By Robin Forbes
Cooking Brown Rice - Plain White - Perfection - Paella - Short Grained Rice - Risotto Tips
are many ways people across the world cook their rice. From plain
boiled rice to Paella, in this article we will describe how to cook
different types of rice, desribe some of the different varieties and
include a desriptions of preparation methods.
comes in a variety of shapes and colors, but the main categories are;
long grain, short grain, white rice and brown. Long grain is the most
common in the US, Europe and Asia.
eat it boiled, plain, or with vegetables, meats and sauces. If you ever
go for a ‘Curry’ or ‘Chinese’ this is what you generally eat as a side
popular dishes are egg fried rice and pilaff rice. Egg Fried Rice is
plain boiled rice which is then recooked with egg, peas and a little
soy sauce. Pilaf is rice cooked with whole spices and stock to make a
fragrant side dish.
There are many ways of cooking rice, but the standard way is to boil it with plain water.
Plain White Method
you cook any rice it needs to be washed well first. This removes dirt
from the field and excess starchy dust. Some polished rice has talc
added and this should definintely be rinsed thoroughly. Use three
quarters to one cup per person and add to a tall sided pan. Fill the
pan with water to double the level of the rice and bring to the boil
for 15 mins, or until all the water is gone and the rice is light and
fluffy. Cooking this way provides a base for various other dishes , if
you find it a bit boring there are many ways of improving it.
preference is the traditional Persian style where you start off by
soaking washed rice for 3 to 5 hours, then using a tall sided pan add
the rice and three times the amount of water as there is rice. Bring to
the boil and cook it for around 8 minutes or until the rice is firm and
slightly ‘al dente’, drain and put back into the pan. Add 100ml of
water and 20 grams of butter over the top of the rice and steam for
another five or six minutes or until all the water has evaporated. The
resulting rice is fluffy and delicious. To
aid the drying out; actually to stop condensed water from dripping back
on to the rice, you should cover the lid with a dishcloth.
Traditionally the Iranian wa
would also include browning the base of the rice, producing a delicious
golden crusty layer which is then broken up and served up on a separate
plate. Quite often saffron is used to add flavour and colour.
traditional eastern style uses stocks and spices. This is from India.
Start with Half an onion and 2 cloves of garlic, both finely chopped,
add any spices you want, Cardamom and Star Anis are the two most often
used in pilaf rice, note that they should be left whole so they can be
removed once cooked. Using a tall sided pan add 30ml of vegetable oil
and fry the onion and spices until soft, then add the rice and fry for
a further 2 mins. Add twice as much stock as rice and cook until all
the liquid has been absorbed.
Cooking Brown Rice
rice, or rice which has not had its outer coating removed is becoming
more popular as the health benefits of fibre in one's diet are becoming
more widely recognised. All forms of rice have had the husk removed but
white rice has been further processed or milled to take off the outer
layers of the grain. Some white rice goes through a polishing process
which further removes the vitamis and minerals.
I cook it as for white rice but extend the times to thirty five minutes
or so. Some suggest adding more water than the two to one ratio,
however to retain the nuttiness I enjoy I tend to limit it to exactly
two measures of water to one of rice.
recognising that brown rice takes longer to cook, and using any of the
methods used for white rice will result in success, even the cook and
drain method used for Persian style Basmati ~ but with the initial
boiling period extended to twenty five minutes.
Brown Rice is an acquired taste but I now prefer it to other forms. In our home it has become the default way we eat rice.
of our readers sugested adding finely chopped onions from the start and
this results in a more fragrant and tasty rice, as does using stock
rather than plain water. As I write this there is some such leftovers
in the refrigerator (it can keep for up to three days).
you have it, tastier and more nutritious ~ outer layers of brown rice
are rich in vitamins and minerals ~ so important these days ~ try it a
few times and I suspect that like me you will stay with brown rice. The
health benefits of wholefoods such as brown rice are considerable,
longer life expectancy, reduced chance of cancer to name a couple.
pictures show long grained mixed grain rice cooked in the persian style
with saffron and added browned rice from the bottom of the pan (tadig).
The mixed rice is shown in its uncooked state in the image at the top
of the page; a mix of red, brown and wild or black rice. In the final
picture you can see the finished product with saffron and Tadig added,
some white rice has been added to make it more familiar and acceptable
to our guests.
Short Grain Rice
Short grain rice is used in several popular dishes in Europe; from
paella to risotto and even in rice pudding. It is usually cooked with
stocks or cream and is creamy and nutty in taste. Paella is a Spanish
dish originally from Valencia but there are many variations to it
across the world. Valencia paella is a mixture of seafood and rabbit
but it can vary cosiderably region to region and you too have the
choice of ingredients as you are the one who will be eating it!
The main ingredient of Paella is the rice; once you have mastered
cooking that part of the dish you are well on the way to be a Paelliera
(OK I made up the word I confess but it does sound right to me)
by roasting some chicken legs (or rabbit if you like) also roast some
red and yellow peppers, peel and deseed them and slice into strips. Add
some onion, garlic and chilli into a nice big paella pan or wide frying
pan, and fry till soft in plenty of olive oil. Calasparra is the name
of the most commonly used Spanish paella rice. it is similar in its
appearance and its absorptive qualities to risotto rices but I prefer
the texture to the Italian versions, add to the pan and fry for a few
The stock should have the
saffron added after it has come off the boil, if you are new to saffron
be very sparing indeed, as, if used in excess it will make the dish
bitter. Saffron can be soaked in a few tablespoons of hot but not
boiling water and then added to the cooling stock. -
Gently add about a third of the heated stock and allow it to become
fully absorbed, then pour in the rest and add the chicken and as the
seafood. Remember that the rice is the main attraction and do not
overdo the other ingredients. I would use prawns, mussells, cockles,
lobster, swordfish or shark and squid. Add the sliced roasted peppers
and cover with foil, then put in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for
about half an hour or until the stock has been absorbed. Never, but never ever
use the Tartrazine saffron substitute. It may be yellow, but it
detracts from the taste, rots your guts and the alum enhanced coloring
causes behavioural and development problems in children.
can be soaked in a few tablespoons of hot but not boiling water. Give
it at least 20 minutes, it can be left overnight if you want to extract
more of the flavour and color.
Risotto Tips: -
Don't settle for any Risotto rice, there are
several varieties, my favorite is Carnaroli. it is less sticky than Arborio and
it usually tastes more like the rice I am used to. My local store stocks Vialone
Nano risotto rice which is similar in texture but is shorter and the ones I have tried
have been a bit blander than the others. ~~ Scott Ed
Other rices to use for Risotto are; Baldo, Roma or Arborio.
Viale Nano can also be used in Minestrone soup and is the best one to use in
timbales (dry rice dishes). Carnarole takes a little longer to cook; 18-20
minutes whereas Viale Nano is ready in 14-15 minutes.
Risotto (and Paella): When making Risotto you must have the
stock pre-heated so as not to interrupt the cooking process and the stock should
be added gradually while gently stirring. If using wine it should be added before the stock. As with Paella, the rice should be gently fried before adding the
stock, a little onion, herbs and spices should be added before the rice and be
patient when adding the stock. Slowly does it and test continuously. Remember
that rice will continue to cook after heat is taken away so stop before it is fully
cooked. ~~ S. Ed
Did you know that it was Alexander the Great who brought rice back to Europe?
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