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How to Cook Rice

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Sausage Vegetable Risotto

Sausage Vegetable Risotto

Linda Larsen
Long grain rice cooks up most separate and fluffy if the grains are sauteed in a small bit of oil or butter until some of the grains start to look slightly translucent. Then add cold water (not hot) in the ratio of 1-1/2 cups liquid to 1 cup of rice. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover tightly, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Keep the cover on the pan, remove the pan from the heat, and let the rice stand for another 15 minutes to steam. Then fluff the rice with a fork.

You can cook rice in the microwave oven. Combine 1 cup rice with 1-3/4 cups liquid, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of butter in a 2 quart microwave safe baking pan. Cover the pan and cook on high for 5 minutes until the liquid boils. Reduce the setting to medium, or 50% power, and cook for 15-20 minutes (longer for parboiled rice) until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork. Brown rice should be cooked using the same technique, but cooking on medium for 30 minutes.

Brown rice is best cooked in more water, then drained if necessary when it's tender. I cover it generously with cold water or other liquid, then cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until rice is tender when you bite into it. If there is any liquid left over, drain it off. Then return the pan to very low heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, fluffing occasionally with a fork, to slightly steam the grains.

Basmati rice, if you can find true basmati, is really a treat. Many recipes call for rinsing or soaking the rice before cooking to rinse off surface starch, but I agree with America's Test Kitchen, in that unsoaked and unrinsed rice has more flavor and better consistency. Saute the rice in a bit of vegetable oil, then add water in the same ratio for long grain rice, then bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 17-18 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand to steam 10 minutes longer.

Risotto is a special method of cooking rice. Short or medium grain rice is first sauteed in oil or butter, then boiling liquid is added gradually, while stirring the mixture very frequently. This stirring helps loosen the outer surface of the rice, allowing more starch (amylopectin) to leak out into the sauce, making a creamy and rich dish. The rice is cooked until it's still firm but tender. I have made risotto with long grain white rice, with good success, so you can certainly use that rice if you prefer.

Sticky rice, or short grain or glutinous rice, is pretty easy to cook because it will naturally turn out sticky if cooked according to package directions. The challenge is to cook rice so the grains are tender and fluffy; sticky and creamy is easy!

Rice cookers are nice appliances that turn out whatever type of rice you like with no skill on your part whatsoever! If you cook a lot of rice, consider buying a rice cooker.

Rice Recipes

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