Monday, January 26, 2009

Rice - one further refinement

I shall post this entry, and then I shall shut up on the subject for a while. Since writing last Thursday, I have discovered that you need use only twice the volume of water to rice if you cover the pan. So:

Wash rice (75g a person is a generous quantity) in a sieve, or by giving it a quick bath in a bowl and draining it. Do you need to wash it? I am not sure; but it can be a bit dusty.

(If you do believe that you should wash it, then surely you should wash the rice you use in a risotto as well? Experts tell you not to, in order to avoid losing any starch and in order to ensure that the grains are properly coated in fat before you add the liquid. I doubt whether damp grains would affect the consistency or flavour of the finished dish at all.)

I have a measuring cup which holds the right amount of rice for one person. So, cooking just for myself, I pour two cups of water into a pan, bring it to the boil, tip in the rice, and cover. I start counting 10 minutes from that point. When the contents of the pan are simmering again (steam starts puffing from the lid), I turn down that flame to its lowest.

After 10 minutes, there is usually just a little water left in the pan. Drain the rice in a sieve. You can return it to the pan to stay hot: put a paper towel over the top, and the lid on top of that.

This technique works perfectly with most of the widely available Basmati brands.


Anonymous said...

Depends on the type of rice. Always wash basmati. rarely or never wash italian risotto rices.
Taking out small stones is also recommendable.

Martin said...

I think a lot of people spend too much time worrying about how to cook rice and consequently find it tricky or make a mess of it.

I treat rice like pasta: bring a pan of water to the boil, throw in rice, simmer for a while, drain when rice is al dente. Obviously it takes longer than pasta. Perfect results every time, and minimal concentration or faff required.

Nicholas Clee said...

Yes, this is the fail-safe method. The reason I've been experimenting with lower volumes of water is that apparently one loses fewer nutrients that way.

Anonymous said...

I used to mess up rice, now i get it right. I wash it a bit. I heat it up in the cold water I washed it in. Bring to the boil, 2 mins bubbling with the lid off, then put the lid on and turn right down to minimum, 8 mins later it's done.
Proportion of water to rice is important. About 2-3 times water to rice. I just go on my nerve. Although it's amazing how most cookbooks give absurdly precise & absurdly different proportions for this.

Nicholas Clee said...

If you heat up the rice in the water you washed it in, won't you end up with the same net result as if you hadn't washed it?