A Look at Rice

When cooking rice the size of the grain is the most important thing. Due to the thousands of varieties of rice found all over the world which have differing flavors and aromas, it can be problematic to find the exact right one for your dish.

Long-grain rice usually runs four to five times long as it does wide. It is typically dry and fluffy after it is cooked. The grains do not clump. Some examples of long grain rice are Basmati (aromatic, having a rich nutty flavor; used a lot in Indian cooking), brown long-grain rice (husk removed with a nutritious bran layer, slightly chewy, mild nutty flavor), finishing off with white or polished long-grain rice (most widely used; has mild flavor). Uses for long-grain rice mainly are steamed, baked, pilaf, and a rice salad.

Short-grain rice has an almost round shape, is very starchy and tends to stick together after it has been cooked. It’s sometimes known as “sticky-rice”. Examples of short-grain rice are Arborio rice (creamy texture to dishes) and glutinous rice or sweet rice (very sticky after cooked; used in lot of Asian desserts and snacks). Short-grain rice is great for puddings, risotto, croquettes, sushi, stir-fried rice, and molded rice dishes.

Medium-grain rice has a size smaller than long-grain yet bigger than short-grain thus the name medium-grain rice. It is more tender than long grain rice and yet less moist than short grain rice. It is typically fluffy and separate when served hot and then starts to clump as it cools.

Cooking Rice

To Steam Rice: measure the water and salt amounts suggested for the type of rice you are cooking. This is usually found on the box or bag. Mix the salt and water together and pour it into a saucepan and then bring the combination to a boil. Add the rice to the boiling salted water and stir.

Bring the water to a boil again then cover the saucepan, steaming the rice, on a very low heat until the rice has engrossed all the salted water and is tender. This normally takes 15 to 18 minutes for white rice and 35 to 40 minutes for brown rice. Remove the pan from the heat and let set for about 5 minutes. Prior to rationing the rice to your troops fluff it with a fork. Troops love fluffy rice.
To Sauté and Steam Rice (pilaf): Measure some salt and water for your rice and bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil heat oil or butter in a saucepan at medium heat. You can also use a mixture of the two. Add the rice to the molten butter or what have you and rouse till the rice is fully coated.

“Sauté” for 2 to 3 minutes, rousing in a consistent fashion. Now add the salted water you have been boiling to the sautéed rice and bring the mixture to a boil. Again we steam the rice by putting a lid on the pan, turn the heat down to low or lower and then wait till the rice and soaked in all the water and has become a tender spectacle.

To Bake Rice: Preheat your sweet oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Get that salted water boiling, while waiting for boiling point add your measured amount of rice to a baking dish. When ready add the boiling water to the rice in the baking dish. Cover the dish tightly, for cleanliness, baking efficiency, and safety when removing the dish from the oven.

Use tin foil or an oven safe lid and bake at the preheated temperature until the rice has absorbed the water and is a tender delicacy. White rice takes about 20 to 30 minutes, while brown rice takes any where from 35 to 45 minutes. Baking times differ depending on you oven, altitude from the moon or sun, and how tightly sealed your dish is.

Almond Rice Recipe

4 cups rice (Long Grain)
8 cups chicken broth
4 Tbl parsley (substitute rosemary, sage, tarragon, or thyme, to taste of course)
1 ½ cup celery. chopped fine
1 ½ cup onion, chopped fine OR ¾ cup minced dried onion
1 cup slivered almonds

Sauté onion and celery in just enough broth to cover. Add 8 cups chicken broth. Add rice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let steam about 20 minutes. If there is too much liquid left when rice is cooked, take off lid and cook and stir until liquid is gone. Just before serving, add parsley and 1 cup slivered almonds. If you used dried parsley, add it while there is still a little water in the pan.