White on Rice

This past Sunday, in case you didn’t know, was a national holiday. After 17 months, Mad Men is back on the air. The only appropriate thing to do then, of course, was to have an awesome party. My wonderful friend Carrie hosted, and we had a sort of fancied-up TV dinner. . . meatloaf (delicious!), succotash, apple pie (which I will be sharing with you on Friday) and white rice. Amazing, fluffy, sticky, satisfying white rice.

Why, hello there.

Rice is one of those foods that I am convinced should be very simple to make. It’s a staple. It’s a side dish. I can make pasta, which is like, rice’s best friend. But I can never ever get it right. It’s always crunchy. or soupy. or there’s a layer of burned gelatinous rice material on the bottom of my pot. So Carrie, who is from Hawaii, offered to show me her technique for making killer rice.

Step 1 is to choose your rice and measure it out into the pot. The type of rice is actually pretty important here. If you want something fluffy and sticky, you’ve got to get short grain rice (white or brown will do).  Then measure out your desired amount (we used 3 cups) and pour into your pot. Carrie used a pretty heavy dutch oven situation, but she has said that when she is making less rice, she uses a lighter pot without trauma.

Step 2: Wash your rice. This involves taking the pot of rice over to the sink and running water over it. Then swish your hand in there a little to sort of break up the starches. Then drain most of the water out (you won’t be able to get it all, of course, but do your best) and do it again. Carrie rinsed her rice three times.

Step 3: Add the water for cooking. Now, when you buy rice, or when I learned to make rice, there’s always some fairly elaborate mathematical formula for the amount of water you put in depending on the amount of rice you put in. Carrie bypasses all that with a very cool trick. Add water to your rice, an then sort of pat down the rice so it’s resting in a fairly even layer in the pot. Then stick your finger in so it’s just touching the top of the rice. The water should come up to your knuckle. How cool is that?

See how the water reaches her knuckle?

It’s worth mentioning that she used this test a few times, moving around the pot of rice, to make sure there weren’t pockets where the rice had piled up and confused the measurement.

Step 4: Bring your rice to a boil. Then add a hunk of butter, just to help everything along, cover it, and let it simmer.

butter!

Our rice simmered for probably close to half an hour, but you want to basically make sure all the water is gone. Then you can fluff your rice with a fork, just to make sure everything worked out evenly.

Fluffy!!

Seems pretty simple, right guys? I have to say, this was really perfect rice, and the ideal compliment to our meatloaf and succotash. Super 60’s tastic!

heaven.

On Friday, I’ll let you know about dessert :).

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4 responses

  1. I am unspeakably proud of you for unlocking the secrets of rice.

    A couple notes:

    1. I think the butter eliminates the need for this, but when the rice is done, I like to leave it in the pot with the lid on (no heat, obviously) for another 10 minutes or so. This somehow unsticks the rice from the bottom of the pot, probably through dark magic.

    2. I’m actually kind of partial to the crispy, toasted layer of rice on the bottom of the pot. (The aforementioned method helps you access it.) The Chinese have a word for it that I don’t remember because I’m the worst Chinese person, but to me it’s sort of a weird, crunchy treat, like chicken skin, or other things that get burned onto the bottom of pans that normal people don’t generally accept as food.

  2. I am unspeakably proud of your newfound rice skills!

    A couple notes:

    1. The butter usually eliminates the need for this, but if the rice sticks to the bottom of the pot, leave it alone with the lid on for about 10 minutes. This magically unsticks the rice from the bottom of the pot, probably through dark magic.

    2. I’m actually kind of partial to the crispy, toasted-on layer of rice at the bottom of the pan. The Chinese have a word for it that I don’t remember because I’m the worst Chinese person, but it’s like a crunchy, weird treat, like chicken skin, or other things that get burned onto pans that most people don’t consider actual food.

  3. Pingback: As American as. . . | lace and lemons

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