Basics: Rice

It’s good to know how to cook rice. It’s delicious, filling, versatile and very affordable. Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  • Don’t use a pan that’s too big (will dry the rice out) or too small (will get mushy and boil over).
  • Don’t use salt unless the food you’re serving the rice with is on the bland side. In which case just add a pinch.
  • For white rice, the correct ratio is 1 part rice to 2 parts water. For example, 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. (For just me and my husband who, together, eat a normal amount of dinner for two people, I’ve found that 3/4 c. rice and 1 1/2 c. water is just right.) For brown rice, you want to use a little more water because you have to cook it for a lot longer. 
  • To cook:
    1. Put your water and rice in your pot. (For the amount of rice/water I mentioned before for 2 people a 1 1/2 quart sauce pan is just right.) 
    2. Turn to high and bring to a nice rolling boil. 
    3. Reduce heat to low and let it chill out for awhile so it’s still bubbling but not crazy-like before putting the lid on (so it doesn’t immediately boil over), like 2 minutes. 
    4. Put on the lid. Set a timer for 15 minutes (for white rice, I’d say 30-40 for brown depending on how much you’re cooking). DO NOT TOUCH THE LID. 
    5. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and move the pot to a cool burner or off the stove. DO NOT TOUCH THE LID. Did you know that the bubbles you left in it earlier will sort of ventilate the rice as it steams so the grains don’t get mushy? 
    6. Once you’ve let the rice rest off the heat for however long you need before you’re ready to serve it, remove the lid and serve. 
  • Have you ever tried furikake? It’s a Japanese seasoning mix that will knock your socks off (unless you’ve got a problem with seaweed). My favorite is just sesame seeds, seaweed, salt and sugar. In Seattle you can find it at pretty much any grocery store. I’ve been dreaming of making the pilgrimage to Uwajimaya to get another jar for myself. I may have eaten rice and furikake for lunch and dinner on quite a few occasions in the lean years right after college. Ah, memories. 
What are your tricks for cooking rice?

UPDATE 5/22/12: Just found this instructional video for freezing brown rice!

And if you don’t have a microwave (I don’t) you can just put the rice in a sauce pan with a little water and heat it up (stirring very frequently) over medium heat. 

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