Basics of cooking rice, the Indian Way!
Conventionally regarded as a cereal of Asians, rice is increasingly becoming a global food. This is primarily due to the abundance in which rice is produced, making it an affordable cereal. Further, it is easy-to-cook and can be used as the plain part of the food that can be combined with any dish. White in appearance and fluffy in its texture, rice can be cooked in many ways. Similarly, there are various varieties of rice. However, most people believe that the Indian way of cooking rice is perhaps the most undemanding.
Easy steps to cooking the perfect rice:
1. Washing & Soaking
The process should be started by washing the rice repeatedly. This is rather easy wherein you need to merely drain out the muddy water from the bowl, repeatedly until clean water is visible. Most kinds of rice should be soaked after the washing process. This is vital for two reasons. Firstly, it makes the rice grain bigger upon being fully cooked since the water saturates the outer coat of the rice grain. Secondly, properly soaked rice grains need less cooking time. If you are not sure about the kind of rice you are cooking, use half-an-hour as the standard soaking period.
2. Boiling the rice
You need to add about one cup of water for every cup of rice that you have used. This water should be heated in the cooking pot. Use a cooking pot that has a tight-fitting lid. This is vital to sustain the vapor needed for cooking the rice. When the water begins to boil, add the soaked rice. Stir occasionally, for a few seconds. However, stirring too much can damage the rice grain.
3. Some Options
You can add a tablespoon of butter or cooking oil at this stage. This is not necessary but it is known to add to the overall aroma of the rice and further, it helps to ensure that the rice grains don't stick to each other. Some people also add lemon drops to enhance the white color of the rice. Leave the cooking pot on the flame for about 20 minutes.
4. Allow room for Simmering
After the scheduled time is over, switch-off the burner. Let the rice simmer in the vapor for about 10 minutes. This ensures that each grain of rice is cooked comprehensively and the huskiness of rice is neutralized.
5. Testing the Rice
Now, lift the lid and with a spoon, scoop-out a small serving of rice. Separate one grain of rice and press it between your thumb and the index finger. The rice grain should literally melt between your fingers. However, the squeezed rice grain should not exude any trace of water.
Please Note: Occasionally, you might find some water on the sides of the cooking pot. Just leave the pot open, i.e. with its lid removed. This allows the water to evaporate naturally without having to re-heat the rice.