Rice is one of the most loved staples across the world and goes well with almost all sorts of meats, curries, and vegetables. While cooking rice may look very easy on the surface, this is indeed an art. Whether you are cooking rice for the first time or for a special occasion, you would not like to end up with an uncooked or an overcooked rice dish for sure.
If you are not a Michelin Star or a third-generation cook, don’t try to replace measures with estimation. Getting the ratio of rice and water right is half the game while cooking rice. While more water can make the rice gooey, and less water can leave it uncooked, both of which can spoil the meal experience. Having a set measure for rice and water can save you from embarrassment in two ways: One, it can help you cook rice like a pro; Two, you will develop an inner measure of how many cups will be adequate for people you will be cooking for.
Not all rice also is equal (read: knowing your rice) and that is a good thing. But you cannot cook all the rice varieties using the same method. While the aromatic and long grain rice requires a lot of washing and soaking precooking, rice meant for sushi, risotto, and porridge may not require the washing and soaking that dearly.
Wash long-grain rice multiple times, to remove extra starch, and soak it for an hour before cooking. This will reduce the cooking time and make your cooked rice fluffy and aromatic.
Traditionally, rice has been cooked (boiled) with the absorption method, wherein the formation of steam pockets is instrumental in doing the cooking. A vessel with a thick bottom that can be covered to retain steam inside is ideal for cooking rice, as it ensures even heat distribution. A thin bottom pan can lead to uneven cooking and burn the rice resting at the bottom.
Cooking rice is an art as well as a science. Once you have got the ratios and preparing the rice right, the next two critical things are timing and patience. The temptation to lift the lid and even put in a spatula while cooking rice can be very high. Disturbing the rice while cooking can release the steam and result in poorly cooked rice.
Rice is a delicate grain and tastes best when cooked slowing and in steam (it includes the Dum Biryani too). Cooking on high heat can result in unevenly cooked or burnt rice (both of which are undesirable). The most frequently used trick is to bring the liquid and soaked rice to boil and then simmer it before covering it with a lid.
Thumb Rule: Rice is best cooked on a simmered flame. You can add a little oil or a teaspoon of lemon juice to make non-sticky and whiter rice.
So next time you cook rice, we are sure you are going to surprise everyone with your culinary skills.