How to cook White Rice the right way
Cooking White Rice can be an adventure, a fail or a success. If many chefs and cooks would learn to cook rice the right way, fluffy and a bit grainy, the world would be a better place for many people including myself. Cooked rice should not be floating in its liquid unless the dish is meant to be this way. A rice dish is not a soup dish.
Over the years I have mastered and also failed many rice dishes mainly because of other ingredients added. I have found a brand that I enjoy very much and mostly use and also figured out the proper liquid ratios to add when cooking my favorite rice.
I have tried many types of brands of rice, and I have discovered a brand of basmati I prefer. There are over 40,000 different varieties of rice. Did you know this! “Basmati (pronounced IPA: [baːsmət̪iː] in South Asia) is a variety of long, slender grain aromatic rice which is traditionally from India and Pakistan.” (Wikepidia, 2015)
Many of you may be asking yourself why I prefer to use Basmati rice. Well, who said I couldn’t? These days you have to find what works for you. I used to live in Haiti and migrated a very long time ago. With migration, you are sometimes forced to search for products you are accustomed to or find substitutes. We have a wide variety of rice on the market due to export and import regulations, and it is, of course, normal to choose a brand or type of rice that does not originate from your own country or island.
When cooking white rice, only a few ingredients are needed. Oil and butter, fresh garlic, water, salt and rice of course. That is the easy way! Many islanders prefer to use scallions or chives (spring onions), garlic, salt, and water. When adding fresh spices one must be very careful not to let the spices burn. I should also mention that good oil is also required. Cooking rice with leftover oil is not allowed if you wish to have a tasty dish.
Adding the correct liquid ratio will depend on the rice. I usually pan fry my rice in the oil or butter with the spices for about 2 – 3 minutes while stirring and add my liquid. That process has worked for me. When pan-frying rice you must reduce the amount of liquid. For example, if you are cooking 1 cup of rice, you will be tempted to add 2 cups of water as it is sometimes recommended. Hold off! Add 1 ½ cup of water instead. If you are adding beans or peas or vegetables, it is the same process.
When cooking rice, it is best to use a heavy bottom pan. Use enough oil or butter to cook the rice and do not in any circumstances cook your rice under high heat. Medium to low temperature is recommended for the rice to cook evenly.
In many Caribbean homes, you might find sunflower oil, canola oil, and olive oil. The best oil to use is the oil you are most comfortable with. A light and flavorful oil. We each have our preference. I prefer to use olive oil, grapeseed oil, or oil mixed with butter. You know what is right and what I have been craving for a few days now? A buttery taste white rice with beans sauce! I cannot tell you how much I am missing that.
When cooking white rice and to create a buttery taste, you must use a brand of butter that is not cheap. I mean it this time! When you mix a good butter brand and wonderful oil, you get a rice dish that will call your name in every language, and you will not even care about your diet. I can tell you are smiling and you know what I am talking about.
White rice requires, a good brand of rice, garlic, scallions (maybe), good oil and good butter if using. A really good tip I am sharing with you! When cooking a real meal, rice, beans and a meat dish, for example, hold the salt. The meat dish and the beans dish already have salt so why add salt again to the rice. That’s a great way to cut on sodium. By doing so, you are one step closer to lowering your sodium intake. Here is my recipe for the perfect white rice.
Serving: 4; Prep time: 5 min; Cooking Time: 35 min
2 cups rice (preferred brand)
Wash rice under running water if necessary. (depending on packaging and where rice was purchased). Drain and set aside. Under medium to low heat, add oil in a heavy bottom saucepan. Add chives or scallion and garlic. Let fry for a few seconds while stirring. Do not burn the spices and don't let them turn brown. Add rice and stir to mix. Fry rice for about 2 - 3 minutes stirring gently and just 1 - 2 times. Add water stir gently to mix and add salt if using. Bring to a boil. Cook uncovered until water is completely absorbed. Lower the heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Stir to fluff and serve.
Tips for making the perfect rice dish:
1) Use a heavy bottom pot with a tight fit lid.
2) Remove any dirt from rice if necessary, rinse with cold water 1 or 2 times before cooking.
3) Do not over stir the rice or it will not be fluffy and a bit grainy.
4) Use a good brand.
5) Use fresh spices and oil.
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