COOKING BASICS How To Cook Rice (Part 1)

If you’re already familiar with these basics please bear with us as we start to build the solid foundation needed for the budding new gluten-free cooks out there. Also, if you have some constructive input please feel free to post your contribution at the end of this article.

Rice (Oryza Sativa)

Background: Rice is the more obvious and most popular choice of gluten free grains to work with. Like most of the other grains, books can be written (and have been) on this one subject alone.

There are over 100,000 rice cultivars currently registered, each with distinct characteristics. This offers an enormous variety of flavors, textures, aromas and colors. If you live in the west, then those most familiar to you would most likely include varieties that range from the wild rice, black rice through red rice, brown rice and basmati, through to the more processed common white rice we all know so well.

The Possibilities Are Endless: No matter where you live, it is likely that you will have several (or many) of these varieties available in your local area. Combine each of these with the many different ways of cooking, preparing and serving the grain, then, right there, you have a rich resource of tasty possibilities at your fingertips. Your only limit is your imagination and creativity.

Depending on the final purpose and effect you want with your cooking creation, you can choose the variety and cooking method appropriate to the color, taste and texture you desire ….. individual grains that separate easily, sticky, starchy, light and fluffy or thick, creamy porridge … whatever serves you best.Â

Popular Methods: Typical Fried Rice Dish In SingaporeAs you’d expect, cooking times vary according to what method is used and the kind of rice chosen. Generally, the white rice takes only about 20 minutes to cook with the usual pot boiling method, while brown rice takes about twice as long; usually about 40 – 45 minutes.Â

Soaking the grain before cooking reduces this cooking time considerably, particularly with the white rice.

To enhance the nutritional value of cooked brown rice it is recommended to soak the washed, brown rice in warm water for 20 hours or so. This stimulates germination and activates various enzymes in the rice to you benefit.Â

We have chosen a couple of video feeds below that we feel serve quite well as an introduction to this cooking with rice.

Intro To The First Video: (1 min 40 sec.) The following video, by Savvy Gourmet – Poppy Tooker, illustrates a very, very simple method for measuring and cooking the rice. She is most likely using a white rice, not only because of the apparent color but also as her cooking time is only 20 minutes.

Her method is quick, simple and easy. Her warnings about NOT lifting the lid and NOT stirring the pot are very important points to remember.

NOTE: Regarding Poppy’s video. Our personal preference here would be to quickly rinse the rice first in cold water and then to use filtered water rather than tap water as the cooking medium.

I have read, however, that there are some manufacturers who coat their white rice with a water soluble nutritional, fortifying agent and for this reason the packaging (by law, in the USA) warns against washing the rice prior to cooking.

The Second Video presented by Gordon Drysdale demonstrates both a rice cooker method and then a stove top method.

NOTE: If you are vegetarian then you can just substitute filtered water for the broth. Otherwise the mineral rich broth makes for a very tasty and satisfying enhancement to the regular way of cooking rice.

Gordon uses pine nuts, cranberries and fresh herb to dress up his dish. Alternatively you can get as creative as you want here, adding chopped roasted almonds, pecans, chopped shallots, parsley or fresh basil etc. Experiment with what you have available to you. Enjoy and have FUN.

One thing I want to point out is that in the video as the camera focuses down onto the cooked rice (still in the pan) you can easily notice the even distribution of smal holes, or “steam channels” scattered thoughout the rice and exiting at the surface.

These are naturally formed “vents” which allow the steam to escape. If these are broken, as they do during stirring, then this greatly contributes to the cooked rice sticking to the pot and making a mess.

If you follow the procedures outlined here, there should be no sticking and the rice should come out of the pot cleanly.

Substituting brown rice for the above recipes also works great, but just increase the cooking time up to 40 minutes or so.

Washing The Brown Rice:
It is recommended to wash brown rice first before cooking. Tap water is fine for this. Place the rice in a large bowl and run room temperature water into the bowl, enough to cover the rice in a finger length of water.

Agitate the rice in the bowl and let the rice settle. You’ll see the water get a little cloudy with, the occasional piece of debris floating. Carefully pour off the water. Rinse again in a similar manner and let drain in a sieve. Now it’s ready to cook with.

There is, of course, a lot more to cover on this topic, which we will save for other times, bit by bit. We hope that this introduction to cooking rice has been helpful and that you are inspired to new ways of expanding and enjoying your GLUTEN FREEDOM journey.

It’s been rice to be with you again.  Â
Cheers, Sven

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