- Food and Cooking
The Secrets of Making Great Rice
Historians believe rice has been around for centuries, and has been a food source for civilizations starting as far back as 2500 BC. There are no definitive answers as to when rice first arrived in the US. Some believe it came to America by traders, others believe it came from Africa carried by slaves when their trade America was still young. It is now grown in 5 five states as a food crop and is still exported to other countries.
While I have always enjoyed the taste of rice, I gained a new appreciation for it while living abroad. During my stay in Japan, an English teaching Academy in Tokyo employed me part time as an instructor to Japanese high school and college students (a job I enjoyed for both the cultural exchange and the opportunity to achieve a better working knowledge of their language. To the Japanese, rice is more than a staple. It represents purity and a foundation for life itself. I remember vividly having students to my home for lessons, and the chance to cook for them. I decided since beef was rather expensive for them (A large portion was imported from America) I would make them a traditional American meal.
I purchased a large package of cubed beef, mushroom gravy fresh green beans and Jasmine rice. I flowered and fried the cube steak (southern style of course) steamed the Green beans and made a large pan of rice. While the rice cooed I used the meat drippings, some salt and flour to make my rue for the gravy. Then I added 2cups of water and a can of the mushroom soup to make the gravy.
When the students arrived, we all sat down for the American-style meal, and I served the food to everyone. The look on my students face was more like sock and awe as I spooned the mushroom gravy over the meat and rice. It was as if I insulted them by disrespecting the rice. But being Japanese and not wanting to insult me, they ate it. After realizing the issue, from that point on, we served mashed potatoes if the meal suited.
With over 40,000 different varieties of rice, it shouldn’t be difficult to find one that suits your taste. But which one you choose, it is important to prepare it properly to achieve the correct type with the meal being served.
For American Style rice, long grain served with butter and salt, use a 2-to-1 ratio (water to rice).
And for Asian, use 1-to 1.5 ratio. The cooking time is more important with the Asian-style sticky rice. For fried rice prepare yellow rice according to package directions. Saute chopped ham or pork, diced onions and green peppers in olive oil until caramelized, (About one cup) then add the cooked rice and stir together until well blended.
For Cuban-style, reduce water by 1/4 cup and add 1/4 cup Italian salad Dressing. this goes very well with Black beans (you can also substitute yellow rice)
However with either type bring the water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil (salt amount should not vary unless you are using over 3 cups of dry). Once the water is boiling, add the dry rice and stir to prevent grains from sticking together. If it is not stirred after being added to the water, it will stick and become doughy and not cook properly. Some people like to add batter or cooking oil to the rice during cooking; however I have found this to be UN-necessary and may affect the final product. Stir the rice until it begins boiling again, then cover and turn down the heat, reducing it as low as possible without turning it off. For American Style, allow it to cook for 12 minutes, remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes, Stir in 2 ounces of butter and serve. For Asian style, make it the same but allow it to cook only 10 to 11 minutes. (do not add butter), simply stir after 5 minutes and recover to keep in the heat).
Because rice has so many uses it will go well with almost any meal. I hope this hub was helpful, and enjoy.