Recipe Adventure – Making Rice

I’m sad to say that, despite my many kitchen skills, I have a terrible time making rice. I know part of the problem currently is the terrible induction range I have at home, but my problem predates my current living situation. The most common solution I have been offered is “get a rice cooker,” but I’m picky about which uni-taskers get a place in the kitchen.

However! I refuse to be beaten by a monocot! I persevere, striving for a method that yields satisfactory rice without unreasonable hassles. Hence, I was delighted to come up on a very promising recipe. (I may have been convinced by the way that the rice packages in the original post remind me of Portland’s Pok Pok.)

The method is simple enough: rinse the grain, simmer it in a large quantity of water until almost the right texture, drain off the water and let the residual moisture steam the rice to perfection. Despite involving a lot of steps, none of them are complicated, and it solves my ‘never the right amount of water’ problem.

I attempted this method using about a cup of dry long-grain white rice and my red dutch oven. I think it’s a 6 quart. I rinsed the rise much more aggressively than I normally do, then put it in the pan with several inches of water. It came to a boil quickly (my range does bring the heat, at least), and the rice was tender enough within under 10 minutes. Faster than I expected, honestly. Next time I’ll have to watch it a little more closely. I drained it and let it steam while heating the totally lazy, pre-packaged chana masala I was going to eat with it.

For your entertainment, the instructions and warnings from the back of the package (actually the palak paneer package, because it was better to photograph):

1: “on the hob,” which is a legitimate, non-American thing to say, seemed really funny to me, despite the fact that this product is produced and packaged in India.
2: Why the warning about mustard seeds?
3: I did not heat it in the bag. That’s not a thing I do.

And the rice, after approximately 8 minutes of steaming:

Yep, that’s rice alright. And not bad rice, either!

My conclusions:

It’s fluffy, not super sticky, and slightly softer than I wanted (but I blame myself for that). And super bland. I think all the rinsing and dumping out the cooking water took all the flavor with it, unfortunately. Next time I’ll try it with some salt in the water, at the very least. The pan of rice was also a little wet on the very bottom, but I had some trouble draining it effectively after boiling, so I’m also going to chalk that one up to user error. All in all? I will be using the method again. It didn’t boil over (a common problem for me), it didn’t boil dry (another), there was no burning, and it was perfectly easy. I give it a thumbs up!

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