Rice Rice Rice

Cutting stalks at noontime.  Perspiration drips to the earth.  Know you that your bowl of rice each grain from hardship comes? ” ~ Chang Chan-Pao

I am Chinese so I must be able to cook rice.

Growing up, the Mumsy always cooked rice. Now that I don’t live with the Parentals anymore, I have to cook rice when I want to eat it. You may think that it’s a really simple thing to do and it actually is but for someone who’s never done it, it can be rather daunting. Especially when the Mumsy always churned out perfectly cooked rice. I have become extremely fussy about rice.

Perfectly cooked rice is when each rice grain still holds its shape after being cooked all the way through. This means it’s not mushy and clumpy. Mushy, clumpy rice is disgusting. If that happens to your rice, add a lot more water to it and let it boil slowly on the stove, stirring constantly till you get porridge.

After consulting the Mumsy and doing a little research, I’ve come up with what I deem is the best way of cooking rice so it’s perfect everytime. So easy too! You do it in the microwave! We never had a rice cooker and I do not understand the concept of boiling rice on the stove. The Mumsy always cooked rice in the microwave.

Why bother with another space-wasting appliance in the kitchen? Everyone these days has a microwave right? I use a cheap little claypot I found at some random ghetto shop. It costs me $4. So any microwave safe container with a lid that allows some steam to escape will do.

Gg's cheap little claypot

The key to getting fluffy, grainy cooked rice is the water to rice ratio. 1.5:1. The Mumsy says 1:1 but then she cooks the rice with the lid off and adds water after 10 minutes of cooking if she feels the rice is too dry; then cooks it for another 5 minutes with the lid on. Some sites I read say 2:1 but that produced mushy rice. So, I tried 1.5:1 and I got perfect rice.

If you’re apprehensive cooking rice for the first time, I think it is better to start with lesser water. This means that if the rice turns out too dry, you can do what the Mumsy does and just add a bit more water before microwaving for another 5 minutes. I also like soaking my rice first to get rid of some of the starch.

Soaking the rice

Leftover rice, kept in the fridge up to a week in an airtight container is great for fried rice. This is what I do when I randomly want to cook fried rice but have no leftover rice sitting in the fridge. I cook rice the usual way (see recipe below) but for 15 instead of 12.5 minutes, chuck the cooled rice into the fridge, uncovered; for as long as possible before frying it.You want a dryer rice when cooking fried rice so it absorbs seasonings better and you do not end up with wet, mushy fried rice.

Should you think plain white rice is boring, substitute some water for a stock of your choice, add some butter, soy sauce or spices into the water or even raisins, cranberries, cooked ginkgo nuts, wolfberries, etc.

Soya sauce-flavoured rice cooked for fried rice

FYI, save the water from soaking and washing the rice to water your plants if you have any. A tip I learnt from the Mumsy and my grandma. The starch and trace amount of minerals (nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus) in the water are beneficial to plants.

Gg’s Perfect Steamed Rice Recipe:
(serves 2)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Soak rice in tap water for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain and wash (use your hand to gently swish the rice around in the water). Repeat process until the water is clear.
  3. Drain as much water as possible during the final draining.
  4. Add reserved tap water. Make sure all the rice is covered by water.
  5. Cover with lid and microwave for 12.5 minutes.
  6. Leave rice in the microwave to sit and rest UNDISTURBED for another 5 to 10 minutes.
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