Thursday, October 02, 2008

Another way with basmati

Cooking rice, an apparently simple matter, has been something of an obsession, as previous posts have shown. (The trail of experiments starts here.)

If you have trouble with the absorption method, and if you do not want to boil the rice in a large quantity of water, try this. The measurement and timing work for all the brands I have found.

Allow 75g of rice as a generous quantity for each person. Tip it into a measuring jug, check its volume, and tip it into a sieve.
(I have some measuring cups, one of which holds exactly one portion, and the other, two portions.) Give it a rinse under the cold tap. Now measure four times its volume of water, bring it to a boil in a saucepan (with a little salt if you like), tip in the rice, return to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

After the 10 minutes are up (I usually count from the moment when the water has returned to a simmer), the water will probably be just above the level of the rice. Drain what is left. If you need to hold the rice, return it to the pan, put a paper towel on top, and the lid on top of that.


Fiona Beckett said...

I started cooking rice this way after someone from Tilda told me it was the only way to guarantee fluffy rice and have never looked back. It's the final five minutes 'steaming' under the kitchen towel that seems to do it.

Nicholas Clee said...

Glad you agree, Fiona. Previous posts have comments recommending (confidently) methods that have never worked when I've tried them. However, I have had some success with using two parts water to one part rice, simmering the rice (uncovered) for five minutes or so until the water is level with the surface, putting the lid on for a further five minutes, and then steaming, heat off, under a kitchen towel.

But which tastes better? I must do a test sometime. (There's probably no difference.)

pablopatito said...

I've been cooking rice by adding it a bit at a time to boiling water (to keep the water boiling), and not bothering to wash it. I'm sure I got this advice from your book?

Nicholas Clee said...

You've got me bang to rights. I keep experimenting with new methods, though -- and I now like this one the best.

pablopatito said...

So is it time for a new edition? You've even been recommending sweating aubergines recently as well.

Nicholas Clee said...

Yes, I do a few things differently now. But I don't think that anything in the book is wrong, with the possible exception of the advice that you should not cook chicken stock for longer than about two hours. (It is the vegetables that should not be overcooked.)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi there, Nicholas.
My oh my...
but how complicated.
Cooking rice that is.

Try this: wash rice three times
(assuming it is chemically-farmed
or a pseudo-organic from Thailand
or Vietnam or Indonesia or Bhutan).

Ratio of rice to water is 1:2
(that is for our mountain-bred
native-DNA organic red rice).
[But try it just the same].

Do not use rice cookers!
Instead, use cookwares made out of
terracotta or copper or glass
or stainless steel.

Next, fire up on smallest flame!
Note that our mountain red rices
take seventy-five (75) minutes to cook!
Anything less has been tinkered
(Genetically-Engineered) by IRRI
(International Rice Research Institute).
Instant rice ha ha
(no laughing matter but irony).

If you want to know more...
I can tell you more
(about the politics of rice,
IRRI, and the rice farmers).