perfect for a yummy dessert!
The last method is just to use a rice cooker, makes everything simple.
With just a few basic tips for cooking rice, you can be on your way to preparing a delicious delicacy which has been cooked (properly) and enjoyed for thousands of years. Why not tap into such an amazing ancient tradition?