Home made rice is extremely easy once you get the hang of it. It's versatile, delicious, nutritious and costs only pennies per serving. There are dozens of types of rice, with very different flavors and applications. Most people will be familar with at least one or two varieties. White and brown. There are many sub-types within brown and white, not to mention the wild and other specialty types. I will show you how I make Basmati rice here. Basmati is a long grain rice with delicate flavor and a nice medium density bite. It is excellent for most asian dishes, as well as rice pudding and fried rice.
For sushi I use a shorter grain "pearl" type calrose rice, which tends to be softer and stickier than long grain Basmati. Some people prefer Jasmine, which has a distinct sweetness to it and falls somewhere between No wonder it is the staple food for most of the world.
Now, I do have a rice cooker which is fine for making large batches (especially good for when I make huge sushi spreads), but when I want to make rice for two or three plates, I do the tried and true pot on the stove method. Here is what I learned from watching my mom when I was about six years old.
Step 1: Measure Your Rice and Water.
Remember you more than double your rice volume, so don't cook a full cup of rice per person! So, two cups of rice and two and a half cups of water will yield just over four cups of cooked rice. I find that is just right for four people, and we usually have leftovers for quicky fried rice the next day.
First put the rice and water in the pot. Place the pot on a level surface and put your (clean) finger in to touch the bottom of the pan. Make a mental note of where the water level hits your finger.
Step 2: Rinse Your Rice. Optional But Encouraged.
Now you will rinse the rice thoroughly. I usually find that filling the pot with water, swirling the rice around and draining the water out three times is sufficient. You want the water to be clear and free of the starchy cloudiness you notice in the first photo.
Now drain most of the water out the last rinsing and refill the pot just back to the level you noted with the measured water. The reason for this method as opposed to just draining and adding 1.5 cups of water for each cup of rice now is that the rice has absorbed some water during the rinsing process, and you will end up with mushy rice if you don't compensate for this.
As I said, you can skip this rinsing step if you must, but I find it really does make a difference. The final product is cleaner and lighter and the grains are more defined. If you want to cook unwashed rice, simply put the pot with the 1:1.5 rice-water ratio directly on the stove.
Step 3: Cook, Cover, Time.
Cover as soon as you get it to the right heat for a simmer. Set your timer for 20 minutes and walk away. DO NOT OPEN it even to peek until the 20 minutes are up. This is of paramount importance if you want to end up with a successful pot of rice. I am not kidding. Not even a slight tilt of the lid! Leave it alone!
Step 4: Uncover and Fluff.
Step 5: Serving Suggestion.
While the rice is cooking you have 20 minutes to make a quick stir fry or saute. Just whack a few vegetables in a pan with a touch of butter or olive oil, grind in some pepper and salt, sprinkle a few red pepper flakes for heat and stir it over medium heat for about ten minutes. Maybe a splash of soy sauce instead of the salt?
Dump it over that bowl of rice and Robert is the name of your mother's mother's son.