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…rice, revisted…


I wrote about rice a number of years ago and stumbled across a really brilliant revelation. I still make it almost the exact way I ever did – that is, using the magic ratio – 2:1, liquid to rice. It always works, for pretty much any rice you make.

There are various ways of making rice, of course, which are in part a result of how they’re cooked – if it’s pilaf, you brown the rice in fat for a few minutes before introducing the liquid. Risotto – it’s a 3:1 ratio of liquid (which is always brought up to a near simmer and ladled in a cup or so at a time over the course of 30 minutes). For ‘plain’ white rice, however, there’s nothing simpler than the 2:1 rule. Not only for the liquid to rice, but for the cooking; 20 minutes at a simmer (covered) and 10 minutes (covered) at a rest off heat.


For years, I simply copied what my (long gone to Goodwill) rice cooker did. That is, rice and liquid were added together (cold) and brought up to a boil, reduced to a simmer, then covered. That’s when my clock started…

I came across a slight tweak to that idea, a different method I’ve used the last 2 times I’ve cooked it, and I must say I prefer the results. It was from a James Beard book – based on a brief note swearing the virtues of cooking rice as he learned it from an ‘oriental’. It’s simple, really. The liquid is first brought to a roaring boil. At that point, rice is sprinkled in, in a manner that the grains (hopefully) all go in separately and in modest enough quantities that the water never ceases boiling…


There’s a bit of trick, grabbing a handful of rice and letting individual grains sprinkle between ones fingers over a boiling pot. A technique in itself to master, certainly, as the steam makes it quickly known that skin is no match for it…

As with anything and almost everything I find in the kitchen, though, it’s another reminder that one simple variable has the power to change the entire outcome of everything…



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