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Rice cooked in the oven or baked versus stove top or cooker


heidih
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I was reminded about the technique of cooking rice in the oven by the post in Pierogi's current eGullet foodblog here. As a young child I was in love with my grandmother's rice. She baked it in an ancient enamel pot. No other ingredients than salt and water, and I am not sure if she washed it to remove added starchy coating. The kids all loved it and called it "sticky rice" because, well, it stuck together.

At home my mother went the Minute Rice route for a while (boring/tasteless/watery) and then adopted Uncle Ben's original which is a par boiled rice that does NOT stick together. She usually started it with a little oil and seasonings and then cooked it like a pilaf. The kids in the families enjoyed it but we really really wanted the sticky rice.

Do any of use use the oven on a regular basis for rice, and if so, how do you prepare it?

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Last night, I made a very coarse adaptation of a vegetable paella from Casas' The Food and Wines of Spain:

Sweat finely chopped onion in olive oil. Add short or medium grain rice and stir to coat (I let it saute for a few minutes). Add a mixture of finely chopped garlic, herbs, and nuts. Add twice as much stock as rice (by volume) along with a pinch of saffron. Simmer on medium for 7 min, then place, uncovered, in an oven at 325 F for 15-20 min. Remove and cover for 10 min.

When tomatoes are in season, I make a similar recipe that Bittman did in his Minimalist column a few years back (click).

 

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Gosh, Heidi, I have never cooked rice in the oven except in casseroles and that kind of dish, but I sure identified with the part about your Mother. My Mother used Uncle Ben's Instant too. If it mean less work...my Mother used it. She just was not interested either in cooking or in eating. She also kept her weight down her entire life. :raz:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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I make rice in the oven, usually when I make pilaf. I boil the stock with spices, then add the rice, put on a cover and place in the oven to steam. I can't say how long, but it should be a bit longer than on the stove top. The reason I did it that way was because I didn't have enough burners on the stove and it freed up one. By the way, the rice isn't sticky, but comes out fluffy. Come to think about it, I have a Corning ware bowl that I always use.

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I have also seen lots of positive buzz about Alton Brown's baked brown rice as a solution to the gummy or too chewy results many get with the stove top method.

I never really considered baking regular rice before, for a pilaf sure, but I need to try some regular white or brown.

By the way, Alton Brown's recipe looks great.

Shutter & Saute - Food photography, food styling and the art of cooking.
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The kind of rice used may determine the stickiness. If you use jasmine or regular long grain rice, the grains will not stick together unless you use too much water. Use short grain or "sweet rice", the grains will stick together no matter the method.

I use arborio rice when I make paella - start off on top of the stove, then finished in the oven. That has been producing the right stickiness but not gummy or gooey.

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Dejah is correct. The type of rice matters more than whether it was cooked in the oven, stove top or in a rice cooker. Medium grain rice is probably what your grandmother used. Short grain rice is sticky too but it probably was not available to your grandmother, but medium grain rice has always been on the shelves at grocery stores. My ex is Korean and she and every other Asian I know use medium grain for their everyday rice. Not knowing any better, I once made a rice dish for the family using regular long grain rice and they all hated it. They said the recipe was good but the rice was awful. :)

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I'm not sure how, from a theory standpoint, using the oven would produce more or less sticky results than the stove top. I'd have to confirm this experimentally, but I just don't see it.

The reason I've never used the oven for rice is that it's not efficient. Why heat up the whole oven when you can accomplish the same thing with a low flame on the stovetop?

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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Before my toaster oven went elements up, I used to cook brown rice in there.

1 cup brown rice

2 cups water

Diced onion and celery

Pinch or two of salt

Wrap in foil, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes

Perfect every time.

That's the thing about opposum inerds, they's just as tasty the next day.

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I experimented with cooking rice in the oven verses on the stove top and in a dedicated rice cooker. Each requires different technique but if you execute the technique properly the results are the same. This applies to japonica.

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One thing I sometimes do is to cook the rice nearly entirely on the stove top (should not be fully cooked through), then turn it into a dish and put it in the oven to finish off, with a pat of butter or ghee. Really delicious, and if you need the pan you cooked the rice in to finish off some other dish, it is useful.

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I always burn rice on the stove top, so I now always do it in the oven. It's easier for me to do large quantities in the oven as well, like when I make lunch for 40. Put rice in casserole, add boiling water. Cover tightly. Bake at 350 until it's not jiggly when the dish is shaken, about 30 minutes.

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A friend of my mother's made a baked rice that we use a lot, it's easy and delicious. Gets a bit of pleasant chewiness from the pan toasting and oven cooking.

Pur a little oil in a saute pan. Add long grain white rice and toast for a couple minutes, stirring frequently. Add diced onions to taste and saute briefly. Add a good shot of dried thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the rice mixture to a greased Pyrex or Corningware dish. Add the appropriate amount of beef broth for cooking the rice. Sprinkle a little more thyme on top. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

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