How to cook a nice bowl of rice

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on May 01, 2013 - 03:18 PM

Photo: From the box to a bowl of fluffy rice, you can make perfect rice every time once you give it a try. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

From the box to a bowl of fluffy rice, you can make perfect rice every time once you give it a try. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Rice has fed more people over a longer period of time then any other crop. Precise origins have been lost to history, but experts believe the plant probably got its start in India. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Southeast Asians were the first people to cultivate rice; artifacts imprinted with rice grains dating to 4,000 B.C. have been discovered in Korea. Today more than 100 varieties of rice are commercially produced in the United States primarily in six states—Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and California producing 12% of the world’s rice. The majority of domestic use of this rice is direct food (58%) while 16% is in each of processed foods and beer; 10% is used in pet food.

Knowing how to cook this grain properly remains in debate today as it must have been in its very beginning, as it is for Americans since its arrival in South Carolina in 1694. South Carolina and Georgia grew and amassed great wealth from rice prior to the ending of slavery.

To make perfect rice, first be sure that you’re using the right rice for the result you want. The following three are the most popular types of rice used in households:

Long-grain white rice isn’t sticky, and has a soft and fluffy texture when cooked properly. This is the rice most frequently used in Chinese cuisine. It is also the rice that most "How to Cook Rice" recipes refer to when giving directions.

Then there is brown rice, which many Americans are switching to since it has nutrients not found in white rice. The flavor is a bit more bitter and the texture is less fluffy.

White sticky rice is a short-grain rice which helps achieve the sticky and chewy consistency.