Saturday, February 5, 2011

My Secret Cooking Tip

Every now and then, in places too numerous to cite, I read or hear people stating that rice is hard to cook. This baffles me.

Rice is one of the easiest things in the world to cook.

Here's how:

Take some dry rice, keeping in mind that it will approximately double in bulk once cooked. (Usually it doesn't quite double, so err on the side of more if you really need a certain amount of cooked rice for a recipe.)

For example, let us say that you want to end up with a couple of cups of cooked rice, so you take one cup of dry rice.

Put the dry rice in a pot big enough to contain it plus twice that much water.

Add twice as much water to the pot as you added rice. In this example, since you are using one cup of rice, add two cups of water.

Put it on the stove. You can put a lid on it if you have one, or not. Whatever.

Turn on the stove. Use a high setting.

Keep an eye on the pot, and when the water is boiling, turn the heat way down, until it is just simmering. You want smallish, quiet bubbles, not the roiling bubbles of a full boil, but it should be actively cooking, not just sitting there.

Cover the pot, if you have a lid for it, but leave a crack for steam to escape.

Go away.

Check it occasionally by lifting the lid and poking at the rice with a fork. Eventually, when all of the water is gone and the rice is soft and cooked enough to eat, turn off the heat.

Eat the rice.

You really can't go wrong here, unless you leave it on the heat for too long and it burns. You do have to keep an eye on it, but other than that it doesn't call for any complex procedures on your part.

If you find that the rice isn't quite as done as you'd like, but the water is all gone, you can add a little more water, or you can add a little more water anyway and let it cook longer, if you like it sticky. You can add a little salt to the cooking water, if you want, or use broth instead of plain water.

Mess around with it if you like. You don't have to. It works out pretty much fine regardless.

So the basics are, put rice and twice as much water in a pot and simmer until the rice is cooked.

It is super-simple. I mean, I know you can do other things with rice, but for a basic cooked grain product, I don't understand what people are trying to make that causes it to be considered complicated.

Now go forth and make some rice, and then put things in it and create side dishes or whatever. You'll want to do something with it, since plain rice is pretty boring.


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