Back to Basics: Rice (1)

Today we will be talking about rice! There are lots of types of rice including:

  • Long Grain – this is probably the most common type of rice. It can be used in pretty much every dish.
  • Jasmine and Basmati – these are used a lot of the time as a side dish with thai curries or other Asian dishes.
  • Brown – this has a nutty taste to it. It is chewier and actually takes about twice as long to cook as normal white rice.
  • Arborio – this is a special type of rice used mainly for risottos.

One of the things that shocked me most when I went to university was that people didn’t know how to cook rice. A sad example comes from a good friend who told me that she didn’t need to know because at home they had a rice cooker. Well, most university kitchens don’t have this sort of high-tech gismo so she had to learn how to use to oh-so-difficult set up of a saucepan, boiling water and a hob.

So, down to the difficult process of cooking rice. Fill kettle with water and turn it on. Put saucepan on hob (I hate to have to specify this but make sure the hob is turned on…!). Pour boiling water from kettle into saucepan and bring back to the boil. Turn heat down on the hob and add rice.Leave for about 10 minutes (or how ever long the packet recommends) and once cooked (when you bite down on it, it is soft and… well… tastes edible!) drain the water and serve.

I know some people who run cold water over the rice before and after cooking it, but personally I don’t bother with that and my food turns out alright in the end! But, if you want to be pedantic (as my dad is…) then if the packet specifically says to wash it before use then it is probably best to.

Now, I don’t actually measure my rice out. I know roughly how much I need to pour into my saucepan to serve me and if you cook single portions regularly then you soon get good at guessing how much you need but a normal portion of rice will be between 60 and 80g depending on how hungry you are or what you are serving it with.

Part two on rice will look at using it in risottos and give you a few of my favourite risotto recipes. Have a great day!