What should be a basic kitchen task, cooking rice leaves many cooks frustrated. Making a perfect pot of fluffy rice, with each grain distinct, can be tricky. Knowing a few simple secrets, will ensure desired results. For instance, using the right amount of water, proper heat, a tight-fitting lid and a post-cooking resting period are just some of the tricks that will help.
The following is a list of key tips and tricks for getting perfect results.
1. Always rinse the rice well in cold water. There are two reasons for rinsing… 1st. some companies use talc as a milling aid and should not be ingested. 2nd… rinsing removes starch which causes sticking.
2. Be sure to rest the rice once you take it off the stove. This will allow the moisture to redistribute for a more uniform texture. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Gently fluff the rice with a fork before serving.
3. Be sure you’re using the right rice for the result you want. For example: if you want a fluffy texture with separate grains, use a long grain variety.
4. Make sure you are using the correct ratio of rice to water. The normal ratio is… 1: 2… One part rice to two parts water. Here is a little trick for a fluffier texture… use a little less water than the recipes calls for.
5. For a more flavourful rice, use chicken broth, beef stock or vegetable stock when cooking. Adding a tablespoon of butter also gives added flavour.
6. Don’t be lifting the lid. Lifting the lid will release the steam and disturb the cooking process.
7. Be adventurous… try cooking your rice like you cook pasta… bring water to a boil, add the rice and cook until the rice has a slight bite to it. Drain in a colander and return to the hot pot and cover (off the heat). Let stand for a few minutes to steam.
8. Remember, different types of rice will give different results. Again, make sure you are using the correct rice for your desired results. Don’t expect to get a fluffy consistency from a short grained rice like Arborio.
Different types of Rice:
Jasmine rice has a long grain and is not sticky.
Brown rice takes longer to cook than polished white rice and as a longer cooking time.
Arborio is a type of rice that absorbs flavor well and has a creamy texture.
Shorter grain rice is stickier and is used for making such things as sushi or rice pudding.
Medium and long grained rice is everyday rice. You can steam it, cook it in a rice cooker or the microwave. This is fluffy in texture when cooked properly.
Each type has its own texture and flavor so I encourage you to experiment until you find what suits your dishes and your tastes. Determine what kind of rice you like and practice cooking, using these tips, until you perfect the cooking technique.