Rice is a culinary middle child, often overlooked and unappreciated. Asian cultures have known for centuries that rice, when seasoned and cooked properly, can be a flavorful addition to any menu.
How to Cook Perfect Rice
Adding flavor to long-grain rice — the best option for light, fluffy cooked rice — is simple, a bouquet garni. You can fill your bouquet with whatever herbs, crushed or whole spices you like. Simply remove it before serving.
Sweating an onion in butter before adding the rice to the pan is another building block of flavor. Use a small onion finely-diced so you can reap the flavor benefits without overpowering the rice’s texture. Simmer your rice in vegetable or chicken stock (or broth) instead of water. Use a low-sodium version if you’re worried about the high salt content found in many store-bought broths.
A tight-fitting cover for your pot is also key. You want to make sure the steam remains trapped inside the pot in order to fully cook the rice. After 12-15 minutes, there should be no liquid remaining at the bottom of the pan and your rice should be light and airy when fluffed with a fork.
Use a pot with a tight-fitting lid to keep the steam inside.
Finely chop your onion so you can add flavor to rice without overpowering the rice’s texture.
Pot (with a tight-fitting lid)
Sweating an Onion
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 cup long-grain rice
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 bouquet garni
- Salt and Pepper
- Melt butter in a medium pot over medium high heat.
- Add onion and sweat until onion softens, about 2 minutes. Stir in the rice along with a big pinch of salt and pepper. Once the rice is fully coated with the butter, add the stock and the bouquet garni.
- Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium low. Cook the rice until the stock is absorbed and the rice is fluffy, 12-15 minutes.
- Remove bouquet garni. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.