Monday, March 28, 2011

Cooking Rice

I thought I knew how to cook rice!

After all, I'm a born-and-bred Southern Girl, and in the South we always had more rice dishes than potato dishes. Growing up in Louisiana, my mother usually had roast beef with rice and brown gravy for our Sunday dinners. I never remember the rice being gummy, and she didn't seem to take any pains with it. I know she told me that my grandmother, her mother-in-law, always had used long grain rice, and that she learned to cook it from her. My mother is an Okie gal and only moved South when she married my father. So she had been used to POTATOES POTATOES. I married an Okie man and had to learn to cook more potatoes!!!
After I started cooking for us, I began to introduce rice to him- he had always thought you were supposed to eat it with sugar and milk as a cereal for breakfast! And my father-in-law...I would purposefully cook a rice dish sometimes when they came for supper so he would have to eat it without complaining! LOL He always said, 'rice has no taste! ' To which I would always retort, 'Potatoes too! You have to add so much butter and salt!'

So, over time I did not cook plain rice too often, and now that I am beginning to do so again, I find that it usually turns out GUMMY! not yummy to us, as we are not trying to use chopsticks to eat it! Everyone around here seems to want to eat it fluffy, me included.  I've been prowling around online to see what I'm doing wrong...there are so many conflicting hints and tips! Two days ago I cooked brown rice specifically following the tips I had collected, and it turned out HORRIBLY GUMMY! So I tossed that site...Today I have found a few more that I shall try. Over at Rice Science ttp:// their information makes sense...I will experiment with this method soon.

I didn't realize that all the many types of rice cooked up so different. The Rice Science site was really interesting- about the two types of starch in rices and how that determines whether the cooked rice will be more sticky or separate...also the varying ways of cooking can determine the successful outcome. You may want to read their short article yourself!

I also had a question about converted rice- it cooks up nice and separate but I wondered about the nutritional content. I was happy to find this information: "Converted rice is steamed before it's husked, a process that causes the grains to absorb many of the nutrients from the husk.  When cooked, the grains are more nutritious, firmer, and less clingy than white rice grains. " Converted rice from Uncle Ben is the only brand I have ever seen, and it is pricey, but it DOES cook up NOT GUMMY. Actually the whole point of cooking rice for us right now is to save money, so converted rice doesn't really fit this criteria!

My dish I fixed to use the rice for this week was Chicken Gumbo.

My mother had taught me to cook long-grain rice 1 part rice to 2 parts water, and that's what I've always done. But now with my new information I will try cooking with a little less water- some sites say to use 1 1/2 parts water. So I'll see... also some say to cook the rice a short time first in a little oil or butter...

I guess I need to call my mom!

(OH! If you read my blog- please leave a comment telling how you like to cook YOUR rice! That will make my day!!)

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