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The Secrets of Making Great Rice

Updated on March 4, 2012


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.

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    • must65gt profile image
      Author

      must65gt 6 years ago

      lol Aevans, mushy is from not cooking long enough or too much water. but time and experiance are great teachers. Thanks for reading and your comment

    • AEvans profile image

      Julianna 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

      I believe you missed your calling as a professional chef! My rice tends to turn out mushy! lololo Now I know how to properly cook rice. Bookmarked, thank you! :)

    • must65gt profile image
      Author

      must65gt 6 years ago

      Thanks cloverleaffarm, We love rice and every time I hear about a new way to make it, I add it to my list of variations. thanks for stopping and your review. Blessings

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great info! It took me years to cook rice properly. It is definitely a mastered skill. Vote up and useful!

    • must65gt profile image
      Author

      must65gt 6 years ago

      Thanks for reading cebutouristspot, As you probably know, a great cook in Asia is measured by how good their rice is. Unfortunately, rice cookers took all the skill out of making rice. so, you are well on your way. And I appreciate your leaving the comment, God Bless

    • cebutouristspot profile image

      cebutouristspot 6 years ago from Cebu

      Being in Asia rice is part of our every meal and before rice cooker became cheap enough to be available for every household we have a special thick pan where we cook rice only. Back on those days I am usually the one who cook the rice since I monitor the flame carefully and adjust it as needed. My mom always say that my rice is always perfect just cook right. :)

      Now its the rice cooker job :)

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      I do it slightly differently. I put the rice in a pan with one teaspoon of Olive Oil, very slightly brown it under high heat. Then add enough water to cover it and put a tight fitting cover with a steam vent on it. Reduce the heat to warm and let it sit until the water has all steamed off. it comes out perfect every time. You can substitute any flavor of bullion of tomato sauce and spices for part of the water.

      Thank you for this awesome hub!

      Voted Up.

      Domo Arigato Gozaimasu

    • must65gt profile image
      Author

      must65gt 6 years ago

      Ardie, you will do great...its not that hard, and you will soon prefer making real rice over the instant. Thanks for reading

      Dahlia, yes that is very true. I have a special pan I use only for rice, thanks for reading and your suggestion.

    • Dahlia Flower profile image

      Dahlia Flower 6 years ago from Canada

      Forth thousand different varieties of rice. That's amazing.

      I make a lot of rice. A tight-fitting lid on the pot once it's turned down to simmer is part of the secret to good rice -- at least for the type I make.

      Good information. Voting up.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      I love rice but I've always made instant because I just cant get real rice to work! I will try again with your directions :) And if I make sticky rice successfully I will be the best wife eva.

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