January 26, 2010


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Where I come from, you haven't eaten until you've had your rice. Put out bread for us and we'll nibble down a piece as an appetizer, but rice, that's real people food. In our family, we just can't eat rice everyday. In fact, usually about once a week...twice at best. But when I eat, somewhere deep inside me I feel a contentment knowing that now, now I'm eating real food.

That being said, rice can be tricky to make, or maybe it was just tricky for me. When I first got married I refused to use a rice cooker as my crutch. But after throwing out many, many shameful pots of blackened and burned rice I had to temporarily resort to a rice cooker and it did us well, alhamdulillah. After I got comfortable with cooking in general I took another stab at it and can now say that, masha'Allah, I think I've got it and would love to pass on my time-tested tips with you all.

First, make sure to rinse and soak your rice for about 15 minutes. Over time you'll find some rice needs more and some are fine without it. But to start off with, it never hurts to give a good washing to your rice. Don't let it soak too long as it'll become too sticky while it cooks.

Next you'll need to make sure to use a heavy bottomed pot to ensure even cooking and that the bottom layer doesn't burn or cook before the rest of the rice is done cooking. Before adding your rice to the pot, head up a little oil in it and swish around. This is also your chance to add any speasonings to your rice: minced onion, garlic, garam masala, turmeric, ground cumin, tomato paste, etc. Add your drained rice and allow everythign to cook together for about a minute, constantly stirring the rice. You'll notice the rice turn a bit chalky in color, at this point add your cooking liquid. I usually use water but stock is a great way to add another layer of flavor to your rice. Use 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice (example: 2 cups rice and 4 cups liqud. Cover pot and turn heat on high. Wait until liquid reches a boil and allow to boil for about a minute. After a minute turn your heat down on a very low heat, less than a simmer, and let cook until rice3 is cooked through. Depending on how much rice you're cooking this will take anywhere from 20 minutes to 40 minutes. Rice cooked on low heat for a longer time results in softer, tender grains.

The important thing here is to keep a tight lid on your pot. What I do to ensure this is invert a metal bowl (or any other heat proof bowl) on top of the lid and then stack a heavy object on top. Usually a huge jar of spaghetti sauce or another pot filled with canned beans, etc. It may sound funny (and looks even funnier!) but trust me, this creats a very tight seal and ensures very little steam will escape.

If your rice is too soft in the end, remove from heat and uncover. It'll loose some moisture and "dry up" as it cools down. If it's too hard and not cooked through, add more water and continue to cook until tender.

Rice is one of those things that becomes very personal and in time you'll develop your own unique tips to making it perfect for you and your family, insha'allah.

1 comment:

  1. Assalmu Alaikum! =) We soak rice for atleast 30 to 45 minutes. Comes out well, alhamdulillah. =)


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