The simple secret of cooking rice

The simple secret of cooking rice

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There were many foreign students at the university where I worked and my husband studied. I learned some tricks from them. A Cuban couple, for example, taught me how to prepare rice so that it’s nice and perky and not a sticky dumpling.

They had to figure out how to do it because the whole floor of the dormitory where we lived had only one kitchen. There stood an old cooking plate with 6 electric plates for all the people who lived on that floor but there was no oven. Not much to go with. 🙄 It took them a while to perfect the cooking method, and that’s when I got the recipe from them.

They told me how the rice should be steamed then covered, as if nurturing it. That’s how they did it at home in Cuba, which we didn’t have the opportunity to do then and there in the dorm. 🙃

They told us that they saw that Hungarians loved to stir. But you shouldn’t stir the rice because the rice flour rubs off the grains and that’s one of the reasons why the rice doesn’t cook well. 😏😮

Another thing they noticed is that Hungarians always wanted everything immediately. Rice is not an instant side dish, you have to prepare it properly. But there are circumstances when that is not possible, like in those times. You have to learn to stew with patience. 😉

The third important thing is that if you need to add more liquid to the rice later, never add cold water (or cold milk for rice pudding). Some kind of coating will form on the rice because of the heat difference which will cause it never cook to tender, it will stay crunchy under your teeth.

I took their advice to the heart for many, many years because I have not found a better or simpler way. In recent years I’ve been using basmati or jasmine rice, but you can cook any rice with the recipe below. The only thing that varies is the cooking time, something everyone has to experiment with.

Ingredients

100 ml rice for one person
water as needed
salt to taste

Preparation

I did not soak or fry the rice. I washed it, rinsed it under running water and put it in the cooking pot. I poured hot water over it, enough so that the water was about the same height as the rice. I didn’t put a lid on it or stir the rice. I started cooking on the highest heat setting (induction 9).

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Since I poured hot water on it, it started boiling quickly. I salted it after boiling. With a few quick movements I stirred it a little bit, only this one time, then I put the lid on and reduced the heat to medium (induction 5). I cooked it for a few minutes at this heat, it seemed to be boiling very hot again. At this point, and this is very important, I did not, I repeat, I did not take the lid off, but lowered the heat even more (on induction 3).

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When I saw tiny holes in between the rice through the lid, I lowered the heat to just keep it warm, simmering (on induction 1). At this point, if you want, you can take the lid off really quickly and stir, but I don’t do that. The process so far has taken about 5 minutes, and from here it was another 15 minutes or so when I took the lid off and stirred the rice. By that time it was ready to serve. 🙂

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If you don’t want to serve it yet, keep it under the lid until needed.

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Enjoy!