Rice is probably one of the most understood foods when it comes to cooking it.
Partly because there are different varieties and people can get confused as to which type to make.
White rice comes in different lengths which are labeled as long grain, medium grain, and short grain.
Long grain rice is light and fluffy when cooked, and usually three to four times longer than it is wide.
Medium grain rice has more of a tendency to stick together. The kernel is shorter, and wider than long grain.
Short grain rice is even shorter, and has a tendency to be very sticky, and can be very good for some Middle Eastern dishes and is most often used in sushi.
Each behaves slightly differently from the other, but essentially cooking is similar.
So what is rice?
- Perfect White Rice
- How to Make White Rice
- White Rice Recipe
- Common Rice Questions
It is the seed of a grass with the very formal name of oryza, which is where many languages have derived the current name from.
Rice is the most widely consumed staple food in much of the world, with the third highest production rate.
Of course there are many types of other rices that are certainly worth checking out as well.
All rice when harvested is covered in a hard shell known as the hull which needs to be removed before consumption.
This dehusking process is done at the milling stage where the rice grains are rubbed between two surfaces, the friction removes the hull from the outer layer of the rice revealing what is called brown rice.
Under the hull is the nutritious whole grain layer that can be consumed, but is removed when processing for white rice.
Once the whole grain layer is removed we are left with white rice which is most commonly consumed part of rice.
Inside the white rice kernel is the germ which is nutrient dense and full of B vitamins, protein, and minerals.
Perfect White Rice
The perfect rice consistency will depend a lot on the kind of rice that is being cooked.
Different types of rice are used in different dishes depending on the kind of food that is being made.
The perfect long grain white rice is tender, not too wet, with a warm and nutty flavor.
Separating the cooked rice with a fork is easily done, and the rice is cooked through so it is soft but not mushy.
A medium grain will be a bit more likely to stick to the other rice grains when cooked well, and short grain will definitely be sticky when cooked properly.
There are very few foods I like more than a lovely bowl of well cooked rice, and when cooked properly can be eaten on its own or with almost any topping and add a wonderful additional flavor to the dish at had.
Crunchy is something rice should not be, or too wet and soggy.
Some people cook rice in too much water and then drain it in a fine mesh sieve which leaves them with rice that tastes a lot like water, and all the good rice taste is gone, washed away in the water it was soaking in.
When making risotto which uses a short grain arborio rice the perfect rice is one that is al dente meaning firm to the bite in Italian.
This is a completely different way of cooking rice and one that is very gratifying when you end up with a lovely risotto.
How to Make White Rice
Place one cup of rice in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under water until the water runs clear.
Add rice to a medium saucepan, add one teaspoon of salt, and cover with two cups of cold water.
Bring to a boil with tight fitting lid, once boiling, remove the lid, reduce heat to keep water at a simmer.
Replace the lid, leaving a generous gap for steam to escape.
Some water will be absorbed by the rice, and some will boil off leaving a soft tender pot of rice.
Do not overcook, and be careful not to burn the bottom once all the water has evaporated.
Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.
The other method of cooking rice is to use a rice cooker, and to their credit they do a very fine job of making rice to your set parameters.
I prefer the control I have of making my own rice in a saucepan, which I still believe delivers the very best rice.
Rice can also be cooked in the oven, and is cooked that way in some traditional Middle Eastern dishes.
The way to cook rice in the oven is to preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C), grease a 2.5 quart baking dish.
Pour one cup of rice into the baking dish.
Add 1 teaspoon salt to the rice.
Melt a ¼ cup butter, and add to the rice.
Bring 2¼ cups of water to boil, pour into the rice, stir.
Cook for twenty to twenty five minutes in the oven.
Cooking white rice should not be an intimidating experience, it is one that is pretty straightforward, and very rewarding.
You will be very glad you gave it a try!
White Rice Recipe
- 1 cup Rice
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 cups Water cold
- Put rice in a sieve and rinse with water until the water runs clear.
- Pour rice in a medium saucepan.
- Add salt, and water.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Reduce heat, and keep water at a simmer.
- Place lid loosely on saucepan leaving a generous gap for steam to escape.
- Cook for approximately 20 minutes.
Common Rice Questions
Is White Rice Healthy?
White rice has B vitamins, protein and minerals, and has health benefits as part of a balanced diet.
Brown rice is a healthier way to eat rice due to the nutritious bran layer not being removed.
Is White Rice Gluten Free?
Even though it is officially known as glutinous rice it is naturally gluten free.
How Many Calories in White Rice?
A cup of raw rice has 357 calories.
One cup of cooked long grain rice is 206 calories.
One cup of cooked short grain rice is 242 calories.
How to Cook White Rice on the Stove
Place one cup of rice, one teaspoon salt, and two cups of water in a small pot, and bring to a boil.
Once boiling turn down to a simmer, cover leaving a generous opening to allow steam to escape.
Cook until water has evaporated, about twenty minutes.
How to Season White Rice
White rice is most often seasoned with salt, usually 1 teaspoon salt to each cup of rice.
Pepper can also be added, along with any other spices.
Usually ½ teaspoon per cup of rice.
What to Eat with White Rice
Rice is a very versatile food and can be eaten with many foods, and as part of many meals.
Rice works as a great base for stews and curries, as well as a side dish to meat and vegetables.
Chicken with rice is also a very popular combination.
Stir fry with rice, or fried rice dishes are also popular.
Rice can also be used in desserts, such as rice pudding, or sticky rice with mango.