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How to Cook Rice - Easily and Perfectly

ByBusinessmatters Staff | Updated: May 13, 2024
ByBusinessmatters Staff
Updated: May 13, 2024
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Cooking perfect rice is like mastering a classic American road trip: it requires preparation, a bit of patience, and a knack for following directions to reach a delightful destination. Yotam Ottolenghi hit the nail on the head by saying rice could be the star of the show or an excellent sidekick. From sushi to risotto and everything in between, nailing the rice is your first step on a culinary journey that opens up a world of flavors.

01. Start With a Clean Slate: Rinse Your Rice
01.
Start With a Clean Slate: Rinse Your Rice
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First things first, regardless of the rice type gracing your dish, give it a good rinse. Much like brushing off the dust from a long journey, washing rice removes any impurities and excess starch. This simple act keeps your rice from turning into a sticky mess, setting the stage for a flawless dish.

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02. White Rice: Keeping It Simple
02.
White Rice: Keeping It Simple
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The secret to superb white rice lies in the ratio – two parts water to one part rice. Boil water, season with a pinch of salt, introduce your rice, and give it a stir to avoid clumping. Then, let it simmer under a lid. Once the water's all soaked up, you’ve hit the jackpot, and your rice is ready to impress.

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03. The Art of Fluffing
03.
The Art of Fluffing
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Chefs often mention fluffing rice, and it’s crucial not to mix this up with stirring. After your initial stir, leave the rice be to avoid activating the starch, which leads to mush. Post-cooking, fluffing with a fork lets your rice breathe, shedding any extra moisture for that perfect texture.

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04. Don’t Skip the Steam
04.
Don’t Skip the Steam
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Steaming isn't just an extra step; it's the secret sauce. After cooking, let your rice sit tight for about 10 minutes. This patience pays off, infusing each grain with flavor and achieving that coveted texture. Then, fluff and serve to applause.

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05. The Brown Rice Challenge
05.
The Brown Rice Challenge
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Brown rice plays by its own rules, demanding a 1.5 to 1 water-to-rice ratio and a longer cook time. Start uncovered, then simmer covered, letting it finish off in its own steam. This method unlocks the nutty flavor and wholesome texture unique to brown rice.

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06. Sushi Rice: A Delicate Dance
06.
Sushi Rice: A Delicate Dance
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Sushi rice takes the basic formula but ends with a twist. After cooking, season it with a blend of rice vinegar, salt, and sugar. This final touch transforms the rice into the sticky foundation essential for rolling up your favorite sushi delights.

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07. Picking Sides: Long Grain vs. Short Grain
07.
Picking Sides: Long Grain vs. Short Grain
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Choosing between long and short grain rice is like selecting the right dance partner: each brings its own style. Short grain, including sushi and arborio rice, is all about that stickiness and softness, ideal for dishes needing cohesion. Long grain rice, think basmati or jasmine, prefers to keep things light and separate, perfect for dishes rich in sauce.

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08. The History of Rice
08.
The History of Rice
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Rice's journey to your plate is a tale as old as time, beginning in China around 2500 B.C.E., and weaving through cultures and continents to become a global staple. With the U.S. now producing over 100 varieties, rice’s history is as rich as its taste.

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09. A Bowl Full of Benefits
09.
A Bowl Full of Benefits
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Contrary to diet fads, rice is a powerhouse of nutrients, offering essential carbs for energy and a slew of benefits from controlling diseases to being a gluten-free source of fiber. Like any good thing, moderation is key, along with a balanced diet.

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10. Rice by the Numbers
10.
Rice by the Numbers
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Rice isn't just a crop; it's a global phenomenon. Second only to corn in production, it's a universal constant, except in Antarctica. From artistic feats on a single grain to being a dietary mainstay across cultures, rice’s impact is both vast and intimate.

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The Final Words
The Final Words

Cooking rice isn't just about following steps; it's about embracing a tradition that spans millennia, cultures, and cuisines. Whether it's the simplicity of perfectly steamed rice or the complexity of a dish that dances on your palate, mastering rice is your ticket to a world of culinary adventures. So grab your pot and embark on this flavorful journey.

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