MAKING GOOD RICE 



NON-INSTANT RICE

Rice is my favorite side dish  and very popular with the takeout gang who make a meal of it in a small white containers with a metal hanger.  I love rice, it’s good for you and being bland and flexible it can be made exciting in a million different ways.  With chicken and vegetables its a real meal.

I use and believe in rice cookers. Yes,  many do it the old way but I use enough rice to to let the cooker do the thinking and it has never failed me. I have a Sanyo M100S, a great size for my appetite and friends. Measure, one click perfection.  I give it five stars.

It's a very simple process and not even a rocket scientist could blow up the kitchen with this stepped approach to good rice.  Until the invention of instant rice we possibly were the last country on earth to make edible rice for consumption.  

When instant rice cooked, dehydrated and then re-hydrated it loses a lot of itself like flavor, taste, some starch, and good vitamins and proteins in the process. Good cooks reach a point where they learn to make good rice from scratch. 

But then I save the instant rice when I have none of the good cooked rice in the fridge as a filler for most canned soup to give it some body.  I just throw half a cup into the pot as it’s heating up. Tomato soup now becomes Tomato Rice soup. Broth  becomes chicken and rice.

Believe me,  I am now an expert in the creation of rice. It was a survival thingy. I made rice so bad I had to use it up and mix it as filler in Plaster of Paris when filling large holes. A professional painter and plasterer taught me that. Reinforces the plaster. I wondered why he kept a bag of rice on the truck. Today there is nothing better, but we use styrofoam peanuts.

Reading the following indicates most of the mistakes I made. These are only a few outcomes from my first expeditions into NON-INSTANT rice cooking. I found a lot of info and opinions on the web on how to cook rice. 

Seems I was not alone in my trials. One in particular addressed things they way I think. Somehow I have managed to complete the course and successfully cooked up (botched up) all of the possible outcomes.


BOTTOM LINE - PREFERRED METHOD
I now own a medium rice cooker and have achieved a level of success with every batch and recommend the Sanyo M100S. I use a lot of rice, this device is foolproof, I make flavored rices, Sushi rice and Thai rice in it.  Nevertheless knowing how to make simple rice and water in a pot is a good idea if you travel or camp. I prefer Basmati rice but do use two other types 

Instead of water in the cooker,  I sometimes use Swanson’s Thai Chicken Broth, Another favorite is College Inn and Campbell’s has a similar product. My choice is really based on what store I’m in.  Publix has one brand, Winn Dixie carries the other.  No, I don’t have the time to make my own Thai stock so these helpers allow flexibility. If the Thai stock is too strong for you, these companies offer unflavored stocks on the same shelf and half the two.

GOOD RICE IS WATER AND TIME

•  If it looks like thick soup or waterlogged, under cooked, or under steamed.
•  If it looks like glue balls or clumps together, it is overcooked or over steamed. 
•  If you got soft mushy rice, you used too much water reduce water by ¼ cup at a time. 
•  If you got rice that’s hard, feed it to the birds or increase the start water by ¼ cup.

Pre-washing rice, especially long grain rice removes excess starch. A stainless or porcelain bowl works best, do not use a strainer/colander you will cut the rice.

For the Asia style short-grained sticky rice, popular such as for Thai, Japanese and Philippine  cooking, don't over rinse the rice before cooking.  The reason for sticky rice is that it is eaten customarily with the hands after making it into a ball and either dipped or used as a shovel for condiments and dips etc.  

 

2nd METHOD - RICE IN THE PRESSURE COOKER:
Using pressure-cooking for rice is a great idea, it is a lot faster and works. But this is for uncooked non-instant rice or you will be cleaning up cement you created in the pot and the hole in the ceiling. 

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I took some advice from those on the web and learned what I had been doing wrong from one website in particular.  “Basically", to steal Emeril LaGasse’s favorite word, EVERTHING! May I recommend you read and take heed from a great website  www.missvickie.com the queen of pressure cookers.  The pressure cooker seems like a good idea. I had the tools, I had the Presto 6 qt. aluminum pressure cooker. It was a gift and cost about $33.00, not that expensive.  

Stainless steel ones average twice the cost easily and fancies can go in the 100-200 dollar range based on capacity and features.  

I had the water, I had the rice, I had paid the electric bill, the stainless insert, I had the hunger and a victim guest. You'll get perfect results when using miss Vickis sytem, she calls it "The Pan In Pot Method", others have used this method, I saw it on other sites, and it works. If I start to do rice more often and other dishes, pressure cooking saves the nutrients, I'll get a fancy one and just use this one combo for rice. 


TOOLS
1 Pressure Cooker
1 Tray insert – comes with cookers
1 Stainless steel bowl that fits in pressure cooker on top of tray.
2 long kitchen tongs to remove stainless bowl 

INGREDIENTS   (Make Yellow Rice)
1 cup long grain white rice (Basmati, or Jasmine, etc.)
1-1/2 cups water or I used chicken broth, it already has salt
Peppers, and green onions, (scallions) to taste. Pinch of Paprika for color.
1 Tablespoon butter or oil prevents foaming.

PROCESS

Place rack in bottom of pressure cooker and pour in 1/2-cup water. 
Add 1 level cup rice and 1-1/2 cups water or broth in a stainless steel bowl. 
Place the bowl in the pressure cooker.  
Lock the lid in place and bring to 15psi, the top indicator will jiggle. 
Reduce the heat to the lowest setting that will just maintain that pressure. Cook 4 minutes.Remove from heat and let the pressure drop naturally. Open the lid and remove the bowl from the cooker, and fluff rice with a fork before serving. For Sushi flavoring, take some Rice vinegar and fluff the rice with a fork so as not to bruise the rice while springing the vinegar on it.

SERVE


PART TWO - ADD-ONS and FRIED RICE
For additional flavor, flexibility and aroma, substitute a tasty flavoring liquid like themed or scented chicken broth for the water in the cooker.  Add seasonings like soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, onions, and salt and pepper. Herbs such as thyme or dill can be added to compliment other foods as well.  

For Yellow Spanish rice I have used chicken broth, paprika, added couple drops yellow food coloring, scallions, salt pepper and a very small minced jalapeño, and minced (fine red pepper) and made spicy yellow rice.  Do not cover the inner bowl with tin foil. The inner bowl should not exceed the ½ way mark of the cooker.


KICK IT UP A NOTCH
1. Get a good wok nice and hot,  I have two, an indoor medium, electric, I know it should be gas but not allowed in my condo,  and then a large size when we go outdoors on a propane blaster. a 14-inch wok is about right and use small, say for two person portions.  I use a mix of olive and canola oil, a good combo for the ticker. When the oil shimmers and is stable I add that trinity of garlic, colorful green, yellow, and orange peppers, white or green onions and small diced carrots and only the Lord of Food God knows what else.

2. Add the theme of the dish chicken, ham, pork pieces, almost any cooked meat, and cook it till it browns slightly.

3. Make room by pushing the cooked ingredients up the side of the wok. Take a couple two eggs, break the yolk, beat ever so little, just to mix, till they begin to set. Cook until they are almost done.

4.  Add the rice, stirring and tossing between each addition. I use a silicon spatula to break up any clumping. Stir fry means keep it moving swiftly around the wok until the rice is  turns brown. 

5. Add a few tablespoons of your chosen sauce, soy, teriyaki, fish, chili paste, etc, and season to taste. One of the biggest sections in our supermarkets here is for condiments and the international selection is well diversified. Hit your local supermarket and take advantage of the different cultures that we have at our doorstep.


RICE NOMENCLATURE

Long-grain - The most commonly used type in the US, its slender grains are four to five times longer than they are wide. If properly cooked, they will be fluffy and dry, with separate grains. (If cooked right).

Medium-grain - rice is about twice as long as it is wide and cooks up moister and more tender than long-grain. It is popular in some Asian and Latin American cultures, and is the type of rice most commonly processed to make cold cereals. Also packaged as "California rice".

Short-grain - Also called Oriental, Japanese, sushi, and pudding rice, short-grain rice may be almost oval or round in shape. It has the attributes for oriental cooking and serving. Of the three types of rice, it has the highest percentage starch that makes rice sticky, or clump together, when cooked. Easy to eat with chopsticks, it is ideal for dishes like sushi


TYPES OF RICE (Source country or derivation) 
•  Basmati is the most famous aromatic rice, is grown in India and Pakistan. It has a nutlike fragrance while cooking and a delicate aroma.  It is sometimes called "popcorn" rice for it's buttery aroma. Unlike other types of rice, the grains elongate much more than they plump as they cook. Lower in starch than other long-grain types, basmati turns out flaky and separate. Although it is most commonly used in Indian cooking, basmati can also be substituted for regular rice in any favorite recipe. It is fairly expensive compared to domestic rice.

•  Glutinous rice (aka sweet rice or sticky rice) is a short grain rice popular in Japan and other Asian countries, this type of short-grain rice is not related to other short-grain rices. Unlike regular table rice, this starchy grain is very sticky and resilient, and turns translucent when cooked. Its cohesive quality makes it suitable for rice dumplings and cakes, such as the Japanese mochi, which is molded into a shape. Sticky rice is for hand dipped dishes as explained before.

•  Jasmine -  is a traditional long-grain white rice grown in Thailand. It has a soft texture and is similar in flavor to Basmati rice. Jasmine rice is also grown in the United States, and is available in both white or brown forms.



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