I figure that my generation and older are maybe the last ones to be able to do stuff.
By stuff I mean simple, everyday things like cook a meal, make a loaf of bread, change a plus, put up a shelf, knit a snood, put oil in your car, make clothes, alter clothes, sew on a button, paint a room in your house, grow food and so on.
Everybody says they have no time but the truth is there is way more money knocking around than ever before and clothes are now as disposable as the containers that hold your take away meal.
It’s all very well for us who grew up being taught and shown how to do stuff, I have parents who, if they were in their thirties now, would be tragically and instagrammably hip with their clothes making and beer brewing. Anyway, enough rant, in my day and so on…
So I’m writing posts about basic stuff, starting with this one, very important, how to cook rice.
I’m taking requests by the way, and yes, my spelling might be off
How to cook rice:
Rice, staple and often destroyed by the wrong cooking technique, rice contains many useful nutrients that help us to function well. Rice, esp the wholegrain variety is credited with reducing blood pressure and reducing odema or swelling. I have many memories of my Mother fighting with rice, trying to get it not to stick, spreading it out on greaseproof paper and putting it in the oven or straining it and rinsing it over and over when cooked, what a pain in the arse! Little did we know then that rice is meant to stick and that makes it more pleasant to eat, how else can you eat it with chopsticks? Non-stick rice has had much of the starches washed out and this has no benefit to the consumer.
I learned to cook rice from a Jamaican woman called Sophie who lived in the flat upstairs when we lived in Hamburg. Sophie was a mega cook and her tiny kitchen would often be sizzling with many pans while she cooked spicy dishes from her home country, especially her red snapper in sweet and spur sauce. The main thing I learned from Sophie however was how to cook the rice good, her words, not mine. The absorbtion method is what is used far and wide across Asia and all countries that grow this fabulous and delicious grain. It’s very important to wash your rice in a few changes of cold water before cooking as rice has been handled so many times by humans and machines and has also been stored in huge warehouses with all manner of people and animals running around doing their thing. So wash, wash, wash your rice at least three times. If you cook brown rice, wash and soak it, ideally overnight, before cooking. You can also soak, or ferment your rice by adding a spoon-full of whey to your water and leaving it up to four days on the countertop to ferment, this reduces phytates which can irritate the gut and it also makes your rice taste great. Rice cooked in this way will keep for up to one week in the fridge after it cools and it’s really tasty.
On that note, cooked rice is one of the top five food most likely to give you food poisoning. When rice reduces in temperature to room temp, after about one day the bacteria bacillus cereus starts to develop which multiply like wildfire and can give you serious stomach upset and vomiting, aka food poisoning. Don’t worry when you go into a restaurant that serves lots of rice, their rice will be freshly cooked and kept in a rice cooker which keeps the temperature constant. In bars and other restaurants that rarely sell a curry, tread more carefully. The longer the rice is left at room temp, the more likely this will happen. Generally I find one day in a cold kitchen is fine but if you put leftover rice in the fridge after dinner and reheat it either by frying or microwave, it’s totally fine. In fact, fried rice is always made with day-old rice. You can also freeze and reheat cooked rice that has been frozen.
Right, I hope this hasn’t put you off cooking this amazing grain. I love rice and eat it often, preferring Thai Jasmine which I buy in huge bags from Asian supermarkets. Rice is great with so many dishes and a great and easy meal for one is lots of green veggies stir fried with cooked rice added, some garlic and ginger and served with spring onions and a drizzle of soy sauce with a runny fried egg on top and a dollop of spicy kimchi or sambal olek.
Ok, on with the cooking.
Rice, rice baby….oh yeah
Boil the kettle
Wash one mug-full or rice well, ideally with three water changes, using a sieve, Strain it.
Get a decent pot, not too wide, about six inches with a well-fitting lid. Melt a little butter or oil in the pot, about one tblsp, on a high heat.
Throw in the rice and give it a stir to coat the grains in the oil.
Fill the same mug with boiled, hot water and fire that into the pot, stir it up, it will be hissing angrily. Fire in a small bit of salt.
Clamp the lid on the pot tightly and turn the heat down to the lowest setting you can. Now go away and put your feet up for twenty minutes or make the rest of your meal. DO NOT OPEN THE POT UP!!
After twenty minutes lift the lid, the rice will look like it cemented to the bottom of the pot, do not fear, this is ok.
Fluff up the rice with a fork, it will be perfect.
P.S rice is naturally gluten free