Monday, July 19, 2010

Chinese Cooking Basics: Rice

It's been difficult to cook Chinese food at home due to my lack of access to ingredients, time, and my husband's aversion to certain ingredients. I truly want to retain my culture and push myself to cook more Chinese food, so I'm starting a weekly series on the basics in Chinese cooking on Mondays, from ingredients, equipment to recipes. I am far from being a master in Chinese cooking, but I picked up a thing or two many years ago when I was in charge of cooking for the family while my mother took night classes. I have much more to learn, and I'm taking you along on the ride!

To kick off this series, let's start with the most basic and most widely consumed ingredient, which helps keep most Asians staying trim - rice. Contrary to what most Americans think, you don't have to cut out carbs. My grandparents have rice as much as three times a day, and have no problems with a growing waistband. It's all about practicing moderation and having a healthy lifestyle.

The rice of choice in my family is Jasmine rice (in particular, the brand from Thailand with three elephants on the package). It's a long-grain rice that is fragrant, fluffy and not too sticky. I usually cook the amount that is needed for a meal, and if I plan on making fried rice in the next couple of days, I make more.

To make rice for two in a rice cooker:
  • measure 1 cup of rice
  • rinse rice once and repeat to get rid of the impurities
  • for each cup of rice, add about 1 1/2C of water, depending on the desired consistency (I prefer a tad less than that for a less mushy/sticky texture)
I usually don't measure the liquid needed if I'm making enough for two for one meal, but if I make more than that, I usually measure.

Making rice is as basic as it gets. It's one of the few things I've mastered in Chinese cooking. Stay tuned next week for more on Chinese Cooking Basics!

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