Thursday, May 14, 2009

Technique: White Rice

This is another one of those tricks I would be embarrassed to post if I hadn’t just had someone ask me how to do this. You can use this technique to cook any kind of white rice – basmati, jasmine, long grain, short grain. It will come out just right every time. I learned it from a Kuwaiti friend of Persian heritage, and I noticed a few years ago that Marc Bittman also recommends it.

stove, heavy-bottomed pot

First, rinse your rice. I rinse all rice. I don’t know if it’s necessary or not, but I always do. I rinse it in the pot I will cook it in. I put the rice in the pot, fill it with water, and swish it around with my hands. Then I pour the water off the rice. Then I do it again. (you don’t have to use drinkable water for this, but it should be reasonably clean.)

After pouring out the second put of water, I add the cooking water. I fill the pot until the water is about two inches higher than the rice. I don’t know what the volume on that is. Just keep adding water until the water level is two inches above the rice level. Err on the side of too much water.

Bring the water and rice to a boil. Once the water is boiling, move the lid aside to steam can escape, and turn the rice down to a simmer or a slow boil. Taste the rice every couple of minutes. When it is mostly cooked, but still has a tiny raw bit in the middle, drain the rice.

Put a little butter or oil in the bottom of the pot (optional if your pot is really solid, but it adds flavor ether way) and then return the drained rice to the pot. Add a little butter on top if you want. Put the lid on the pot, and set it on a burner on very low heat. The lowest heat your gas stove will allow you to use. On an electric stove, you can return it to the warm turned-off burner it came from.

In about five minutes, your rice will be ready to eat. It can sit as long as you want on the warm burner while you get the rest of the meal ready. It may get a crunchy bit on the bottom, but Iranians do that on purpose. It’s tasty.

1 comment:

  1. I miss your golden crunchy rice. I never remember how to get that. Next time I'll try the oil!