Saturday, March 6, 2010

You Say Potatoes, I Say ... Rice!

If it were up to him, my husband would eat potatoes three times a day: hashed in the morning, fried at lunch, and mashed or baked at dinner. I am Cuban. I eat rice.

There are as many ways to prepare rice as there are to prepare potatoes, but before we can elaborate on rice, we must know how to cook it, and I am a failure at that! The only way I can successfully cook rice is in a rice cooker, and I recommend it to anyone who regularly cooks rice.

In a typical Cuban household rice is consumed daily. Cuban ladies wash their long-grain white rice before cooking by rinsing it several times in cold water. This process removes excess starch which makes the rice cook more evenly and it makes the cooked rice less sticky; however, rinsing the rice washes away vitamins, minerals, and iron.

Washing rice reminds me of a story of a young Cuban bride who calls her mother for directions on how to make rice in the rice cooker. The mother tells her, "first wash the rice, then add water to the rice as directed, a little salt and olive oil." That evening the young bride served her husband the rice which tasted awful. She called her mother in tears and explained that she followed every step.  "I washed the rice as you told me mother, I even used Palmolive."

Washed or not washed, the ratio of water to rice is 2 to1 with the optional addition of olive oil and salt. Skip the Palmolive!

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