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Boiled Rice

Boiled rice is so simple to make that it is astonishing that so many people make a mess of it, producing a glutinous stodgy mess.

Here are two ways to produce a beautifully fluffy white rice, the first method in particular is very easy. If you still have trouble with rice - and I know a lot of people that do - you can use a rice cooker and these really are idiot proof. Here are a couple of links for models that I have had some experience of.:

Lloytron Rice Cooker - this is a faily basic rice cooker - not too expensice but works pretty well
Breville Rice Cooker and Steamer - a more versatile, high quiality steamer that will do rice and other things

Boiled Rice - First Method

This is my favourite method; it's quick, easy and almost idiot-proof.

Basic Ingredients

Maybe salt
Some ghee or butter

Notes on Ingredients

Rice swells quite disturbingly when boiled - about one teacup will probably do for two people. (I remember the first time I ever cooked boiled rice when I was about 10 years old, I made enough to feed the whole street)

I prefer Basmati rice; whilst all rice is pretty bland on its own, Basmati does have a slightly nutty taste. Any long grain rice will do, but don't go for the easy cook stuff.

I never use salt in boiled rice; it's not going to make an awful lot of difference and you're going to eat the rice with something tasty anyway. Add a little if you must.

Basic Method

Wash the rice with cold water in a bowl. Strain and repeat twice.
Put a fairly large amount of water in a big pan and bring to the boil.
Add salt if you must.
Tip the rice into the boiling water and stir round.
Boil vigorously for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
Strain with a sieve.
Rinse with water boiled in a kettle.
Optional:- Put 2 teaspoons of ghee or butter into the serving bowl.
Pour rice into serving bowl and riffle round with a fork.

Notes on Method

This really is astoundingly simple. The reason most people mess up boiled rice is that they simply overcook it. When I have taught people who habitually cock it up they are always astonished at how quick it all is - 10-12 minutes cooking.

Washing the rice is important to remove starch and stop the rice sticking together.

The water must be boiling when you add the rice.

To test the rice is done get a couple of grains out of the water with a fork cool them a little then squeeze between thumb and forefinger. The grains should be soft on the outside but retaining a little crunch in centre. (After a while you get to know it's done just by the look of it. You'll know what I mean when you get there.)

Rinsing is also sort of optional. It helps remove starch from the surface of the grains and stops them sticking together. I remember reading in one recipe to use cold water but this cools the rice down and I found no disadvantage in using boiling water.

Boiled Rice - Second Method

This is sometimes called the 'absorption method' and I've read this in so many recipe books that I think it must be more traditional. However it has never worked as consistently for me as the first method, and when it does I can find little advantage - the rice is a little bit fluffier perhaps. It also takes about 4 times as long.

Basic Ingredients

Maybe salt
Ghee or butter

Notes on Ingredients

As for first method except you need pretty much precisely twice as much water as rice.

Basic Method

Soak the rice in water for at least 30mins.
Rinse then wash with clean water twice.
Put the rice, exactly twice as much water by volume and salt if you must into a heavy bottomed pan for which you have a tight fitting lid.
Heat the water until boiling, stirring occasionally to prevent any rice sticking to the pan..
Once boiling turn the heat down low and put the lid on.
Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
After about 25-30mins all the water should be absorbed.
Optionally do the ghee/butter thing as in method 1.

Notes on Method

This is all pretty self explanatory. You might need to add a little more water if the rice is not cooked when all the water has been absorbed - this may happen if the lid is not on properly or does not fit tightly enough.

After cooking you can let the boiled rice 'rest' (still covered) for about 10mins.

See Also

Aromatic Rice (Pilau Rice)

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