How to Cook or Boil Rice
Someone once asked me how to make rice and I never thought
I'd actually make a website with instructions about it. It seems like the
easiest thing in the world, but I can see how certain people just wouldn't know,
so here it goes.
First of all, I like to cook natural, long grain
rice. The kind that takes a long time to cook. And why not? After all, if you
are going to cook something, I imagine it will take towards an hour anyway,
right? If you start counting time from the very beginning. And if it doesn't
take you a full hour to cut the vegetables or whatever you plan to add to the
rice, there is so little work involved that you can almost let it cook by itself
until it is ready.
The white or 5 minute rice has already been boiled to death, or bleached of all
its nutrients. If you're going to cook for yourself, might as well make it
It really doesn't take that much extra work. Otherwise, why not just go out and
buy a bag of chips if you're not concerned about eating something healthy? I
think that both will have about the same amount of nutrients.
So what you do is first you gotta decide how
much you want to eat. Generally the rice balloons to twice its size when it
soaks up the water. For this you'll need a bit of practice, but if you make too
much the first few times around, it really does not matter, because rice does
not go bad quickly, even if you leave it out on the counter (just cover it up
and keep the flies away).
For a single meal I usually eat about half a coffee cup's worth of the dry
stuff, so I usually go ahead and make a full cup's worth, so I can eat the rest
the next day or in the morning. If making a big pot for the veggie concoction
below, maybe about one and a half coffee cups worth.
But whatever amount of rice you choose, throw that into
the pot and then add double the amount of water. So basically you get one third
rice and two thirds water (if adding one cup of rice, add two cups of water).
The fancy people like to wash the rice first, but I'm kind of a pig and don't
bother with that. If you do wash the rice first, perhaps keep in mind that it
will be wet, so perhaps add slightly less than double the amount of water. But
the water ratio thing is not super crucial because you can adjust it near the
Now before I get all fancy about spices, I'd first like to
reveal the simple principle of cooking rice:
- once you got it on the stove, crank up the heat on full
throttle and throw a lid on the pot. Stir the rice. At this point I like to
add a bit of oil (preferably always cook with olive oil) so the rice will not
stick and be nice and slippery at the end. Not too much needed. It's also
advisable to add some salt so the saltiness soaks into the rice.
- check the pot from time to time, and stir so that it
does not burn on the bottom or anything. Once the water is boiling, turned the
heat down to a minimum.
- now this is where the trick might lie. If you keep the
lid on tight, the steam won't be able to get out and the rice may just boil
away and eventually get mushy. If you remove the lid too soon, or with too
large of a gap, the water will boil away faster and the rice could end up dry.
But if towards the end the rice seems too dry and crunchy (yes, go ahead and
taste some), it's not a big deal because you can just add some more water. The
water will hit the bottom of the pot and boil soon, bubbling up and steaming
the rest of the rice. Generally I like to keep the lid on tight for the first
20 minutes maybe, and then open it a crack to let the steam start coming out.
Keep stirring the rice from time to time until the water level gets down to
near the level of the rice. After that don't stir, otherwise you'll mush it.
Also, as the water is bubbling and steaming out, little holes and pockets
develop between the rice through which the steam gets out. If you stir and
close up these holes once the water level has reached near the rice level, the
steam won't be able to get out, the bottom half of the pot will become hot and
mushy, and overall the rice will not turn out good. I like to stir it when
there is still ample water so as to loosen up the rice. But once the water
level starts to get down to the rice level, make sure not to stir.
Even though you've turned down the heat to a minimum, the water should still
be boiling and steaming off. By keeping the lid on tight, or with only a
slight gap, you will keep the temperature at around a hundred and it should
continue to boil.
- now, once the water starts getting low down to the
bottom of the pot (even half way, as it approaches), I grab a fork and I stick
it in the middle, right down to the bottom, and I push the rice to the side a
bit so that I can peer down into my hole and see how much water is left. The
ideal is to let the water boil right down to the very bottom, with perhaps the
slightest film remaining. This way you will not burn any rice to the bottom of
the pot. If there is a very slight film or any water left at the bottom, it
does not really matter because you can just mix it into the rest of the rice.
- when approaching the end, occasionally taste a bit of
the rice at the top. If it is dry and crunchy as you are running low on water,
add a bit of water. Ideally you should not add any, so keep this in mind next
time, meaning you would keep the lid on tight for a longer period (or you can
add more water in the beginning). If the rice is kind of wet and mushy, it
means you added too much water or kept the lid on tight too long, so make a
note for next time again. If it's kinda wet and mushy, just try to steam off
the moisture. Worst case scenario, the bottom later gets a bit burnt. In this
way you sacrifice a bit of the bottom layer to make the rest of the pot dryer
and more fluffy. But don't let the bottom burn too much, because it will stink
up the rest of the rice with a burnt taste, even though the rest of the rice
is not burnt.
In this way you can regulate your rice as it cooks, but
generally, every time, I find I make practically a perfect batch. You just need
to watch it more often towards the end. Over time you'll get a feel for when you
should start leaving a gap under the lid. If you have a lot of water left and
already the rice is starting to taste kind of soft, remove the lid fully so that
the water boils off faster. In this case you might even crank up the heat a
notch to boil the water off faster. I find that, with a little bit of tending,
you can regulate it, no matter what kind of rice you are cooking, so that it
comes out nice and fluffy at the end.
Now to get fancy. At the very beginning, when you've added
the salt and a bit of oil, throw in two or three cardamoms. They'll give the
rice a nice little flavour.
You can also use seasoned salt instead of regular salt, so that the flavours
cook right into the rice as it is steaming away.
You can even dice up some garlic and throw that in the beginning as well, as it
will cook through the rice and give it a nice aroma.
At the very end, just before serving, you can throw in some cut parsley and/or
chives to give it an extra edge and a bit of colour. You can add and mix in
pepper at the end as well.
Once you have attained your masterpiece, take it off the
burner so that you do not burn anything, and throw the lid on tight to seal in
the heat. It should be able to stay nice and warm for about ten minutes, in case
you are still cooking away with your other stuff. But generally it is good to
have the rice fresh and ready rather than sit around for 10 minutes or more. I
guess you could always nuke (microwave) it if you had to, or it could get warmed
up if you mix it with the other stuff you are cooking.
With long grain natural rice, I find the entire process takes about 50 minutes,
so I always start cooking it about 50 minutes before when I think I will be done
with the cooking of the other stuff.
What to Eat With Your Rice
Well, if you want to
a cold, you can just eat it like this, to save your body energy so that it
can kill the cold.
Otherwise, I often like to eat it with a few big and fat juicy steaks. If there
is any steak juice left over, I like to pour that over the rice and mix it in at
the very end. You can also throw in some soya sauce and mix that in at the very
end. Or throw it on the plate with a little glob of butter on top, to make it
seem like you are in a fancy restaurant.
Other times I like to make a big vegetable stew with that.
So heck, might as well explain how to do that too, eh?
I can usually cook these two pots separately and start at
the same time, and it works out just right at the end.
- In your vegetable pot, pour in a nice healthy layer of
olive oil. It is healthy for you, so no great need to worry about adding too
much. I like to have equal parts vegetables and equal part rice, and make
enough for 3 to four days worth.
- You've got your rice on the burner, start heating up
the olive oil, and start cutting your onions. They take the longest. Nothing
grosser than soggy flapping onions in anything. Carrots also take a while to
cook. For the two large pots that I like to make (one for rice, the other for
the veggies), throw in the veggie pot two large diced onions and let it sizzle
away. No need to sizzle things to death, so turn down the heat once it starts
sizzling but keep it sizzling. If you want to cook ginger as well, which is
very healthy for you, cook that during the first sizzle wave as well. I like
to dice my ginger up small.
If I'm in the mood for carrots, I'll throw them on top of the onions shortly
after (basically as I'm cutting it). I like to cut the carrots at an angle and
thinnish slices. Something to crunch into and the angles make it seem like at
a fancy restaurant.
- Now while that is all cooking away, I'll stir it
occasionally and start preparing the second wave vegetables. Which also take a
while to cook, but not as long as the carrots. Like lots of green peppers,
zucchini, eggplant, spring/green onions - whatever suits your fancy.
Prepare tons of garlic on the side. But usually by the time I'm done cutting
the previous three, the carrots are getting softish and the onions look like
they've had enough, meaning it's already time to throw in the green peppers
etc. (and subsequently the garlic, as I'm cutting it).
- When you throw in the green peppers and all your second
wave veggies, shortly afterwards you'll want to add liquid, because there
won't be enough olive oil to go around and I don't like to burn my second wave
veggies too much. I'll let the second wave veggies sizzle for a while, after
which I guess you can add water, but why on earth would you add water when you
can add BEER!? Yes, a nice crisp quality bitter beer like Pilsner Urquell
mixes wonderfully with the veggies and spices. Much tastier than water. And of
course, you get to drink it in between adding it to the pot.
- By now I've already added more than half a bulb of
diced garlic, the beer has been cooking nicely into the simmering vegetables,
and I start to think about spicing. I've been told that curry should be
sizzled into the onions at the very beginning, but it seems to burn a bit, and
I prefer to add all my spices later. I take my wooden spoon and push the
vegetables away from the centre to make a little pool of bubbling beer oil.
Into that I pour my spices and mix it gently so that the spices cook nicely
into the beer liquid. When it seems that the spices have made a nice paste and
cooked into the liquid enough (should not taste powdery, and should only take
about a minute), I slowly stir that into the rest of the batch. I keep doing
this until I bring the batch to a desired flavour, keeping in mind that the
flavour will get diluted by an equal portion of rice at the very end.
- For my spices, I like to put in a lot of curry, I'm a
freak about caraway seeds, a bunch of oregano, a bunch of garlic powder, and
perhaps some seasoned salt to help bring out the flavour of the vegetables.
Maybe some red hot spices. You'll need to experiment according to what suits
your taste. Today I put in quite a healthy glob of spicey dijon or English
mustard and it seemed to do just the trick. You might experiment with a bit of
honey. You can throw in a small batch of diced garlic towards the end if you
want a bit of that fresher garlic flavour. Perhaps experiment with a lemon
(squeezed and some of the skin grated). Or get very fancy and try mixing in
coconut milk at some point (although I'm not sure how coconut would mix well
with the lemon or the ginger - you can read some cook books on that). Seems to
go well with the curry. You can go off in many different directions. Oh yes,
and I like to throw in diced tomatoes towards the end. Adds more flavoured
liquid, as the beer might have soaked into the zucchini and eggplant. Give
enough time for the tomatoes to cook through. You cant really go wrong, as
long as you taste it as you go and make your pasty spice batches in the centre
of the pot.
- Once everything seems fine and dandy, then I take my
big wooden spoon, shove the vegetables to the side, and transfer over about
half the rice from the neighbouring pot, filling up the space in the rice pot
with the veggie concoction. So basically I mix it this way so it is evenly
distributed between the two pots. If one pot looks like it has a higher ratio
of rice, I just keep mixing until it looks about even.
- And at this point I like to add a big blob of diced
blue cheese. Mouldy, sharp and salty (so if cooking with this, taste it first
and make sure to consider this when adding salt in the beginning). I mix that
and melt it into the concoction. Perhaps I let it simmer a while longer to
almost burn some of the rice, to get a bit of a crispy sizzlin flavour in
there. Keep stirring.
When done, turn off the stove, put a lid on one pot, and
bring the other pot with your big wooden spoon to the couch and turn on the tube
(TV). Why trouble yourself with washing extra plates and spoons and forks and
all that silly stuff? But hey, I'm a bachelor and a bit of a pig, eh?
Takes about an hour to whip up and you got enough to last
for a few days. Oh yes, shortly after the start of the green pepper stage I
added a bunch of sesame seeds. You can see that I often like to use the same
ingredients and spices whenever I cook. But I like'em, so why not use'em? I
suppose you can throw in some diced chives at some point. Perhaps cloves, or
raisins, if you like that sort of stuff. Experiment and go wild baby. Heck, why
not dice in some healthy fat slices of green apples? Maybe even pineapple
chunks. But I wouldn't cook all of these together. Some spices and vegetables
just don't go together. I have a sense for this. If you don't, you can
experiment and learn, but find what tastes you like. The principle is always the
same, and the outcome always healthy, and usually tasty (well, always for me
Hey, and if you like this recipe, I got some more but which
are designed to give you
healthy intestines and healthy eating. Maybe it's a gross subject, but it's
just you're pipes down there, and what is grosser is if they get clogged with
bad eating etc.
In time I'll put up my sizzlin and evil steak marinade.