Perfect Fluffy Rice

There are some recipes that you happen upon that as a home cook change the way that you cook. There are some recipes that are your staples, you can rely upon them, and indeed are safe in the knowledge that when the moment comes they won’t let you down. Certainly there are even cookbooks like that. I remember my sister had a Good Housekeeping book that was quite literally failsafe. You were confident in the knowledge that if you picked a recipe to try, and if it failed, most likely it was on behalf of the cook’s failings rather than the recipe’s. It is not often that you find these but when you do you cherish them, writing them down on scraps of paper, keeping them safe in the solid bounds of your favourite hardback cookbook. As rare as it is to find that kind of reliable recipe, it is even rarer that you come across a way of cooking a kitchen basic such as rice in such a simple but effective technique. I saw Simon Hopkinson use this technique one Saturday morning on television and I have used it since. Simon if you have never heard of him is an excellent and yet accessible cook and superb food writer and his books are definitely worth looking at if not indeed buying.

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This method works only for long grain white rice e.g. regular long grain, basmati, and Thai Jasmine. In the same way that I talked about importance of investing in a quality pasta the same holds true here for rice. The outcome of any dish is in the sum of the quality of ingredients that goes into it and so having a rice that is decent will show in your meal. Tilda is an excellent brand and though it can be expensive, keep an eye out for offers in your supermarket and stock up then. Otherwise Tesco Finest do a tremendous quality basmati rice that is very good value.

 

Oven Cooked Rice

The rule is one and a half times the volume of boiled water to the weight of rice.

I’ll use 500g of rice here as an example but just use that same idea for whatever weight of rice you wish to cook. So if you have 300g rice, use 450ml of just boiled water, 200g rice will require 300ml of just boiled water etc. It is important to be precise though so use a scales and if you don’t have one I would recommend getting an electronic one if you don’t own any. They are far more precise than regular and one of my most used pieces of kitchen equipment. Salter are probably the best known brand and at the time of writing the one that I own is on amazon for £9.99. You will also need a casserole dish with a lid for this and some baking parchment or greaseproof paper. Cut out a circle or make a cartouche if you know how.

 

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (fan oven)
  • Add 500g of rice to casserole dish and season with a little pinch of salt
  • Add 750ml of just boiled water to the rice.
  • Cover the rice and water with a circle of baking paper and put the lid on the casserole
  • Bake in the oven for 18 mins
  • When 18 mins is up, remove the casserole dish from the oven and leave it to stand for 15 mins. Do not remove the lid; just leave it sit on your hob or countertop.
  • When 15 mins is up remove lid and baking paper, and using a fork “fluff” up the rice and serve

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Note: Just be aware that this recipe is based on oven temperatures and work for me. I have passed this recipe on to others and it has worked perfectly in some cases and not so well in others. It may take some adjustment to get it right for you but I promise it is worth getting it right. I find that it is one less thing to worry about when putting together any meal requiring rice and when it comes to stir-fries I know that when the rice comes out of the oven I have 15 mins to get my stirfry ready to go and to table in that space of time. I hope you try this method and that it works out for you.

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