Saturday, August 7, 2010

How to cook rice

The crowded kitchen
As the kids get older they are no longer satisfied staying on the other side of the kitchen counter. As a result, the kitchen is getting crowded and I couldn't be happier.
I will be using this space to list some basic recipes, family favourites, and ideas for quick meals for their reference.

The easiest and quickest meal, I think, is varan-bhaat. Especially if both the rice and the daal is cooked at the same time in the pressure cooker. The downside of this approach is that the rice is almost invariably overcooked because of the difference in the cooking times for the daal and the rice.
This is one reason why I prefer to cook rice in a pot. The other reason is that the excess water and starch can be drained off from the pot!
Though this post talks of white rice I hope to update it soon with information about brown and red rice. This post is very much a work in progress.

1 cup rice (Basmati, ambemohar, or sona masuri)
2 cups (or more) water

Wash the rice in several changes of water.
If you have time, soak the rice for a couple of hours.

**Pressure cooker method (results in a stickier rice)
Add about 2 ½ cups water to the pressure cooker.
In a pan/ pot that fits inside the pressure cooker add the rice and water (1:2 proportion)
Put on the whistle and pressure cook for 1-2 (not more) whistles.
Allow the pressure to come down (7-8 minutes) before you open the pressure cooker.

**Pan method
In a pan add the rice and enough water to cover the rice and then some more.
Cook over medium-high heat for approx 8-10 minutes.
Drain the excess water, cover the pan with the lid and leave undisturbed for 4-5 minutes.
Fluff with a fork.

While such a rice is perfectly fine as an accompaniment to amti or daal sometimes what you need is just plain fluffy rice where each grain stands apart, phad-phadeet bhaat as we say in Marathi.
If cooked in a pan the rice grains do not stick to each other as much, but for me this is a hit-or-miss sort of thing. So when I need rice for a pulao-type dish such as this one here is what I do:

Wash the rice (preferably Basmati) in several changes of water.
Add enough water to cover the rice and set aside for several hours or at least one hour.
Drain the rice.
To a pot add the rice and three times as much boiling water.
Cook over high heat for exactly 10 minutes.
Drain the water.
Add about ⅛ cup water and ½ tsp butter for each cup of rice, give a gentle stir, cover with a kitchen towel and put the lid on.
Leave undisturbed for about 15 minutes.
Fluff with a fork and serve!

This results in phad-phadeet bhaat each time.

This is my entry for Jaya's Back to Basics event.
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