Hi y’all! Hope you are having a good week. We have been super busy on the farm planting rice and soybeans, and building levees in our rice so we have the ability to hold the flooded water for the season. Our corn is complete and it is coming up in the warm sunshine we have had. Today I am writing about some simple rice cooking tips and tricks. I sure don’t claim to be an expert but I cook ALOT OF RICE!!
When it comes to cooking rice the first thing you must ask yourself is what kind do you want? There are so many different types of rice. Here in Arkansas the predominate type we grow is long grain indica rice. Indica is also the predominate type of rice grown in the world. It is grown in hot climates and the kernels tend to break easier but the grains are not as sticky as the other types. These include japonica which is grown in California and aromatic types of jasmine and basmati that are grown in Thailand and Pakistan/India respectively. We also grow medium grain in Arkansas and it is primarily used in further processed items such as cereals and treats that are made with melted marshmallows. However, southern medium grain is delicious in rice pudding!
I store my rice in an airtight container. As you might imagine we eat a great deal of rice!! I buy it 3-4 pounds at a time and have a container for each type of rice. We mainly eat long grain white rice or long grain brown rice with some aromatic jasmine when we can find US grown. As a rice farmer I am adamant that we only eat US rice. I most often embarrass my family or friends when we are at a restaurant and I ask if the rice on the menu is US grown. If rice is not listed on the menu I usually as why not? It is always surprising that people do not know we grow rice in the US! I feel it is my personal mission to make sure they do. So now that YOU know make sure you are buying it. You can check the package for this logo below and support US farmers.
I was always a stove top rice preparer. Not sure why because my Mom usually baked it. That’s just the way I have always cooked rice. I would even argue it was the BEST way. It is simple and as long as you measure your rice and water and DO NOT open the lid while it is cooking it does come out perfect every time! If the steam escapes it can not be absorbed into the rice and may cause it to not be fully cooked. In my opinion there is nothing worse than partially cooked rice. For basic long grain white rice the rice to water is a 1:2 ratio. 1 cup uncooked rice to 2 cups water. I usually add a dash of salt in the water and no oil or butter but you certainly could. Bring the water to a rolling boil and immediately upon achieving a boil pour in the rice, give it a stir and put on the tight-fitting lid. Turn your heat down to simmer for about 15 minutes, remove from heat for another 5 or until the rice is soft and the water is absorbed. Simple as that! When preparing long grain brown rice you use the same amounts but it takes longer. Simmer for 35-45 minutes and remove from heat for 5 minutes.
NOW I have the most fantastic rice cooker! We received this as a gift a few years ago and the rice – no matter the type or amount is PERFECT every time. This is my go to wedding gift for new couples! Aren’t you surprised?? Mine is a Japanese brand (and no I am not getting paid to promote this cooker!) and I have actually seen it in a larger version on a buffet in Tokyo, Japan. The Japanese people know how to cook and eat rice and they eat it every meal. This cooker is made to cook the rice and hold it warm for hours without changing the consistency of the rice. Therefore it is great when you are cooking for a crowd or trying to finish up cooking the rest of your meal.
For other ways to prepare rice such as in the microwave and information about other types of rice cooking go to http://www.riceland.com/pages/rice-cooking-instructions/
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
Early in the week I asked on all my social platforms for your questions and how you cooked your rice. I was amazed to read that many of you use your pressure cooker or newly named instant pot to cook rice. I am so excited about this method and hope to buy one of these appliances in the near future. Or maybe I will receive one for Mother’s Day. You might send a hint out to a kid I know. From what I understand you can cook the rice and the rest of your meal and /or meat at the same time. This sounds so interesting to me! I love that so many of you are having rice at your family meals. Did you know you are influencing your kids tastes and preferences for rice just by serving it? Thank you! If you have any suggestions on the size appliance I should buy send me a comment. Many of you told me to get the larger size InstaPot. AND ALSO SEND THOSE RECIPES!! I may try some of them out on the blog in the future.
Questions that you sent were do you rinse your rice or not before cooking it. I actually wasn’t sure because my cooker says to rinse the rice. One very knowledgeable lady commented that it will rinse off the nutrients. I had always heard it makes the rice less sticky to rinse it. So lets take a look at to rinse or not to rinse? The Japanese brand rice cooker instructions say to rinse but I think it says to rinse because many Japanese families grow and mill their own rice. In that instance the rice has not been fortified; a process by which white rice has nutrients added back to the kernel after milling.
US white rice is fortified after milling and if we rinse it, those minerals go down the drain. If you want to keep the nutrients then do not rinse white rice or you can use brown rice. However rinsing does make the rice less sticky. Which leads me to my next question – How do you cook rice to be fluffy and not sticky? The easiest way is to use parboiled rice. Parboiled rice is rice that has been soaked, steamed and dried IN the husk and then it is milled. When cooked the kernels do not stick together. This is perfect for rice salads, rice that will be on a buffet or if you simply prefer non sticky rice.
What other questions do you have about cooking rice? I would love to hear them. I learned a few things myself in researching for this post.
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