I’ve been eating rice since I was an itty bitty plump toddler. Rice is, unquestionably, a staple for most Asian families. But as I have mentioned here somewhere, I’m not really a rice person. I prefer noodles. But my dear hubs loves his rice so so much. So, I try to change things up a little to satisfy his need for rice and my need for something different.
I remember back in university, a classmate of mine complained that the rice served in the cafeteria was clumpy and sticky. Where she came from (I can’t remember the exact country but it was a Middle Eastern country… possibly Dubai), her mom cooked rice over the stove and each grain of rice is separate. There was no clumpy business there. I grew up on rice cooked in the rice cooker and I still prepare it that very same way. Yes, they do end up stickier, fluffier and a little clumpy, just the way we always had it.
However, as I reminisced about those days of yore, I decided I’d research on that stovetop method my ex-classmate spoke about. Rice cooked on the stove. I was terribly sceptical. I mean, won’t the rice stick and burn at the bottom of the pot? Won’t it become too wet and mushy? You see, I’ve experimented before in the past and had been met with failure time and time again.
But let me tell you, I recently discovered that if you want fluffy, separate grains of perfectly cooked stovetop rice, precision is key! I’ve mastered the secret formula. Three hurrahs for me? Please?
Um… it’s not really a secret, though. Just ask Mr Google. 😉 Let’s cut to the chase and get down to business, shall we?
So this is part two of the great steamed chicken dinner extravaganza we had 2 weeks ago. My mom supplied me with extra long grained golden basmathi rice. It has less starch than ordinary jasmine rice, although I’ve use this exact method with very cheap rice and it still worked.
Look how lovely and long the grains are!
Anyway, I washed the rice until the water ran relatively clear. Then I dried it on a colander. And proceed to forget to get a picture. Boo!
You want the rice grains to be as dry as possible. Otherwise, you can just resign yourself to having porridge for dinner.
While the rice dries, start measuring the liquids. Remember the juices of the steamed chicken I had you reserve a few days ago? Yes, you can use it here. If, however, you don’t have any awesome chicken juices lying around, you can easily use stock, broth or even just plain water.
The rice to liquid ratio is 1:2. It doesn’t matter what you used to measure out the rice. But it is crucial that you use the very same measuring device for both rice and liquid. I repeat: use twice as much liquid as rice. Not 1.25 times more liquid… or 3.945 times more.
It’s 2 times more liquid. mmmkay?
So I start with heating up some oil. I basically skimmed off the chicken juices and used only a little in the rice, discarding the rest. Too much oil in rice is yucky. Then stir the mostly dried rice into the oil, making sure that every grain is coated with a little oil. As you can see in my wonderfully clear picture (not!). The point is to make sure each grain will stay separate after it’s cooked.
After EXACTLY 15 minutes, you can lift the cover and have a look and see if all the liquids have been absorbed. If so, cover it again. Let it rest and steam for an additional 15 minutes just to ensure that the moisture is evenly distributed.
There is no better accompaniment to steamed chicken than perfectly cooked fragrant rice. Nothing at all!
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of My words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 12:28)
Fragrant Stovetop Rice
2 cups uncooked Basmathi Rice
4 cups clear Liquid (water, stock, broth etc.)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt, or to taste
*Optional: spices, herbs
- Wash rice grains until water runs somewhat clear. Drip dry on a fine mesh colander until almost fully dry.
- Heat up oil. Stir dried rice into oil, making sure grains are properly coated with oil.
- Add salt and liquid in.
- Bring to a boil. Cover and turn down to the lowest flame setting on the stove.
- Let it simmer for 15 minutes, without opening lid.
- Once done, open to check if liquids are absorbed. If so, replace lid and turn off flame. If not, let it simmer for another 1-2 minutes.
- Leave to rest and steam for additional 15 minutes.
- Remove lid and fluff up rice with fork or rice paddle.
- Serve steaming hot!