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All about rice

Sun, 1 May, 2022

Do you think there are many people in the world that don’t like rice? Not very likely, is it? Rice is as versatile as potatoes, if not more, as food canvas: creamy in risottos, hot (or not) with stir-fries, fragrant in paellas. Basmati, brown, wild or red, each variety has its place even if they don’t dramatically differ in taste. Rice can be baked, fried, steamed and boiled. Rice can be served in a soup, as a snack or for dessert.

So you’d think a rice aversion would be as rare as potato hating, and yet, and yet. I know someone who won’t eat potatoes, and The Weather Man used to refuse to eat rice. It was the texture, he’d explained. (WHAT? Exactly) But then he used to be a REALLY fussy eater when we met, which has now changed so much he can hardly recognise himself. All thanks to me, of course, for having gradually coaxed him out of the world of well-done steak and chips into a universe of flavours (and textures). And he adores rice these days.

And just as well, since rice is my favourite filler. As mentioned already, cuisines worldwide have used it in so many different ways you can hardly get bored of it.

First off, how to cook plain rice so it’s perfect every time? My hack is failsafe: all you need is a pan with a fitting lid, the exact ratio of water to rice, rapid boil for 3 minutes and simmer for 20 (25 for brown rice). No peeking at any point, including the 10-minute rest off the heat, and it’s done.

For fried rice though I usually cook it pasta-style: in plenty of salty boiling water for half the above time, so it’s al dente. Plus the most important point – it must be fridge-cold, otherwise it will turn clumpy and mushy in the wok.

But as I said already, the cooking methods are aplenty. Try baking it, with brown shrimp or with mixed mushrooms. Spend some time with a girariso over a pan of asparagus or mushroom risotto, making like an Italian cuoco. Cook it the Spanish way, sprinkling the rice over bubbling stock and aromatics, be it classic seafood or sweetcorn and chorizo.

You can mix rice with minced meat and stuff vegetables with this filling: cabbage leaves like the Poles or red peppers like in Provence. You can cook it with the vegetables or meat to make a pilaf or dirty rice.

And finally, try to achieve the elusive delight of rice dishes, the crispy scorched bottom of the pan called tahdig in Persian baked rice and soccarat in Spanish paellas.

So stock up on rice and get cooking!

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About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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