Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cooking Rice: Simmer and Steam Method

Also called absorption method. Used with both pot on stove and rice cooker.

Cooking rice is simple and easy, once the goals are understood and the basic technique is practiced. This is true for any kind of rice, regardless of equipment and cooking method used. It quickly becomes routine preparation to soak rice, simmer and taste test rice, cover and rest, and serve.

This section overviews the basics and details with more tips and troubles than abbreviated recipe directions. For example, a recipe might direct you to soak dry brown rice for 2 hours, but not explain exactly how or why.

What happens if you soak only 1 hour? Another example, a recipe might omit and assume water, or if listed in ingredients, is amount of water for soaking, cooking, or both? Or another example, is cooking time for dry rice, or wet rice?

1. Soak: Raise water content to normal freshly harvested rice moisture 20-30%. May precede with wash to clean and remove milling residue. Optional, if pre- washed. May also follow with rinse to remove starch leached from soaking water. Optional, if sticky rice.
Soaking adds the water back that drying removed. Soaking might be skipped for white rice, but can't be skipped for brown or wild rices. The brown rice bran fiber
greatly slows water absorption.
2. Simmer: Raise moisture to 60% and gel starches. How depends on equipment and method.
Simmering rice with water and heat gels or gelatinizes it. This is the same process that thickens a liquid like a sauce or gravy.
3. Steam: Distribute moisture.

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