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The standard Chinese New Year's greeting states, “May your rice never burn!” Since it's the staple of the Asian diet you'll need to know the different types of rice and how to cook it just right. Most Americans buy and use “instant rice” and “boil-in-bag” white rice because they are afraid of cooking rice the conventional way. Rice perfection is one of those techniques cooks develop over time, however the rules are there to guide you and only differ by the amount of water you use and the amount of time it takes for the rice to cook.
Many easterners swear by an Asian rice cooker which is a machine that cooks the rice for you to perfection every time. Automatic rice cookers from Zojirushi and Cuisinart can make up to 10 cups of rice and have non-stick interiors. Rice cookers are a great tool for people who entertain, cook and eat a lot of rice. Following are the basic rules for cooking rice by the traditional absorption method of boiling in a pot until all the water is gone.
• Tiger Rice: Also called Basmati, this rice has long, slender grains and originates in northern India. For every cup of rice, use two cups of water. Bring salted water to a boil; add rice and stir while boiling for one minute. Then cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to simmer for about 18 to 22 minutes. Fluff and serve.
• Whole grain Brown Rice: This rice is unprocessed and so it takes a little more water and longer to cook. Use two cups of rice for every 2 ½ cups of water. Add the rice to boiling, salted water. Then cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes until all the rice is absorbed.
• For any rice: one cup of uncooked rice equals about 3 ½ cups of cooked rice.
• For stir-frying rice in a wok, use cooked, day-old cold rice from the refrigerator.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|