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Basic White Rice

Serves 4

Like many of you, I used to follow the package directions when cooking rice. The more I researched the subject, the more I found all sorts of methods by which people cook basic long grain white rice, all in an effort to keep it from getting 'sticky'. I decided to try the 2:1 ratio (two parts liquid to one part rice) suggested by many chefs. It works, and it makes it very easy to make rice in different amounts other than those listed on the package. Most directions call for adding some butter when cooking. I prefer to use a little olive oil. I think the milk solids in the butter cause the grains to stick more, which is fine for some applications. For an even drier, firmer type of rice, see the Chinese-style rice in the similar and related recipes.


Place the water, salt and oil in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and stir once. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and keep covered. Let rest for 5 minutes. Remove cover and fluff with a fork. Serve immediately or keep warm as indicated in the notes.

Notes: When cooking any rice, the lid should not be removed because it is actually the steam that cooks the rice. However, no matter how foolproof the method, factors, such as the age of the rice, can affect the amount of water or cooking time. Therefore, near the end of the 20 minutes, I often do lift the lid briefly to see if the rice needs more water or if more needs to evaporate. If there is excess moisture, partially uncover the rice and continue to cook a few minutes longer. If you have to add a little water, don't stir it in. Never stir the rice during cooking, or even when it is completely done, because it will cause the grains to stick together. That is why the recipes specifically say to fluff with a fork. If I need to hold the finished rice for a short while, I keep it partially covered off the heat and fluff just before serving. If I need to hold it longer, I do the same but over a very low heat.