We eat rice with a wide range of meals now but sometimes it's hard, or can be too soft and lose its bite. What can you do to ensure the perfect texture and stickiness?
If you are planning on cooking rice, many food experts agree that basmati rice is the best kind to use as it generally results in separated, fluffy grains of rice. Basmati rice can be slightly more expensive to buy than other kinds of dry rice, but it does tend to have a much better taste once cooked.
However, you don’t need to use basmati when you are cooking rice, any dry rice from a supermarket will work. When you are measuring your cooking rice, you will need to measure it by volume and not by weight. As a guidance, measure 2½ fl oz (65 ml) for one person, (5 fl oz/150 ml for two people, 10 fl oz/275 ml for four people etc.
You will also need to ensure that you use the correct quantity of liquid when you are cooking rice. As a general guideline, you will need to use approximately double the volume of liquid to the amount of rice that you are cooking, for example; if you are cooking 5 fl oz (150 ml) of rice, you will need 10 fl oz (275 ml) of stock or hot water.
Always ensure that you use a sufficient amount of liquid when you are cooking rice to avoid the pan running dry and the rice burning. The kind of pan that you use will largely depend on what you have available, however, it is advisable to use a frying pan with a lid for the fluffiest rice; a 10 inch (25.5 cm) pan with a lid is ideal for the cooking of rice.
Now that you have your ingredients and your pan ready, it’s time to start cooking the rice. Add a little oil to your pan and pour in the rice, turn the rice grains over in the pan until they are fully coated with oil (Note: if you wish you can cook some onions in the pan prior to adding the rice for more flavour).
Now you will need to add the hot water or stock to the pan, you can use plain hot water or a chicken or beef stock; it really is personal preference and depends on the kind of meal that you are preparing. Also add a little salt to the rice; 1 level teaspoon for every 5 fl oz (150 ml) of rice is sufficient when you are cooking rice. When the liquid has been added, stir the mixture once.
Next you will need to cover the pan with the lid and turn down the heat on the hob to its lowest possible setting. Don’t be tempted to keep going back and stirring the rice, this can actually affect the eventual result! Instead, set a kitchen timer or clock for 15 minutes (for white rice) or 30 minutes (brown/wholegrain rice) and leave the rice to cook. After the allocated time, take a sample grain and taste it to see if it is the right consistency; if not, cook for a further 5 minutes or until it is completely soft/to your taste.
When the rice is cooked you should turn the heat off, remove the lid and put a clean tea towel over the pan for roughly 5-10 minutes; this will absorb most of the steam and will help to keep the grains dry and separated until they are ready to eat. Finally, give the rice a final stir to lift up the grains and serve it with your meal. By following the above instructions you should be able to cook perfect rice every time and as you gain more experience you may want to try different types of rice or flavourings.