Ever struggle with making rice? Mushy, hard, or just plain bad? Don’t fret, THIS is the ultimate guide to making the perfect white rice.
If you’ve read my other blog post about rice, you know I’ve had serious issues with rice making. My relationship status with it has been complicated to say the least. This post has been years in the making (enter image of tears rolling down my face).
I tried everything under the sun to make my rice the Latin way, meaning those beautifully individual rice kernels perfectly cooked without splitting. Basically, rice that’s just past al dente.
Well….it turns out rice is super high maintenance and every batch has it’s own temperament. Nevermind the fact that you need to pick the right pot for the job.
So let’s go, the ultimate guide to the perfect white rice – Latin style. The summarized recipe is farther down but below is a lengthy explanation. Something I wish I had freaking five years ago!
I’ll work with two cups of rice for this example, because the photos I have correspond to that. But I will make notes for larger portions.
- First things first, when you’re buying rice, pick medium to long-grain rice (I prefer long-grain). Pass Uncle Ben’s and all other garbage rice products a.k.a. parboiled, minute rice, converted rice, or boil-in-a-bag rice. You need to buy REAL rice that has not been processed. If it comes in a box, put that ish down and find the rice that comes in a bag. Make sure to read the label. Natural regular rice folks!
- Once home, get all of your tools and ingredients ready. You’ll need a large bowl, a small pot (with a tight-fitting lid), a large spoon (to mix), a small spoon (to test), olive oil, salt, and something that measures cups.
- Measure out two leveled cups of rice in either a measuring cup or a liquid measure. It doesn’t matter which one as long as you use the same type of measuring device for the water.
- Place the dry rice in a large bowl and wash it three times with cold water. Make sure to drain it well after each time. Why three? I have absolutely no idea. My Titi does it that way and her rice is perfection so I’m sticking with that. The main reason is to get rid of some of the starch in the rice. Once you wash it, you will immediately see the water turn murky. Some people say you should wash the rice until the water turns clear but three washes doesn’t get it fully clear. I guess three times is just that goldilocks rule that gets rid of some starch but not all – it’s juuuuuust right.
- The pot should correspond to the amount of rice. For two cups, you need a small pot. For three cups, you need a medium-sized pot and for four cups or more, I would use a large pot.
- Measure out one cup of water and set it aside. Remember to use the same measuring thingy you used for the rice.
- Heat a small pot on medium-high heat. Let it get hot. Add 1.5-2 tablespoons of oil and then add the rice (it should coat the bottom of the small pot). Add the washed and drained rice and stir with a large spoon so the rice gets coated in oil. This toasts the rice and develops flavor but it also helps the rice stay separate. The rice will start sticking to the sides and bottom (that’s totally fine) but keep stirring for about 30 seconds. The rice will get chalky looking – meaning some parts will look translucent but other parts remain opaque.
- OK, this is the important part – adding water. The point is to add as much water as the rice can handle that still allows a spoon to stick straight up in the middle of the pot (it’s a lot less than you think). For two cups of rice, I usually use 1 cup of water. For larger amounts of rice, you should add liquid gradually so you don’t have to scoop water out. However, if you do add too much water, spoon some out until a spoon sticks straight up. Just a note, for a large pot of rice, I check with a regular-sized spoon (a small spoon will drop and get lost in the sauce – not that that’s happened to me or anything). Whatever spoon you use, it should stand perfectly upright in the middle of the pot, if it can’t, take more water out. Some people say you should have an inch of water above the rice. That’s a damn lie! That will lead to some soggy rice my friends. Like I said, I’m trying to make Latin rice not risotto.
- Once you have the spoon thing down, season the rice with salt and taste the water. It should be a little saltier than you feel comfortable with. Rice absorbs more salt than you think. So if you salt the water so it’s well seasoned, the rice will be bland as hell. It’s a weird thing but trust me on this one. I added one teaspoon of kosher salt but see what you like. Either way, you gotta taste the water y’alls. Once seasoned, pop on a tight-fitting lid and turn the flame down to a simmer (and I mean the lowest flame you can possibly get on your stove).
- Set your timer for 10 minutes from now and then 5 minutes after that (so 15 minutes total). It does not matter how much rice you have with this step, the timing will work for all amounts of rice unless you’re doing something for Guiness World Records.
- After 10 minutes, fold the rice. You want to cook the rice evenly so the parts at the bottom should go to the top and vice versa. Close the lid and let it keep simmering.
- At the 15-minute mark, DON’T TOUCH THE LID, just turn off the heat and walk away. This is where trust and confidence comes in. I know you will be tempted to check on the rice but YOU HAVE TO TRUST THE RICE and trust yourself! Let the rice sit there steaming to perfection for another 15 minutes. I’m serious, don’t touch that lid you will ruin everything!
- After 15 minutes, take a fork and fluff the rice, separating the grains. Taste it immediately and savor the flavor and almost more importantly, the texture. Yaaaaaaaasssssssss honey (said grandma style)!!! It’s time to celebrate!!!
- • 2 cups regular long-grain white rice, washed three times & drained
- • 1.5-2 tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of a small pot)
- • 1 cup water
- • Kosher salt
- On a medium-high flame, heat oil in a small pot.
- Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook for 30 seconds until chalky.
- Add 1 cup of water, stir, and check if a small spoon stands straight up in the center of the pot. If it does, you’re good to go.
- Add salt and check for seasoning (if should be slightly saltier than you’re comfortable with).
- Cover with a tight-fitting lid and turn the flame down to a low simmer.
- After 10 minutes, fold the rice over. Take the rice from the bottom and bring it to the top. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
- At the 15-minute mark, shut off the flame but DO NOT OPEN THE LID. Let the rice steam for another 15 minutes with the lid on.
- After 15 minutes, fluff with a fork and enjoy!