Many people just struggle with rice, and turn to convenience rice products, which supposedly save time and are easy. However, I often wonder why these EVEN exist? They are expensive, and I never had one that didn’t just …suck.
GOOD RICE IS EASY. It is. It doesn’t take that much time, and it doesn’t take a lot of prep. If your rice is less than par, I think you’re just missing some little tidbit of knowledge in making it. I make great rice, and here’s what I can tell you about it.
I don’t much care for rice in thin bags. Mahatma long grain rice and many other brands come in thin bags. If you use them right away, you’ll be ok, but the plastic is so thin that tiny little bugs can get all in there if you store than anywhere but the freezer for an extended period of time.
In my opinion, the best rice to buy for most use is Par Excellence Long Grain rice. The bag is nice and thick, insect critters never seem to grow or get in it when you store it, and I’ve never had trouble with it sticking. It’s consistently good. I buy mine in 10 pound bags at Sam’s, for well less than $.80 pound. Once you get adept at cooking rice from scratch, you’ll come to enjoy how versatile and easy on the budget it really is.
Here’s how to make good basic rice- Remember, 1 to 2. For every cup of rice, you need 2 cups of liquid. You really don’t need anything fancy to cook it in either, just a good saucepan will do. I like to use a heavy stainless steel 1.5 quart saucepan. A thin, cheap pan could cause some rice to burn a bit on the bottom, which will mess up the entire pan. I like a triple clad bottom. It is sad to see so many young women think that they cannot cook, when really they just don’t know how the value of good cookware.
This is the exact pan that I use. I have had mine since 2009 and it still looks and cooks like new:
If you are going to make fried rice with it, put it in the fridge. Fried rice is SO much better when rice has been cooked, then chilled. I’m not sure why, but it won’t clump as easily, and it’s less likely to get sticky.
Restaurant style Mexican rice is not hard either, but there’s some special tricks to it. For starters, using the same sort of saucepan, add about 1-2 tablespoons of oil along with your rice. On med heat, stir your rice for about 3 minutes, or until it starts to tan and lightly brown. Stir it the whole time so that none burns. When you start seeing it get to that lightly toasted stage, THEN add your water or stock.
Here’s my basic recipe- I’ll update it with a picture the next time I make it.
Mexican Restaurant Rice
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 cups long grain rice
4 cups water
2 cubes Maggi pollo con tomatoe or chicken with tomato(You find this in the Mexican section of the grocery store, or sometimes close to the soups and bullion cubes.)
2 tablespoons of ketchup
In a saucepan, heat oil and rice over medium heat, stirring constantly until about a third of the rice is toasted and some is light tan. Add water with Maggi cubes dissolved in it, and ketchup. Stir. Turn heat to low and cover pan. After 20 minutes, fluff rice with a fork and serve.
Note, this taste exactly like the Mexican restaurant’s rice in this area. It does have MSG in it. If you do not want that, use instead chicken stock in place of water and omit the Maggi cubes. You can also use tomato sauce instead of ketchup, if you like.
This, and all rice, freezes well. Just put it in a gallon size freezer bag and freeze it! You can let it thaw in the fridge prior to use, then just warm it and serve. If you make and freeze extra, it can save you prep time.