Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Life-Changing Baked Rice

I was planning a different post, which I promise I'll get around to, when PERFECT RICE happened.

Maybe you make perfect rice every time you attempt, reader dear, but I do not. Perfect rice is a rarity in these parts.

My rice saga has been long and sad. It begins with a bewildered bride. She wants to make rice. Mom made it look pretty darn easy (even if it did take a long time and result in the microwave overheating). She thinks, "No prob!", and opts for the stovetop over microwave. The result: bony rice that is burned on the bottom. This happens more times than I care to recount.

Dying a little inside (the weight of her failures heavy in her little foodie heart), this savvy bride purchases a rice cooker from a co-worker. He got it as a wedding present and only asked her to give him $5 for it. Score! Excitedly, she plugs it in and follows the directions, already imagining the fluffiness of the rice that will result. Ten minutes later, she comes back to check the progress of her new toy. It is lukewarm, and will not start up again. The rice inside lays stonily at the bottom of the pool of starchy water in the pot. It was not to be. The rice cooker had died, never to rice cook again. (Or ever, really, since it didn't even make it through round one.)

Fast forward a little. The bride and her hubby are in a new place, but having the same old problem. Stovetop rice that's bony and burned on the bottom (albeit slightly less than before) . They give the microwave method a try. The result: mushy rice, and starchy water all over the microwave.

When will the madness end?!

One magical day, she happens upon this post on The Wednesday Chef. It promises perfect rice for utter rice failures like herself!

It seemed too good to be true, but it is true, friends. It is.

If you, like me, have trouble with rice, I have the solution for you:

Life-Changing Baked Rice
1 (generous) Tbsp. olive oil
2 c. rice
2 3/4 - 3 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Pour the olive oil or place the butter in a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and set the pan over medium-high heat.
Throw in the rice and stir it until the oil or butter coats all the grain.
Cook, stirring, for a few minutes. The rice will look glassy and smell toasty.
Pour in the water, add the salt, and bring to a boil.
Stir the rice once, then cover the pot and place in the oven.
Set the timer for 13 minutes.
After 13 minutes, remove the pot from the oven. Do not remove the lid from the pot and let the rice rest for five minutes.
After resting, fork through the rice to fluff it and serve.
(Serves at least 4)


  1. Is rice an ingredient? :) How much?

  2. Thanks Amanda. This is what I get for blogging at the office where I'm constantly being interrupted by phone calls... I've fixed it.

  3. This sounds like a lovely tasty way to cook rice. Would like to offer a suggestion aka the Asian way without a rice cooker -- steamed rice! It's fast, easy, needs no oil and minimal washing up.
    1. Put uncooked rice in a metal bowl that can fit into a large pot. Wash a couple of times to remove surface starch.
    2. Stick a finger into the rice and note where it comes up to on the finger. Cover the rice with clean water, and top up with extra water. The depth of water over the rice should be half of the rice measurement on your finger. (hope this was clear enough) This applies to every batch of rice regardless of amount of rice cooked.
    3. Put a stem tray into a large pot and fill enough water to cover the tray. Heat till steaming. Put rice bowl in onto the tray, cover and let steam for 10 - 15. If you don't have a steam tray, an inverted porcelain small bowl works too.
    4. Use tongs to remove the rice bowl from the pot, fluff and serve.

    This works as well if you have an electric steamer....just use the plastic bowl provided with your steamer to contain the rice.

    Hope you find this useful

  4. Is this minute rice,short grain or long grain?

    1. You can use this recipe with pretty much any kind of white rice -- short- or long-grain. I've used it for jasmine and basmati rices, too. Just don't use par-cooked rice (Minute Rice) or brown rice.


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