of the joys of living on a gluten-free diet is rice. Rice
has always been a staple in our family. My fathers Hawaiian
heritage provided our family with a certain way of eating
that included rice at every meal. As I grew up, I too, served
plain white rice at almost every meal. Rice seemed a natural
accompaniment to everything, including eggs for breakfast,
all meats, fish and vegetables, chili, stew and yes, even
There are so many ways to prepare rice from
boiling, steaming, baking, frying and an infinite number of
recipes originating from cultures all over the world. Asian,
Middle Eastern, Indian, Latin, Mediterranean, European and
American cultures all have unique ways of preparing this versatile
There seems to be much mystery about how
to correctly cook plain white rice. Anyone who comes from
a family where rice is a staple, probably has their own method
that has been passed on from mother to daughter, generation
to generation, and yes, I have mine.
(Every time, will never fail, no matter what) White Rice
The first layer of mystery that I will unravel
deals with the question, What is the correct ratio of
water to rice?" The answer is, "I have no idea".
My method requires no measuring cups and the rice will turn
Directions: Start with a heavy saucepan.
Le Creuset pans are perfect, Calphalon works well or my familys
favorite rice pot was and old cast iron pot with a heavy lid.
This was the rice pan and used for nothing else.
Add rice to the pan. As a guide, about 1 cup of uncooked rice
will serve 4 people.
I used to wash the rice before cooking by
filling the pan of rice with water, sloshing it around with
my hand and then tipping the pan and pouring the water out.
I would rinse in this way 4-5 times. This would remove most
of the starch that makes rice sticky. I think this was originally
done also because rice used to contain small rocks and in
some countries, even bugs. Todays packaged rice is clean
and the rinsing step serves only to reduce the starch. I also
find that my favorite type of rice when cooking plain rice,
is Jasmine. I have reduced the rinsing step to rinsing only
once or twice because I think too much rinsing compromises
the taste of Jasmine rice. I would probably omit this step
all together, except that old habits are hard to break.
Place the pan of rice under the faucet and
add enough cold water until the water reaches the first knuckle
of your extended finger just touching the top of the rice.
It doesnt matter how much rice you put in the pan, this
measurement will work every time. Place the pan on the stove
and add a couple pinches or shakes of salt. Bring to a boil.
Let the rice boil until all the water has cooked away and
small holes appear on the surface. Cover the pan and reduce
the heat to the lowest setting for 30 minutes. Do not under
any circumstance lift the lid until the rice is done. I actually
dont know if this would ruin the rice, but I have been
aptly warned by my ancestors to never, ever commit this crime,
and of course, I never will.
So there you have it. The secret to perfect
rice every time, regardless of how many servings.
Now lets explore a few rice recipes
that incorporate other ingredients and that require different
are one of our favorite rice preparations. Creamy and rich,
risotto is prepared in quite a different manner than other
rice dishes. Risottos begin by sautéing onions in oil
and then the rice, aborio, is added and sautéed until
the grains of rice turn opaque. A little wine is added and
cooked off to impart just a nuance and then hot chicken stock
is added in small amounts, simmered away and then added again
until the rice becomes creamy and still a little firm.
Pilaf begins the same way as risotto up
until the wine addition. Chicken stock and sometimes fruit
are added to the rice, then the pan is covered and cooked
at a low temperature for about 25 minutes. When the pilaf
is done, it is fluffed and fresh herbs and toasted nuts can
This month we have a spectacular risotto
with Fresh Mushrooms. This is a fabulous accompaniment
to any poultry entrée. Risotto
Pancakes is a great way to use leftover risotto,
if you should ever find yourself with leftover risotto. Our
recipe for Rice
Balls requires first boiling the rice then mixing
it with egg and cheese. The mixture is then formed into balls
and stuffed with soft mozzarella cheese, prociutto and basil
and then fried
delicious and a hit with children.
Try these great rice recipes to spice up
your side dish repertoire.
with Scallions & Pecans
and Rice Stuffing
Rice and Beans
Sausage & Vegetables
Rice with Ancho Chiles