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Rice: Boil and Drain Method?


Dukeofyork
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Long story short, I was washing dishes in the kitchen I share with my floormates when I noted that one of them was cooking rice like pasta.

That is, boiling it in lots of water. I shortly had to make way so that he could drain it. I commented on how this was an unusual way to cook rice and he went on a long tirade, implying that I was an idiot and a fool to do it any other way (he's a bit of an a__hole, but we'll leave that aside for the moment).

He said that it was faster, never burned the rice, and produced superior results. And yet all my life I've been using the absorption method to great satisfaction, and all my Asian friends seem to do the same. Is the boil-and-drain method really superior?

I was so dumbfounded by this fellow's forcefulness that I couldn't think of a single thing to say in response.

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We also learned this method in cooking school. Just this week, in fact. I'm into minimiziing rarely used kitchen appliances/gadgets, but I use my rice cooker all the time. Perfect rice every time. Holds the rice for hours if need be. Not that expensive. They sell some good ones here at Chef's Corner

Also, regardless of method, I like to vary the liquids I use (water, stock, flavored water, etc.).

-Mark-

---------------------------------------------------------

"If you don't want to use butter, add cream."

Julia Child

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Re boil and drain, unless you are saving the water and cooking something else

with it, you are pouring away most of the nutrients.

It's not at all hard to make perfect and fluffy rice stovetop

or rice cooker with the correct amount of water to start with

so you don't have to waste....

Milagai

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Is the boil-and-drain method really superior? 

It's a bit cringe-inducing to hear something like this, as if one has to choose between poached and scrambled eggs and declare one superior for all time. Your friend is surely happy in his limited universe; no need to disrupt his equilibrium. But he's misinformed. There are several ways to cook rice, and there are several kinds of rice, and pretty much all you can say categorically is that the different methods produce different results, some of which are better suited to specific purposes than others. Boiling, steaming, absorption, absorption-plus-stirring . . . no one method is inherently the best. It's a question of the rice you're using and what you want to get out of it.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Is the boil-and-drain method really superior? 

It's a bit cringe-inducing to hear something like this, as if one has to choose between poached and scrambled eggs and declare one superior for all time. Your friend is surely happy in his limited universe; no need to disrupt his equilibrium. But he's misinformed. There are several ways to cook rice, and there are several kinds of rice, and pretty much all you can say categorically is that the different methods produce different results, some of which are better suited to specific purposes than others. Boiling, steaming, absorption, absorption-plus-stirring . . . no one method is inherently the best. It's a question of the rice you're using and what you want to get out of it.

OMG I so feel this way exactly!!!! it really depends on what I am making as to what type I use and how I make my rice....there are tons of ways to do it including boil and drain and that I use as well for certain dishes.....there is no one way of making rice I agree and I could not have said this better!!!

I can honestly say the only way I don't make it is in a rice cooker I don't care for those things at all

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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Re boil and drain, unless you are saving the water and cooking something else

with it, you are pouring away most of the nutrients.

It's not at all hard to make perfect and fluffy rice stovetop

or rice cooker with the correct amount of water to start with

so you don't have to waste....

Milagai

I understand that the matter of pouring away or rinsing off nutrients only applies to enriched rice, (the most common rice sold), but it wouldn't matter if you're cooking brown rice or other unprocessed rice.

SB (or wild rice, which is really grass)

Edited by srhcb (log)
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Maybe it was just the person doing it, but when I've had rice prepared via the boil and drain method, I've found that most of the charm of the rice--texture, aroma and flavor--disappears. The rice sometimes seems waterlogged.

I don't get it. I've seen people do it, but I didn't realize that this was a "technique."

Long grain rice won't really stick to itself much using the normal steaming or absorption methods, anyway.

But then, I might be strange. I cook farro in a rice cooker.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Re boil and drain, unless you are saving the water and cooking something else

with it, you are pouring away most of the nutrients.

It's not at all hard to make perfect and fluffy rice stovetop

or rice cooker with the correct amount of water to start with

so you don't have to waste....

Milagai

I understand that the matter of pouring away or rinsing off nutrients only applies to enriched rice, (the most common rice sold), but it wouldn't matter if you're cooking brown rice or other unprocessed rice.

SB (or wild rice, which is really grass)

Hmmm. I can see how it would definitely apply to enriched rice, but

would it not also apply to any form of food where you boil, nutrients

leach into the water, and if you throw out the water, then you're throwing

most of the good stuff away? Even with vegetables etc?

And all rice is grass, not just wild rice ....

Miilagai

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Hmmm.  I can see how it would definitely apply to enriched rice, but

would it not also apply to any form of food where you boil, nutrients

leach into the water, and if you throw out the water, then you're throwing

most of the good stuff away?  Even with vegetables etc? 

Many people do maintain just that. It does make some sense. :hmmm:

And all rice is grass, not just wild rice ....

Botanically speaking, yes.

I just meant to infer that wild rice is, in popular nomenclature, not a true rice. :rolleyes:

SB (not a botanist, and didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night either :wink: )

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I guess it works for long grain white rice, but I think that's the nastiest, blandest stuff on the planet. I prefer a 2:1 ratio of water to Calrose rice (minus 1 tablespoon). I learned from my DH, who learned from his Japanese ex-wife's MIL. Funny, his ex burned rice on a regular basis, but mine has always come out perfect. Hehe

Oh, I'm assuming this is for plain cooked rice, like for stir fry. My favorite rice is risotto (which really isn't that different, just more goodies).

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Basmati is long-grain, and decidedly not bland.

Actually 2:1 seems like a fairly large amount of water for Calrose or Japanese rice... I usually use 3:2 for small amounts in a conventional pot, and about 4:3 for larger amounts. Alternatively, whatever the rice cooker tells me, which should work out to be pretty close to 4:3 or so unless I'm making okayu.

I guess it works for long grain white rice, but I think that's the nastiest, blandest stuff on the planet. I prefer a 2:1 ratio of water to Calrose rice (minus 1 tablespoon). I learned from my DH, who learned from his Japanese ex-wife's MIL. Funny, his ex burned rice on a regular basis, but mine has always come out perfect. Hehe

Oh, I'm assuming this is for plain cooked rice, like for stir fry. My favorite rice is risotto (which really isn't that different, just more goodies).

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I can't imagine... Although I'm quite fine with a saucepan and I base my proportions on recommendations from Gaku Homma's book, I've never seen burnt, dry, or soupy rice in my rice cooker. (My girlfriend seems to believe rice cooker rice is superior, so I don't use the stovetop method as often as I used to).

But it's a fairly decent Japanese rice cooker that does a good job of trapping steam and making fuzzy adjustments to cooking to avoid. I don't think it's capable of burning rice, but if I leave the rice in there overnight in "keep warm" mode, the rice touching the vessel becomes a bit yellowish and crunchy, almost like the old "kama-meshi" pots.

Soupy only happens when I use a lot of water and the "okayu" mode.

Rice cookers have always made me nuts. The stuff comes out either dry, near-burnt, or soupy. Gimme a simple saucepan any day.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I *gasp* used to make rice this way. I now make it using the absorption method in a pot (can't stand one function appliances). One thing I have noted is that rice cooked in the absorption method actually has taste, and I have discovered that I DO like rice. Won't be going back to the pasta method.

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Always thought this method (boil and drain like pasta) was for people who didn't know how to cook rice. Never even considered trying it myself, though can quite understand that it will give different results suited for particular dishes. Not a fan of rice salad, though, so unlikely to change the habits of a lifetime.

MP

[edited to remove disparaging throwaway comment about Uncle Ben's, knowing, from past experience, that said comment will no doubt ignite a flame amongst devotees - uh oh too late - am not a rice snob, honest, just like my rice steamed and fluffy]

Edited by Marco_Polo (log)
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Always thought this method (boil and drain like pasta) was for people who didn't know how to cook rice. Like those poor souls who actually like, um, er, Uncle Bens.

I like Uncle Ben's for some things. It's good for rice salad, and it's what I use for my coconut rice. I always cook it in my pressure cooker, though, using less water than the package directions.... Jasmine and calrose I do in the rice cooker, basmati and vialone nano (sp?) on the stove (sometimes in the pressure cooker).

I tried that pasta-like method once for an Italian rice salad recipe that called for it, and didn't like how the rice turned out--too soggy.

Edited by beccaboo (log)
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If I'm making jasmine rice I love a nice golden tan crust. I rinse the rice off real well, soak if for at least an hour, and then air dry it for at least thirty minutes. I cook the rice in a glass pot and crank the heat to high for the last minute or so of cooking. I also give it the old 'jiffy pop shimmy' to make the crust cook evenly. The glass pot allows for looking at the progress of the crust for perfect results every time.

I wonder if there's a use for the 'rice water' when using the boiling method. Could it be reduced down and used as a thickener? A soup base? I hate pouring stuff down the drain that might have another use. I wonder if a poached egg would cook differently in the rice water.

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I wonder if there's a use for the 'rice water' when using the boiling method.  Could it be reduced down and used as a thickener?  A soup base?  I hate pouring stuff down the drain that might have another use.  I wonder if a poached egg would cook differently in the rice water.

I suppose it would be good for baking bread?

Potato water is.

SB :hmmm:

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There's something to be said for the boil-and-drain method I suppose, though I seldom use it myself. The key, if you're going to do it, is to not cook the rice until it's done.

Check the rice after 5-6 minutes. You want it to be not quite al dente, but not entirely chalky either. Drain it and turn it under cold water a few times, to rinse off some of the surface starch. Return the rice to the pot and the pot to the heat, with a tight-fitting lid on it. As soon as you see some steam escaping from the pot lid, turn the heat to minimum and let the rice finish cooking in the steam for ten minutes or so. The rice will be light and fluffy. This is similar to the traditional Iranian method of cooking rice, although that has one or two additional steps.

I do agree that this technique reduces the flavour of the rice, so I seldom use it except for dishes which will have potent flavours (saffron, curries, etc) added to it or served with it.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I wonder if there's a use for the 'rice water' when using the boiling method.  Could it be reduced down and used as a thickener?  A soup base?  I hate pouring stuff down the drain that might have another use.  I wonder if a poached egg would cook differently in the rice water.

There's a non-food use that I know of:

save the water and starch your cotton clothes in it.

Dip clothes, hang to dry, and do some serious

ironing (helps if you have help with this obviously) :wink:

And voila! Crisp, starched, cottons.

Look and feel cool in the hottest Hyderabad summer.....

Wear your vitamin B rather than ingest it.... :shock:

Milagai

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