The best way to cook plain rice
I’ve found that one of the most common questions I am asked by new cooks is ‘how on earth do I cook plain rice?’
Even many experienced cooks find that their rice turns out to be soggy and not the white,fluffy deliciousness that they had envisaged on the plate.
Once you have mastered cooking plain rice, there’s a whole wealth of recipe opportunities that are opened up to you.
It’s great as an accompaniment, served with curries, Chinese food or casseroles and the simple addition of a few ingredients can made rice into a meal in itself.
The image you see here, for example, is plain rice coloured and flavoured using turmeric with the addition of a few vegetables.
The photograph shows a meat-free meal but it’s easy to satisfy meat-eaters by adding bacon, cooked ham, flaked fish, seafood or other meaty ingredients that will cook quickly.
And because rice does cook in about ten minutes, great meals are never more than a few minutes away. THe important mottor to remember is this:
Cooking rice? Water’s twice
In other words, you’ll need twice the amount of water as you have rice. For two people, I find that half a cup of uncooked rice is fine, so therefore you’ll need one cup of water. For four cups of uncooked rice,you’ll need eight cups of water and so on. The handy thing about this is that even if you don’t have measuring cups handy, you can use any container – you simply need to measure your rice and double up for the water.
So, assuming you are making rice for two, put a pan on a high heat and boil one cup of water. I like to be sure that the pan is large enough to cook the rice evenly – for this amount, I use a pan that is about seven inches in diameter.
While this is boiling,measure out half a cup of uncooked rice.
When the water is boiling, remove it from the heat and add a knob of butter. The amount will depend on how much rice you’re cooking but about a teaspoon of butter is fine for the half cup of rice.
If you want to flavour or colour your rice, add it now. As you saw above, turmeric gives a lovely yellow rice with a mild, spicy flavour. Or use a vegetable, fish or meat stock cube. Only add powders and dry goods – no liquids.
Stir until the butter is melted and the spices or stock cubes are dissolved. Add the rice. Remove from the heat, turn the temperature to LOW and stir the rice with a fork for about one minute. Then, COVER.
If you don’t have a tight fitting lid, cover with foil and then add the lid – the foil will help to create a seal Put the pan back on to the LOW heat. Leave it absolutely alone, simmering, for ten minutes. DO NOT PEEK.
After ten minutes – more is fine if you’re busy, there’s no need to be exact – remove the lid. Allow the steam to disperse and, if you wish, add a few small dabs of butter. Fluff the rice with a fork gently.
You can now serve or replace the lid and keep the rice warm for a further five minutes or so.
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