Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ways to Cook Rice

Properly prepared rice has a light, fluffy texture. The grains are tender with no traces of toughness. Some recipes recommend washing rice before you prepare it, but this practice is rarely necessary and may actually diminish the nutritional quality of the grain. Determining when to cook rice unwashed and boiling it properly ensures the rice is served at its peak quality.

Washing Rice

Rice grown and milled in the United States doesn't require washing and is best cooked unwashed. Most U.S. rice is fortified, and washing removes these additional nutrients. Imported rice, such as sushi rice from Japan, may require washing, and this is typically indicated on the bag. If left unwashed, imported rice may develop a gummy texture. To wash unwashed rice, place it in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with water and swish it around with your hands. Drain off the white, milky water and add fresh water. Continue washing and draining until the water runs clear.

Water-to-Rice Ratio

You must use just enough water to fully cook the rice without the need to drain it afterward. Generally, 1 part rice to 2 parts water is sufficient. Brown and wild rice may require more water, so refer to the package for water ratio recommendations. You can also make rice without a measuring cup. Place the unwashed rice in the pot. Add water to the pot until the surface of the water reaches approximately 1 inch above the top of the rice. Measure this by placing your finger in the water until your fingertip touches the top of the rice. You have enough water in the pot if the water surface reaches your first knuckle above your fingernail.

Stovetop Cooking

Cooking rice properly on the stovetop ensures the rice on the bottom doesn't burn. Cover the pot and bring the water to a full boil. Stir once when the rice begins boiling, then replace the lid. Boil the rice, without stirring it again, for 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the water in the pot. Fluff the rice with a fork before serving it. It helps to transfer the rice to a serving dish immediately after cooking, otherwise the remaining heat in the bottom of the pot may cause the bottom of the rice to scorch.

Rice Cooker

A rice cooker takes the guess work out of rice preparation. These appliances cook both white and brown rice to perfection every time. Rice cooker operation varies depending on the manufacturer, but most only require you to add the rice and water in the ratio recommended in the cooker's instruction book. Close the lid and press the button for the type of rice you are using. Some cookers also have an automatic warmer function that keeps your rice warm, without the worry of scorching, until you are ready to serve it.

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