Monday, January 30, 2006

Not crunchy, not gooey, just right

Cooking A personal milestone: Yesterday, I managed to cook egg fried rice that was neither mushy nor undercooked, using Basmati rice. I have never, ever acheived this before! Brown rice and easy-cook rice are easy; they have more structural integrity and don't 'mush' as easily. As far as I know, egg fried rice should really be a way of using leftover boiled rice, so the rice is already cooked when you start to fry it (unlike risotto, when you fry the rice dry and then add the liquid), but I cooked rice especially for this dish. Normally, I wash white rice thoroughly (but gently*) before cooking, and use slightly less than twice as much water as rice for the cooking. The water is added cold, then heated to boiling and turned down to a simmer until it is all absorbed. I did three things differently last night:
  1. I didn't bother washing the rice before cooking
  2. I poured boiling, not cold, water on the rice to cook it
  3. I rinsed the rice in more boiling water when it was cooked

I also spread the rice out on a chopping board to 'dry' and cool before frying it. I don't know which of the above made the difference, or even if it was a bit of all of them, but each grain of rice was cooked through, and there was no gloopy mess in the pan. I'll definitely do things this way again.


* Rice is washed to remove excess starch on the outside of the grains, which makes things sticky. However, if you wash it roughly, the grains will break and release more starch - and more stickiness...


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