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How To Cook Rice
In the early 1970s one of the first celebrity chefs hit the TV screens of Australia and Great Britain in the form of Graham Kerr, 'The Galloping Gourmet'.
Kerr was a leader in stripping away a lot of the over-complicated cooking methods still being peddled in many cookbooks. His teaching premise was as simple as his recipes - learn a basic method first and everything else will follow.
My recipe for boiled rice is a variation on his original method, the main difference being the addition of vinegar to the boiling water. It's simple, uncomplicated and foolproof.
For 2-3 people:
The trick is to have a medium sized saucepan with a lid, plus a colander or sieve that will fit inside the rim of the pan.
Bring about 3 liters of salted water, plus one quarter cup of white vinegar, to boil in the pan. Add to this one coffee mug of long grain rice, stir it once (and once only), partially cover and cook on a medium heat for exactly 15 minutes.
Drain the rice into the colander and rinse it briefly under cold water to remove any excess starch clinging to the grains. There won't be very much, that is the purpose of the vinegar - which will not, I promise you, adversely flavor the rice.
Now put about three inches of water in the bottom of the pan and bring it to the boil. Put the colander with the rice on the pan, and the pan lid over the rice.
Reduce the heat and steam the rice for around ten minutes - or until you are ready to use it. It will be perfectly cooked, light and fluffy.
Top Tip: When steaming in this way, add a marble or small pebble to the pan. If the water begins to boil dry you'll hear about it!
One huge advantage of this method is that you can prepare your rice beforehand and simply keep it in the fridge until you need it - even overnight if necessary. Be sure to cover it though, to prevent it drying out.
You can either re-heat it using the steaming method given above or use it cold for salads. Of course you can also use it at this stage for your favorite fried rice recipe if you wish.
You can produce yellow rice by adding saffron or a teaspoon of turmeric to the water before adding the rice, or add a handful of chopped bell pepper to produce a nice decorative effect.
A mix of dried herbs will also give you an excellent savory rice. In fact, once you understand the basic method, the end result is only limited by your imagination.
Michael Sheridan - The Cool Cook - is a former head chef and an acknowledged authority and published writer on cooking matters. His website at All About Cooking, contains a wealth of information, hints, tips and recipes for busy home cooks, including video based how-to guides.
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