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Monday, October 13, 2008

Questions Answered Here

Kristine asked about rice and pilafs. I was going to answer in the comments, but then thought of my 12 faithful readers, and how you may also want to know about the mysteries of rice. I do have a warning, though, because apparently Arabs have a rice cooking gene. I never knew rice was tricky until I was an adult and other people talked about it.

So, here is how I make basic white rice: put the rice in a pot, cover it with water to about a knuckle's length above the rice, add salt, oil or butter if you like, and bring to a boil, uncovered. Let it boil a minute until you see little wormholes to the bottom of the pan, but there's still lots of water, cover and reduce the heat to low, cooking for 15 minutes. edited to add: Let it sit with the heat off for a few minutes while you finish the rest of dinner. Fluff it up and serve. You can also do this with chicken broth instead of water, reducing the salt as necessary. If you really want it fluffy, rinse the raw rice in cold water and drain several times until the water runs clear. Or not. Brown rice is similar, except you need to cook it longer, about three times as long.

The most basic pilaf you can make is just to chop up some onion, finely, and saute it in butter or oil until it is tender, then stir in the rice and saute it until it releases its fragrance, then cover with liquid and salt as above and cook. From here, you can add garlic, lemon zest, herbs, spices, other vegetables, different broths, whatever you want. I tend to add garlic, peppers/celery/longer cooking vegetables and whole spices during the time I saute the onions, fresh herbs, zest, ground spices and quick cooking vegetables after I add the liquid. I sometimes add toasted pine nuts or almonds, but I do that at the very end.

I haven't made this in a while, but I used to do the whole cinnamon stick, onions, raisins and toasted nuts thing with my rice occasionally. Indian people do something similar with the aforementioned and coconut, sometimes cooking the rice in coconut milk. Use the blonde raisins for this. Iranians and Iraqis make a pilaf with a potato crust on the bottom, which is wonderful, but time consuming.

How's that for an answer?

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That is an awesome answer, thank you soooooo much. I'm slowly working into cooking rice and pilafs and curries as a way to sneak veggies into my reluctant fiance, and this gives me some WONDERFUL suggestions to break away from the nasty packaged options and start building my own.

Thank you thank you THANK YOU! :)
Is it terrible that I use a rice cooker? I have made rice on occasion but with the rice cooker there is less room for error. And I can do fun things with it once it is done cooking. I guess I have to start little, I get so many ideas from you.
Yes. I believe you actually get sent to hell for using a rice cooker.

Just kidding. There is an article out there on cooking entire meals in your rice cooker. I've never felt it was necessary to have one, but, I know lots of people do.
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