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Rice Tips

Rice tips bowl with chopstick

With its nutty fragrance and comforting texture, rice is every bit the equal of potatoes and noodles as a side dish. Its versatility has made it the reigning grain worldwide. From pilaf to baked pudding, rice dishes can fit into the day's menus morning, noon or night.

To prepare rice for cooking, pour it onto a cookie sheet or countertop; carefully pick over the rice removing any bits of hull or pebbles. Place rice in a large container, add cold water to cover by several inches, and agitate the water vigorously until it turns cloudy. Drain rice in strainer. Repeat the process three to five more times or until water runs clear.

Steamed Rice Measure rice, allowing 1/3 to 2/3 cup of uncooked rice per portion. Prepare rice for cooking. Place cleaned rice in cooking pot; add cold water to cover rice by 1-inch (about the length of the first joint of your thumb). Or for more precise measurements, for long-grain rice (white or brown) use two cups of water for the first cup of rice and one cup of water for each additional cup. For medium-or short-grain rice, use 1-1/2 cup of water for the first cup of rice and one cup of water for each additional cup.

Bring rice and water to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed (about 15 minutes for short or medium-grain white rice; 25 to 30 minutes for short or medium-grain brown rice). Long-grain rice (white or brown) absorbs water more quickly, in ten minutes or less. To check the rice as it simmers, lift the lid just long enough to see whether the water has been absorbed; quickly replace lid. When all the water is absorbed, turn off heat and let rice stand, covered, 10 to 15 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.

Avoid a Boil-Over Mess

Never have rice boil over again. Put amount of rice and recommended amount of water in a roaster. Cover and put in cold oven. Turn oven on to 350 degrees and 25 minutes later, you have perfect rice with no mess and almost no sticking to the roaster. Try it -- it really works!

Making Extra to Freeze

When you make a rice dish, it is a great idea to make extra to freeze. A quick zap in the microwave and it is hot and ready to finish off for a tasty meal. It takes no more time to cook a few extra cups than it does to cook only one. Even if you do not know when you will need rice again, it makes sense to cook extra. A stash of rice on hand can translate to anything from a quick side dish to the basis for dinner. Cooked rice can be stored up to five days in the refrigerator, or a month in the freezer.

Storing Extra Rice

When storing extra rice, toss in a bit of oil (about one-teaspoon per cup), then package it in 1 or 2-cup increments in freezer weight, zipper-top plastic bags. When you are ready to use it, remove it from the bag, run it briefly under warm running water to loosen the bag, if necessary. Then, merely microwave at high for one minute per one-cup of rice. Fluff the rice with a fork and continue with your recipe. This method defrosts the rice but will not cook it through. To use the rice plain, microwave it for two to three minutes per cup. With a little planning, extra rice can rescue you on the most desperate of nights.

Rice Quick Tip

  • Butter the rim of a pan in which you cook rice or macaroni so it won't boil over.
  • Add a few drops of lemon juice in the water before boiling the rice to make a whiter rice.
  • Add a teaspoon of canola oil in the water before boiling rice to separate each grain after cooking.
  • Don't throw away rice after cooking. Use it to make soup.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of dried powdered mint leaves to 2 pounds of rice, a small paper packet of boric powder, or a few leaves of mint in the container to keep insects at bay.

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