Rice is Nice?

15 Sep

Rice is nice. I like rice. So does everyone else. Egg-fried, risotto, pilau? It’s all good.

As a basic staple for a large part of the world it really should be quite easy to get right? But basic boiled white rice is incredibly hard! It should be hot, light and fluffy and fall apart off your fork. My husband can make rice like this quite brilliantly.

I however, make rice in two ways:

  • Rice Cake – a huge lump of gelatinous matter that comes out of the pan with a thud
  • Rice Bullets – uncooked pellets with a side of grey water

Here is where I think I am going wrong:

  • I use boiling water instead of cold
  • I estimate the amount of rice to water
  • I can’t resist giving it a stir
  • I give it too long or don’t give it long enough

This week I really applied myself and religiously washed the starch away, boiled up from cold, kept the lid on during steaming and ignored it.

Here is the finished result – I seem to have made a mixture of my two problem rices – the top is a bit of a cake and the bottom of the pan still held a lot of water and some bullets. But look, you can see individual grains…

The middle section could have held a bit of light and fluffiness but on forking it all went to mush. I told my husband it was my take on Thai sticky rice (even though we were having chilli) but we did manage to eat it.

I’m thinking of getting a rice steamer?


13 Responses to “Rice is Nice?”

  1. Robin 21/09/2011 at 10:56 am #

    Hi Alice, enjoying the blog!
    I too am prone to the big mushy lump, though thankfully Lucy seems to like it that way, or pretends to.
    Best rule of thumb, from Nigel Slater, is 3 x as much water as rice. Use cold water, bring to boil, simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off and leave for 10 mins with lid on. Water should be gone and should be fluffy. (though if you use that stubborn brown rice you probably have to double everything)

    • Alice Cant Cook 22/09/2011 at 8:20 am #

      Robin, she is lying! 🙂
      Ah, thanks for reading and your advice. If you use that much water to rice though are you sure it’ll all go?
      I’ll give it a go thanks.
      And I wouldn’t even attempt to cook brown rice…. well not anymore, the one time I did try it it ended up looking like a slice of bread.
      Lots of love, Ax

  2. Jenny Eatwell 22/09/2011 at 10:16 am #

    Alice, I don’t go for the steaming method at all. How I cook my rice is that I bring a large saucepan of salty water to the boil, then (having rinsed the rice copiously under warm water until it runs clear – and it can take a while!), I tip in the drained, rinsed rice. Make sure to give it a good stir, or it will congeal at the bottom of the pan in a lump. Get it all dancing around the pan happily, then you can leave it for a couple of minutes. Set your timer for 7 minutes. Half way through, give the rice another stir to make sure it’s all dancing. Once the timer goes off, pull out a couple of grains on the tip of a spoon and try them. They should be fairly firmly al dente (soft outside, hard inside, but not crunchy). If so, set the timer for another 2 minutes. At the end of that time, check again and it should be sweetly softened all the way through. If not, cook for another 30 seconds and try again.

    Immediately it reaches that point of softness, take it from the heat and drain it through a sieve. Have a kettle full of boiling water to hand and run the boiling water through the rice, which will remove the last of the gloopiness. Shake to remove all excess water and return it to the warm saucepan.

    Done! 🙂

  3. Alice Cant Cook 23/09/2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Oh Jenny no! You actually stir your rice while cooking? But apparently that is the ‘bad’ thing to do – so I have never done it…
    Still that is the purpose of this blog – to learn new ways to success – so I shall indeed give that a go next time round – well what harm can it do, what I cook already is a disaster?

    • Jenny Eatwell 24/09/2011 at 11:42 am #

      It’s so funny, because I have never heard of not stirring your rice! The way I cook rice is the way my Dad taught me to do it – and he makes better rice than me to this day! LOL

      I find this way (the “not steaming”) to be a method which takes some of the guesswork out of rice cooking. After all, I never know whether I’ve given it enough water or not, when steaming. At least this way, so long as you keep your eye on it and don’t wander off to do something else, you can taste it as it cooks – and thereafter know the difference between uncooked, nearly cooked and cooked rice! 🙂

  4. Alice Cant Cook 25/09/2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Also if you stir it there is less chance for it to stick to the bottom of the pan? x

    • Jenny Eatwell 25/09/2011 at 9:12 pm #

      Exactly! Keep that rice dancing around the pan, then it won’t have time to stick. 🙂

  5. Rachel W 21/05/2012 at 2:25 pm #

    The secret easiest ever way to make rice. Nothing special, just rice. Plain, basmati, all good. Get a pan of water boiling. Get rice and put in the boiling water. Doesn’t matter if you wash it or not. Doesn’t matter if you stir it or not. Simmer for 10 minutes exactly. Drain the rice and put the rice in the sieve back over the hot (now emptied of water) pan, and put a lid on top of the sieve. It now steams itself for a further 10 minutes. NO HEAT just leave it. Done.


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