I’ve been wanting to start sharing some recipes on the blog for awhile and so here it is, the official kick off of Foodie Fridays!
For whatever reason, I seem to encounter a lot of people who think because I love fashion I don’t or can’t cook. I feel like it’s the Carrie Bradshaw phenomenon, clearly since I write about shoes I must use my stove exclusively for storage. Well, I love cooking and not to toot my own horn, but I’m actually pretty good! It’s the running joke around here that’s how I captivated the fiance to propose in 11 months! That and I was a total bitch on our first date, but that’s a story for another day…
The friends that know me well know I like stylish clothes just as much as I like stylish cooking too and have asked for recipes and secrets in the past. I’ll be sharing some simple Cooking 101 tips and recipes (like today’s post on how to make good white rice), foodie favorites and of course, Latin cooking. So if you’ve been looking for a good Puerto Rican food blog, you’re welcome.
Caribbean cuisine is not like Mexican food, in case you’re unfamiliar. But like most Latin cultures, we do make a whole bunch of rice. White rice, yellow rice, arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), rice and beans…you name it! Rice and I are inseparable. And I’ve come to discover I’m kind of a rice snob too. So it goes without saying it drives me absolutely mad when I hear someone say “white rice is kind of bland.”
That’s because your white rice probably sucks.
You only need 5 key things to make amazingly awesome “how did you do it?!” awesome white rice. They do NOT include the following:
Olive oils: I do use them for some rice dishes but not white rice. I find the flavor too intense for a basic white rice. If you are using olive oil, you are at least on the right track as not using any oil at all when cooking white rice is the first, worst offense you can make.
Butter: This may be a personal preference but although butter tends to make everything better, that’s hardly the case with white rice. It makes the texture too sticky and again, is a bit overpowering in flavor. If, however, you have a really horrible white rice dish in front of you, add the butter it will make it better.
Soy sauce: Another bad offense. Soy sauce is for Japanese white rice, which is different than Puerto Rican white rice. Japanese white rice is sticky in texture and cooked without oil; you want it to hold together that sushi, after all. When that’s the case, of course you need soy sauce! There’s sticky white piles in your dish and you’re looking for something with a bit of slick and salt to add some flavor. But when you make good white rice, it already has these components.
Keep in mind, there are all sorts of different white rice preferences from Japanese to Jasmine; this white rice is great as a standalone, with beans or with savory meat sides. Kiss that Uncle Ben’s box goodbye. Here’s what you actually need:
The above-three are absolutely the essentials you need to make good white rice. That and the actual RICE itself. So first thing’s first, what kind of rice are you using?
I cook all my white rice with short grain white rice. Long grain rice is much better suited for “mixed” rices (dishes like arroz con pollo and rice and beans mixed together.) The best bang for your buck is the giant Calrose white rice bag from Costco. It looks like this:
Step 1: Add rice to your rice cooker. It should come with a small measuring cup; Two cups feeds about 2-3 people.
Step 2: Fill with water. As a rule of thumb, you use just as many cups of water as you do rice, plus a little more. So for two cups of white rice, I fill the rice cooker to almost the 2 1/2 water line mark like so:
Step 3: Salt. It’s really important you salt the rice before the oil goes in. Why? You’ll want to taste it and make sure it’s salted just right and no one wants a spoonful of oil. Plus, if you do screw it up you can dump the water out, save the rice and start over without having wasted oil.
I don’t use measuring cups when I cook so salt like you would a pot of pasta, until the water tastes savory enough but not too salty. If it’s bland, add more salt.
Step 4: Add oil. I use my cooking spoon to measure out oil and do one full spoon per cups of rice. That’s two spoonfuls for two cups of rice! (Don’t worry if it looks like a lot, the rice will soak it up. Besides, when has butter and oils in food ever been a bad thing?)
That’s pretty much it. Hit the button and wait for it to cook! By the time you’re done cooking your meats and other sides, you’ll have light, fluffy, tasty white rice ready to go.