Power and versatility in an itty-bitty grain
Rice is a very powerful and versatile staple ingredient used by many cultures the world-renowned. It can be a simple side dish or the component of the main dish. I love using rice as a base for some of my beefy stews like my Easy, no-fuss Puerto Rican style beef stew.
Rice originated from China many thousands of years ago, it has been one ingredient that has followed empires, conquests, and colonizations the world over. Each country or culture giving this versatile ingredient their own unique touch as it moves around the world. In Puerto Rico for instance, rice was brought by the Spaniard colonizers. It was the African slaves who added their own flavor and ingredients combining with the local flavors the native Taino had to offer. Creating unique rice dishes. One of which is Rice and Pigeon Peas (Arroz con Gandules).
"Rice is the best, the most nutritive and unquestionably the most widespread staple in the world." ~ Auguste Escoffier
How to cook it
Here is a testament to rice versatility. There is one method that is mostly used in order to cook rice, boiling. But how you get to boiling is a different story. Some methods, like the knuckle method, have no measuring what so ever. The simplicity of this method is, pour rice in pot and level off. place index finger inside of the pot to just touch the top of the rice. Pour water in the pot to reach the first knuckle of the index finger. Bring water to boil and then reduce heat to simmer.
I have used this method in professional kitchens where I have to make pounds of rice at a time. And for some reason, this methods has worked incredibly well for me when I cook great quantities but I always find a way to second guess myself and mess it up when it comes to the one cup quantity.
Puerto Rican method
The Puerto Rican method of cooking rice is what I learned to cook as a child and the method I struggle the most. You would think I would have mastered it by now, but no such luck. Don't get me wrong, I am still able to make a great flavorful dish. It just doesn't come out as grainy as I wish it would. The method requires two cups of water per cup of rice. Very similar to many other grains. What I end up with is a clumpy concoction, that I end up turning into fried rice.
The one thing I do like about the Puerto Rican method is the amount of flavor that can be added. Clean rice under running water. Make sure water runs completely clear. Then, begins rendering the fat of tocino or salt pork (bacon could be used instead). Add onions and cook until translucent. Then, add your clean rice and quickly cover in the rendered fat. Add liquid and bring to a boil for about 5 minutes, then cover and lower the heat to a light simmer. Let cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Rice should be dry and grainy and beautiful, which is not the case for me. But I am not letting this defeat me or define me. I will continue to learn this recipe until it works for me. Updates on this as I work on it later.
Craig's magnificent Rice recipe
I will be the first to admit that rice is not my strongest recipe. The fact that I come from an island where rice is eaten religiously every day has made me feel a bit inadequate in the past. To the point that I have somewhat removed rice from my menu. I only cook it when I have to. My husband Craig loves rice, and he makes a great cup of rice. At this point, I evaluated our strenghts and when we want rice, he makes it.
To be completely honest, Craig made this rice for this recipe. I followed his instructions as he stood by me guiding me. Love my Craig!
This is the recipe you can print down below. Very easy white rice. Basic recipe that will easily accompany any entree and turn it into a complete meal. Out of this recipe I made Rice pudding, and it came out flawless. I am great at turning rice into something else ????.
This recipe is for one cup of rice. One cup of rice feeds 2-4 people. Measure out one cup of rice and place it in a mesh strainer. Allow water to run through the rice. We want to remove the dusty starch buildup that sits on the grains. Washing removes some of the stickiness that will occur during cooking. Fill a saucepot with 1 ¼ cups of water, add rice, and bring to a boil for five minutes. Cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let the pot rest on the burner for about 15 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork and enjoy.
Rice leftover ideas
Another versatility statement; the way rice can be transformed to become something else. I love to dabble in other countries cuisines, but when I really want to eat something from a different place I rather go to a restaurant or order take out. Ordering Chinese food at home means I will end up with a small box of this magical ingredient. Which I then turn into something else.
Here are some suggestions on what to do with leftover white ricePrint
This is a simple recipe which ironically has taken me some time to master. I guess it is so simple, I mess it up? Actually, my husband Craig makes rice this way, and it always turns out well. Nice and fluffy grains that do not stick together. A great accompaniment for many dishes.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 25
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- Category: Recipe
- Method: Boiling
- one cup Rice
- 1 ¼ cup Water or a flavorful stock if rice will not be
- salt and pepper to taste
This is based on a ratio. 1 cup of rice to 1 ¼ cups of liquid. For every cup of rice add 1 ¼ cup of liquid.
- Take the cup of rice and run it through running water while tossing the rice with fingers. Look for any possible stones or undesirable particles. Take this time to make sure the rice is clean. Run water until water runs clear.
- Measure out 1 ¼ cup of water or stock. Again, it depends on the application. If making rice for a sweet treat like rice pudding use water since it will maintain a neutral profile on the rice. Pour liquid into a saucepot or saucepan. Add rice
- Bring water to boil and let boil for about 5 minutes.
- Turn of the burner. Leave the pot on the stove and cover. Let rice rest for 15 minutes.
- Washing the rice eliminates some of the added starch from the rice grains bouncing off of each other from processing and from just being used. There is still starch inside the grain itself that will expand as it cooks.
- Allow the rice to sit for the 15 minutes and do not turn or "fluff" until the rest time has expired.
Keywords: White Rice