Join the New Year Rice Revolution
We want to talk about rice! Stay with us here (it's important)...
Sorry Uncle Ben, but rice is a really important part of our cuisine and it should be given as much thought and time as the main and side dishes we prepare. Rafi was particularly passionate about rice and we want to continue passing on this message.
We are often told that people have difficulty with rice and resort to using pre-cooked or easy to cook versions. But, once you have mastered our technique, you should be able to ensure that you always have good quality, well-cooked rice as part of your meal. You'll won't go back after experiencing how amazing it can taste.
Rafi was from South India, so rice formed an important part of her diet and could easily feature in all three meals of the day in some form. As a child, it was always Kevin's responsibility to cook the rice for their family meals and, while he always found it a chore, the process has stuck with him and he now cooks it almost instinctively without thinking.
So, we'd like to dispel some rice myths. By no means are we saying that it's our way or the highway, but this is what works for us, and how we think rice should be cooked when eating Indian food. It's also worth noting that we are talking about high quality Basmati Rice, as other types of rice cook differently. Whilst we love adding other spices to the rice, depending on what we are cooking with (try our Pilau Rice or Cumin Rice to see what we mean), good rice should be tasty enough to eat plain or with a simple Dhal, as South Indians do.
To rinse or not to rinse?
A contentious point. We advise that you don't rinse rice beforehand. By rinsing, you remove a lot of the surface starch and therefore the stickiness from the rice. In India, the sticky texture is essential as people mix their rice with other components of the meal with their fingers to eat it, instead of chasing grains across the plate. That being said, this only works with high quality rice, and using anything else is unlikely to have the desired effect.
To soak or not to soak?
Again, in some other cultures/cuisines, soaking is all part of the routine. For example it's common in Persian-style cooking to soak rice for up to 6 hours. At the Spicebox, however, we disagree. It doesn't have to be that time consuming! Years ago, rinsing and soaking rice was recommended to remove any traces of dirt, but these days the quality of the rice is so high it's ready to cook straight out of the packet.
Good quality rice doesn't have to come at a price. At £5.95 for 2kg, our finest quality Basmati Rice should be enough for 27 servings and comes in at a modest 22p per portion. In comparison, the boil in the bag alternative, has only 8 servings per box and weighs in at 37p per portion. And that's not to mention the inconveniences of excess waste and more frequent purchases.
"The key here is to measure the ingredients correctly. I always use the same style of cup I used as a child. It holds approx. 150g of rice and this is enough for two people. The other important point is not to remove the lid during cooking as the steam is essential in the cooking process. Rafi always reminded me that, if I did remove the lid, the 'Rice God' would punish me! It's also important that it's a tight fitting lid. If you don't have one available, you can wrap foil round the rim to keep the steam in."
1. In a saucepan, add 1 part rice, 1.5 parts water and a pinch of salt.
2. Bring to the boil.
3. Cover with a lid and simmer on a very low heat for 12 mins.
4. Take off the heat and leave for 3 mins with the lid still on.
5. Lift the lid, toss the grains and serve it up!