20 Minute Rice
20 Minute Rice
Here is a recipe taught to me by my dad when I was a just kid. Reason being was that my dad wanted rice for dinner hot and fresh almost as soon as he got home from work. I still use this recipe to this day as it is fool proof, requires no measuring cup, is fast and more important than anything, it WORKS!
A Word on Jasmine Rice
First and foremost, you will need rice. At one website that sells A LOT of rice, they had over 660 brands of Thai Jasmine rice alone! That does not include vendors from Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Laos and the U.S. I recommend Thai Jasmine rice as it is aromatic and very easy to cook. These days, most supermarkets have and Ethnic or International Section and a Oriental sub-section which will contain Chinese, Japanese, sometimes Korean and sometimes Thai foods. However, if you can't find rice in this subsection, chances are is that you'll find raw rice in the Hispanic section for some reason. I've never understood this but it's true. A cost-effective brand of Jasmine rice is Dynasty Jasmine rice or Carolina Jasmine which really aren't that bad. I've seen a 2 pound bag of Dynasty Jasmine rice (enough to feed 3 people twice) for $2.89, which comes out to less than 50 cents a plate! The best Jasmine rice you'll find will most likely be Golden Phoenix and some of the more expensive brands will be Thai Kitchen, which sells almost everything that has to do with Thai cuisine. If you have absolutely no such luck finding any of these brands, I would check the organic section where they keep loose grain. Another alternative would be Basmati or simple long-grain rice.
Cooking Jasmine Rice
The second component you will need is a pot. I recommend a non-stick pot made by Calaphon as it is very durable and dependable and easy to clean. Soaking the pot in cold water after you're done is a good idea. When using a non-stick pot, be sure to use a flat wooden spoon as it won't scratch your expensive pot and is also easy to clean. I suggest letting it soak in cold water inside a coffee mug after you dish serving the rice onto plates. Some of the best lids for your pot (if your not sure what kind of pot to use, just look below on my sale items and you'll see) are the ones constructed with glass and steel as they will usually have single small holes in them to allow a minimal amount of steam to escape. Their also good for cooking rice because they're heavy. I try to stay away from aluminum lids as they have a tendency to allow too much steam to escape. In some cases, if the pot gets too hot, your pot will boil over--rice water and all. A few times when I didn't have a heavy enough lid, I used a stoneware plate right-side-up as it fit perfectly over the pot.
The Preparation and Cooking Process
I like to save those clear 16 ounce soup cup containers you get in Chinese take-out restaurants because they're handy and reusable. Figure that each one of those in raw Jasmine rice equals one healthy serving of cooked rice when filled to the first line. As a rule, I use at least two containers each time I cook rice because if you try to cook less rice, you run the risk of burning it. I also wouldn't try to cook more than three containers full, as it maybe too much, depending on the pot size.
Next, you want to rinse the rice underneath the faucet using cold water, using your hand to stir the rice. Do your best to remove any sentiment then strain the rice without losing too much of it down the sink. I find that rinsing the rice twice is sufficient enough. Next fill the pot up accordingly. I always estimate filling the pot up about an inch or so above the rice line. Next, dip your index finger vertically down into the rice so that you touch the bottom of the pot while the pot is resting on a level surface, like your counter top. Now with the thumb of the same hand, mark off the rice line then slowly bring your index finger slowly up so that one-half of where you marked off your index finger is the rice line and the half is the water line. In other words, the ratio between rice and water should be 1 : 1 See why you don't need a measuring cup? This trick works with as much rice or as little rice, depending on the size of your pot! If you don't have enough water, add more water, in turn if you have too much water, pour some water out accordingly. So let's say you want softer, fluffier rice. You need only add a little bit more water and if you want drier, coarser rice, pour some water out. It's that easy!
Once you measured your rice, place the pot on the stove and fire up / turn on the burner to HIGH but do not cover the pot yet. Depending on how much rice you're cooking, the pot should begin to boil between 5 and 7 minutes. Now let the rice boil down and reduce on its own and here is where you will need to watch the pot. Once a minimum amount of water is reached, holes will appear at the top of the rice's surface/line. As soon as this happens, lower the flame/switch the burner down to its lowest setting and cover the pot. Mark the time and estimate that in 15 minutes the rice will be done. If everything went smoothly up until this point, you should have fresh aromatic rice at the end of fifteen minutes! Thank you for listening and I hope that I've helped. Please also check out my 15-minute Pork Chop recipe!
A Word About Automatic Rice Cookers
A few of my readers asked me whether or not this same method would work in automatic rice cookers and my answer is yes! Unless you eat rice practically every day, you probably don't have a rice cooker or it may not be practical for you to own one. Below are some rice cookers starting at $20 or so. They all work well, from simple to technical in terms of ability.
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