The crop has a very long and rich background, so naturally it has become a big part of Asian culture. Did you know that rice has been feeding mankind for the past 5,000 years? The first known account of using rice was traced back to China in 2,800 BC, making it the oldest known food still being consumed today. Rice ranks second to corn as the most highly produced crop in the word for human consumption.
In the Philippines, our love for the crop transcends necessity. A number of our festivals are dedicated to it such as the Panagyaman Festival celebrating a good harvest and the Ani Festival in Ilocos Norte. We even have a National Rice Awareness Month celebrated every November.
In the culinary side of things, the Filipinos’ creativity and love for food have found a variety of uses for rice. We turn it into a snack like our favorite steaming bowl of champorado or even as a dessert like sapin-sapin. But did you also know that there are different ways to cook rice depending on their variety?
Using the stove top is how many of us cook rice. Rinse the rice till water runs clear and put it into the pot. Pour water on top of it. When it comes to measuring water, one very common technique to do is the “finger method” where the water can be measured one finger tip above the rice level. If you want to be specific with proportions, however, you can also follow the 1 cup rice: 1 1/4 cup water proportion, or simply adjust the amount of water to your liking. Once water is added, cover the pot, bring it to a boil, reduce heat, and cook till done. This method is preferred for white and other long grain rice. Rice of the aromatic varieties also work well with this method of cooking because it better seals in the aroma.
Healthy, unpolished rice such as Black rice, for example, can be cooked using the stove top method. To prepare it, rinse and then soak in water (1 cup rice: 2 ½ cups water as guide) for 30 minutes. Turn on stove to bring to a boil and reduce heat and cook till done allowing cooked rice to absorb all the steam in the pot. Fluff and serve.
A rice cooker/steamer makes cooking rice a bit simpler because after putting in the rinsed rice and right amount of water, you flip it on and it shuts down and keeps on “warm” automatically.
Not known to many is cooking rice using a microwave. Yes, you can use your microwave to cook rice. This is most ideal for those who want their meal fast and in smaller quantities. Combine a cup of rice with 2 ½ cups of water in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it with a glass lid, and cook in high power for five minutes. Keep the bowl covered for three to four minutes before finally serving. Long grain and medium grain white rice can be cooked using a microwave.
Burnt rice a problem? It may be caused by the pot. Go for a heavy-based pot to keep the bottom of your rice from scorching and use a tight-fitting lid to keep the steam in. You can also place a clean kitchen cloth between the pot and the lid to better seal it.
We often overlook the proper storage of rice. Uncooked rice should be stored in a clean container with a tight lid and placed in a cool and dry place. For unpolished rice, Sunnywood Superfoods Corp., the distributor of Jordan Farms Black, Red and Brown Rice, strongly advices that this type of rice be refrigerated to keep the rice fresh and free from rice weevils.
Leftover cooked rice, on the other hand, should be refrigerated to avoid spoilage. When it’s time to reheat, simply add a bit of water to it before popping it into the microwave.
To get the most out of your meals, choose rice varieties that are packed with flavor, nutrients, and are easy to cook. Harvester’s and Jordan Farms offer a wide variety of rice, from your favorite Dinorado to a wide variety of special rice such as short grain Japanese rice, Thai Jasmine and Basmati. Being healthy a priority for you? Then go for organically grown unpolished Black, Red and Brown. These have more antioxidants, fiber and multivitamins to help build a strong immune system for the body.
There is no doubt about rice being serious business for us Filipinos. Level-up your love for it by trying the above cooking methods as well as new varieties to add to your shopping list.
For more information about Harvester’s and Jordan Farms rice, head to their website.