How to choose?
In the world where we have access to anything, learning all varieties and qualities of rice is not an easy task. One is for sure - after almost 10,000 years rice is still one of the most popular staple food all over the world, finding its way to traditional dishes outside of Asia.
The most common rice in China is medium-grain and long-grain rice. If you wish to go for premium Chinese rice, which is more common in China and not widely exported outside China is WuChang rice. I have not yet tried it, but it is available on amazon, you can find it here.
I always use Jasmine rice and this is the rice that you get in most of Chinese restaurants and places. Even though it is originally cultivated in Thailand, it is very good for preparing Chinese dishes as well as a side dish. I eat rice more often than bread, so I always have at least 8 kg-bag of rice, call me crazy.
How to cook?
Funny thing is, there is one magical way to cook rice. The method is well known I think in all Asian countries and it works no matter the rice type, pot size or stove power. It just works.
One very important thing: please, PLEASE, always rinse your rice. ALWAYS. Otherwise, you will get a sticky, mushy, white, lacking-texture mud. Really, it is worth spending 3-4 minutes more to make sure rice is a pleasure for the stomach and for the soul. How to do it? Simple! WTF - Water, Test, Finger!
Water. This is how rice looks like when you add water without rinsing. Who would like to eat it?
To reduce wasting water I usually add a lot of water to a pot or bowl then I place a sieve with rice on top and lightly wash it. Change water at least 3-4 times.
Test. This is how rice should look like. You need to be able to see all grains of rice.
Finger. Put your finger into water just so it lightly touches the rice surface. Cover with water until it reaches your first knuckle. Done.
The way I do the cooking part: I bring it to the boil uncovered, then once it boils, I reduce power to the lowest possible setting on the stove. Cover and let it simmer for approx. 15-20 minutes. Then I turn off the stove and let it sit for another 2-3 minutes. Always works!
How to store?
If you are lucky enough to have some leftover cooked rice - please read through.
If you ever wondered why rice cookers are so popular in Asian countries, now is the time to reveal the great mystery. It is not so much about cooking as it is about storing after cooking. Cooked rice is safe to eat withing a few hours once it's cooked. How many exactly? I don't want to be too dramatic, there are different schools and I am not a microbiologists, but from what I've gathered while searching the Internet, once cooked rice gets cold bacteria comes to the stage. It is recommend to cook rice with temperature higher than 75°C, and then stored in temperature higher than 63°C. Otherwise, rice turns bad and even toxic. That's why rice cookers have the storing mode of cooked rice in the right temperature and it keeps even up to 3 days.
How to safely store any leftover rice? Once you eat as much as you can and still have leftovers (lucky you), transfer warm cooked rice on a chopping board or a baking tray in a thin layer to cool it down faster. Once it is almost cold, pack portions into freezer-safe bags and place them in the freezer. I keep mine even up to 2-3 months. To defrost rice, I usually transfer one or two bags into the fridge and then, before using it, I place it again on a chopping board lined with paper towels (to absorb any moisture) in a thin layer. It is perfect for fried rice dishes!
Soon, I will add here my favourite fried rice dishes, so stay tuned! Until then, freeze as many bags of rice as possible!