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The Bruin Gastronomer: A perfect pot of rice

(Photo by Keaton Larson/Daily Bruin, photo illustration by Emily Dembinski/Illustrations director)

By Keaton Larson

Oct. 6, 2020 6:01 p.m.

Cooking in college can be daunting. The Bruin Gastronomer aims to give students the knowledge and tools to cook affordable, simple and delicious meals that will fill brains and bellies alike.

A Perfect Pot of Rice

Rice is the ultimate food when you’re feeling lazy and hungry.

A rice stir fry is easy to whip up for dinner if you have veggies lying around and an otherwise plain plate of rice can easily be topped with a chicken breast or a fried egg for additional protein.

Cooking rice takes longer than some students might expect; but on the bright side, the process is fairly uninvolved. Long and medium-grain white rice will take about 15 minutes to cook while brown rice will take about 30 to 35 minutes.

Pro tip: I often cook more rice than I need for any one meal and keep the rest in the fridge for later in the week.

Ingredients

1 cup of dry rice (type is based on your preference)

2 cups of water

All you need to make the perfect batch of rice is a pot with a lid or a rice cooker, your favorite type of rice – I prefer brown because it’s higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals – water and a bowl or strainer.

Rice may need more or less water to properly cook depending on the grain. However, a general rule is a 1:2 ratio. In other words, for every one cup of rice, use two cups of water.

A Kroger five-pound bag of long grain rice at Ralph’s is about $3. You won’t find many cheaper items to fill your plate.

Instructions

  1. There are two crucial steps to making rice that most new cooks don’t know. The first step: you have to rinse the rice. To do this, add 1 cup of rice to a bowl and cover it with water. Then, swirl the rice around in the bowl with your fingers until the water starts to look cloudy. Cup your hand at the edge of the bowl so you don’t dump the rice in the sink, and drain the cloudy water through your fingers. Repeat this step until the water is clear – no more than seven times.
  2. Once you have finished rinsing the rice, place it in a pot and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. When the whole surface of the water – not just the sides – is bubbling, stir the rice with a spatula to remove any grains that may be sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cover with a lid and turn the stove to low heat.
  3. Let the rice sit on the stove for the time allotted on the bag of rice. If there are no specifications, just follow the general times I mentioned earlier. Reminder: It will take about 15 minutes for white rice and 30 minutes for brown rice. You may be wondering how the rice is doing, but do not remove the lid or touch the pot – just let the grainy goodness cook.
  4. After you have waited the correct amount of time, turn the stove off and let the rice sit, with the lid still on, for 10 to 15 minutes. This waiting period is the second crucial step many people don’t realize. This will allow the rice to gain the fluff we all love rather than the clumpy, mushy texture that may arise if stirred right away.
  5. After the rice rests, you’re all done, and what you want to add from there is up to you. Taste and add salt if you think the rice needs it. You can also drizzle in olive oil or a mixture of two to three sprigs of minced cilantro, 1 tablespoon of butter and fresh lime juice for cilantro-lime rice. You can also add different spices and herbs such as basil, thyme, parsley and oregano to dress up the dish. The options are endless, so experiment how you want!
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Keaton Larson
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