Rice Preparations

We Asians often eat rice with every meal, since it's a great base for our flavourful curries, & it's also very nutritious.
There is nothing more appealing than a bowl of fluffy, perfectly cooked, steaming hot rice. There is also nothing that's more heart-breakingly tragic than rice that has been undercooked & is too chewy or over done & too sticky.The very thought can make me sad :( 


The secret to cooking perfect rice is to wash it 4-5 times before cooking to ensure that all the sticky starch has been removed. You should also soak it after washing for about 30 mins to ensure it comes out just perfect. I use a pressure cooker & put a little more than double the amount of water per cup of rice.You can also use a pan with a tightly fitting lid. I wait exactly until the first whistle ( about 10-20 mins) after which I quickly run the pressure cooker under cold water  to release the steam ( this step is of course unnecessary if you are not using a pressure cooker) & immediately strain the rice so that it doesn't get overcooked. If you leave the rice in the hot water in the pot you run the risk of it continuing to cook and turn mushy.


 However, accidents do happen. If they must, you could use some of the following little tricks that I found online and have used to rescue my rice, sadly too many a time.. 
 Problem: The rice is still very chewy or hard in the middle. 
Solution: Add just enough water to create a little steam, 1/4 cup or less. Put the lid on and cook the rice on very low heat for another 5 minutes. 

 Problem: The grains are split and the rice is mushy because of over cooking. 
Solution: This is the worst problem because you can't really fix over cooked rice. You could wash the sticky rice under cold water. That helps a little, but the best way to use it up would be to make rice pudding with it, 


 Problem: The bottom layer of rice has burned. 
Solution: Run cold water over the outside of the pot's bottom to stop it from continuing to cook, and preventing the burnt flavor from permeating the rest of the rice (don't add water to the rice itself).Tip out as much rice as you can salvage. Be careful not to mix the burnt part at the bottom with the rest of the rice.


 Rice is usually eaten with curries. It is also often flavoured and cooked with ingredients as in fried rice, biryani etc.
South Indians have an interesting variety of rice dishes like curd rice, mint rice, coconut rice, spinach rice, tomato rice, sambhar rice, tamrind rice and my favourite, the tangy Lemon Rice.


Lemon Rice
Ingredients: 
2 cups cooked rice 
2 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil 
1 tsp mustard seeds 
3-4 curry leaves 4 green chillies slit lengthwise 4 dry red chillies 
1 tsp ginger paste or grated ginger 
1/2 cup peanuts (roasted and unsalted) 
1 tsp turmeric powder 
Juice of 2 lemons 
Salt to taste 


Preparation: Add salt and lemon juice to the cooked rice and mix well so that it is spread evenly. Keep aside Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, curry leaves and green chillies. Fry till the spluttering stops Add the ginger and peanuts. Fry for another minute. Add the turmeric powder and red chillies and stir. Turn off the fire. Add the rice and mix well so that it takes on the bright yellow colour from the turmeric. Can be eaten plain, with pickle or served with a raita ( Yogurt mixed with a little salt, finely chopped onion, cucumber or tomatoes)

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