I must have touched on the art and science of cooking Rice at some time in the past few years in this space. But I couldn’t find the reference when I searched it a few minutes ago. So I decided to put all the Rice wisdom I may have imparted over the years in a single, comprehensive post…
Go with the grain…
The main difference between Short Grain and Long Grain Rice is the consistence when cooked. Short Grain Rice is great for Asian Sticky Rice and Sushi Rice. It’s also the star of dishes such as Risotto, Pilaf and Paella. It cooks up sticky, even creamy if you add enough liquid and stir gently long enough. Long Grain Rice cooks up plump and fluffy, with grains that remain separate easily when you fluff it. Long Grain Rice is used for Fried Rice dishes, as an addition to Soups and in any application where you want a beautiful, fluffy bed of Rice on your plate.
Folks always tell me they don’t use Rice too much because it always sticks or comes out soggy, or comes out too tough. Well… I’ve used this fool-proof method for cooking both Long Grain Rice and Sticky Rice for years. Recently. I’ve seen it revived on the TV cooking shows by hosts who make a lot of Asian and Italian food.
Using a measuring cup, measure out 250 ml / 1 cup of dry Rice and set aside in a dry bowl. Next, measure out 500 ml / 2 cups of liquid plus 30 ml / 1/4 cup extra. You’ll lose the extra in bringing the water to the boil and having an accurate amount of water at the boil in the saucepan when you add the Dry Rice is important for this technique to work perfectly. Add the Rice, give it a stir and cover. Turn off the heat and let the pan sit, covered and untouched, for at least 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, lift the lid and fluff the Rice with a fork. If there is still a little water in the bottom of the pan, cover again and leave for another 5 minutes or so. Fluff again and serve.
Sticky Rice won’t be fluffy, per se, but you’ll know when it’s done right. If you like your rice sticker than this method produces, just start with more water.
When making Pilaf, Risotto or Paella, you’re into a process that combines cooking the Rice with other ingredients and each dish has its own particular wrinkles in the process. I really ought to do a dedicated post on each one… But that’s for another day!
You can use a wide variety of cooking liquids to flavour and colour your Rice. Meat, Veggie and Seafood Stocks are ideal for Long Grain Rice. Fruit Juices are good, too. Dry White Wine can be used in combination with other liquids, but it’s not really a good choice on its own. Stay away from Red Wine altogether. Just trust me on that.
You can also add seasonings and flavourings to your cooking liquids and they will be absorbed into the very heart of each Rice grain! Saffron is an amazing compliment to Rice. Chili Oil, Sesame Oil and other flavours are all within bounds. Experiment and have fun!
Garnishes and additions…
You can also add garnishes to your rice creations. Chopped Green Onions, Slivered Almonds, Toasted Cashews or Peanuts, and Toasted Sesame Seeds are among my favourites. Some Asian recipes call for adding chopped Fresh or Dried Chilies, Raisins and other goodies.
Get back in touch with Rice and enjoy it in a wide range of applications!
~ Maggie J.