How to Cook Your Rice Perfectly Every Time
The Rices Have It!
There really is not any secret to cooking rice. There are just a few basic things to remember and your rice will be wonderful every time. Never stir rice while it is cooking, as it distributes the starch on the grain surface and will make it clump together. Don’t use too much water, and don’t overcook. Then rice will become sticky instead of fluffy. If rice is tough, it wasn’t cooked long enough. White and long-grained rice cook a little faster than brown rice and short grained rice. Your glutinous Japanese rice and arborio are not the same: they are supposed to stick together.
I prefer brown rice, as it tends to stick with you better. Also, it will do you well to sauté the rice with a bit of oil prior to adding water in a pot with a tight lid. The rice will come out nicely separated without any gumminess. White rice has no nutritional value at all, it is just a filler, so keep that in mind.
Now, the water issue. The general rule of thumb with white rice, is a cup of rice to two cups of water. A fluid measuring cup is different than dry measure, so be sure to use both kinds for your rice. Brown rice will use between 1 ¾ to 2 cups of water per cup of rice, and will take 40-45 minutes to cook. I usually measure out between the two water measures.
Put in just a pinch of salt, if you wish, then cover the pot and heat. When steam starts to come from under the lid, take the pan off heat for 5 minutes. Then cook on your lowest heat setting for 25 more minutes. Once steaming begins, don’t lift the lid until the rice is finished, as it will disturb the steaming process. Allow the rice to cool in the pot for 10 minutes, lift the lid, and then stir and serve.
Ideas for Using Rice
Broccoli and Mushrooms with Brown Rice
First sauté several mushrooms for a minute or so and set aside. Saute large chopped onion in a little canola oil. Add 3 cups chopped broccoli and sauté a few more minutes. Then add a clove of crushed or minced garlic, 2 cups cooked brown rice, the sautéed mushrooms, and ½ cup grated cheese. In another bowl, beat 4 eggs, add ½ cup milk, and a pinch each of black pepper and nutmeg. Stir into your rice mixture, then cover with another ½ cup shredded cheese or cheese slices of your liking. Pour into 2-quart casserole dish, cover and bake at 350 degrees F until cheese topping has melted.
Mushroom and Wild Rice Casserole
Wash a cup of wild rice and cook for 15 minutes in boiling water. Brown a cup of sliced mushrooms in butter. Make a white sauce (1 cup milk or a bit more, if needed, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and ¼ cup butter). Drain rice and pour into greased casserole dish. Pour mushrooms on top and white sauce over everything. Sprinkle salt and pepper atop that. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 or 20 minutes. For those of you not wheat intolerant, sprinkle on bread crumbs before baking.
Cook wild or brown rice, then toss with sliced mushrooms and snow pea pods that have been sautéed in a little butter.