Preparation time: 3 minutes
Cooking time: 15 - 30 minutes
Serves: 1 to 6
Dietary guidance: v v
Do you love rice, but don't like to cook it because you're afraid of burning it, or have had bad experiences trying to make it in the past? This recipe is for anyone who would like to know how to make excellent rice every time with almost no labour or hassle!
First, the most important thing of all is to get a cheap rice cooker. They may be purchased at most department stores, starting around $10 to $15 for the basic model, which is what I have always owned and used. Forget about the models with all the complicated features and programmable gadgets, the basic rice cooker works quite well.
I've included a photo of a basic rice cooker with its measuring cup. It is important to keep the cup and to use it to make the rice, because it is not the same size as the 8 ounce cup in the United States.
The best rice for everyday cooking is Basmati, which comes from only one place in the world: the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in India and Pakistan. Fortunately, this rice is fairly easy to obtain here in the US and elsewhere. I store the rice in a plastic Tupperware container for everyday use in my cupboard, where I also keep the rice cooker's measuring cup so I don't lose it.
Basmati is very nice, semi-long grain, sticky, soft rice. It's not the kind of rice you get from Uncle Ben's, which is non-sticky, dry, and well, not too good. Basmati rice on its own has a nutty kind of flavor, which is quite tasty.
To prepare the rice, use the measuring cup that came with the cooker, and use it to measure out the rice into the rice cooker pot. For just one or two people, use only one measure of rice. For more than two, or for a larger dish, use two measuring cups. For a gathering of 6 to 8 people, use three measuring cups. That is all that my little rice cooker can handle at one time, so if I need more rice than that, I just make it in batches.
Note: if you are cooking wild rice, increase the amount of liquid.
For each measuring cup of rice, add two measuring cups of chicken broth. If you don't have chicken broth, you may substitute water that has had chicken bullion dissolved into it. If you just don't want to use chicken broth, that's fine too, just use water. But the chicken broth really makes a huge difference in how the rice turns out, and is well worth the cost.
Then add some saffron stamens. Saffron is expensive, but there are places you may buy it in bulk quantities where it's not so outrageous. I get mine from my local food co-op health food store. For each measuring cup of rice, use between 1/8 and 1/4 of a teaspoon of saffron. The saffron will turn your rice a pretty yellow and impart a heavenly flavor that lends itself to many dishes.
Place the lid on the rice cooker, push the button to make it cook, and then go do something else. When the rice is done, the cooker will automatically shut off or go into "warming" mode until you serve it. And that's it! Perfect rice every time!