8.17.2011

The MisEducation of Rice


I am here to end the co-dependent relationship you have with your rice cooker. Listen, I know that it is scary but really, he is holding you back. Always just sitting there, acting like he is all low maintenance but either leaves you soggy or burnt. Hogging the counter space, or leaving you in a panic when you can’t find him. I am going to show you how free you’ll feel without that old rice cooker, and trust, you will wonder why you didn’t get rid of that slob sooner.
I’ve also seen you flirting with Rice a Roni, I know he is the San Francisco treat but he’s all talk ladies, and don’t start looking at that Uncle Ben either.
First let’s start with a little background of rice. Did you know there are over 40,000 types of rice? That it comes in almost every color ranging from barely opaque white to black? That you can make cakes and alcohol out of it? That it accounts for about 20% of the world’s caloric intact? Crazy huh, don’t worry I am not going to Encyclopedia Rhianica it up; I’ll just give you a little information about the most commonly used types. More charts; print it, cut it out paste it on the inside of the cabinet where you keep the 15 different types of rice you have.


Common Name
Characteristics
Rice--Water
Technique
Short Grain
Somewhat Sticky
1--1.5
10 minutes uncovered, 15 minutes covered
Long Grain
Separate and Fluffy
1--1.5
10 minutes uncovered, 15 minutes covered
Brown
Mostly Chewy
1--2
Simmer about 45 minutes
Jasmine
Aromatic Long Grain
1--1.5
10 minutes uncovered, 15 minutes covered
Basmati
Aromatic, Slightly Nutty
1--1.5
10 minutes uncovered, 15 minutes covered
Wild
American 4 Grain Blend
1--4
Simmer about 45 minutes
Sushi
Super Short and Sticky
1--1 *
10 minutes uncovered, 15 minutes covered
Arborio
Short and Starchy
See Risotto Recipe
See Risotto Recipe


*Sushi Rice usually includes a splash of rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon each salt and sugar.

There are thousands, and I mean thousands of recipes that include rice, I will be giving you a few super fancy ones, but master the basics first.  I don’t care how good your chicken tikka masala is, if the rice isn’t made well, you’re ruined.

Forbbiden Black Rice -- combien mysterieux!

Rice is really dirty; make sure you rinse it at least a couple times. In America rice is usually tumbled to give it a polish and then “fortified” with powdery talc that is really bad for you. Gross. Make sure you wash it off, you’ll notice when you are rinsing the rice that the water is cloudy, keep rinsing until the water is clear.
After you boil the rice (or simmer if you are making brown or wild rice) for a few minutes, cover the pot so that the rice can thoroughly steam. After about 20 minutes of total cooking time (40 for brown/wild rice) you can check it. Lift the lid only this once, you should see a bunch of little holes with streams of steam, this is a good thing. Now don’t keep opening the pot, you don’t want all the steam to escape. In culinary school they teach you that in order to get a perfect grain of rice, you don’t to boil it in a large amount of water and strain it, just like how you make pasta. But that’s takes too much attention if you ask me. Remove from heat once all the water is evaporated and before you burn the bottom. If you have a tendency to be preoccupied while making rice, turn the heat down after you see the little steamy streams. Wow. Good thing I am typing this and not trying to say it because I would surely stumble and stutter slightly if not significantly.
Now that you know how to make a perfect dish of rice, check back here over the next couple of days as your rice course intensifies and we learn a little more sophisticated recipes.
Also check out this super cool website where you can answer trivia questions and for every question that you answer right the site will donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program

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