Making the perfect pot of white rice can be tricky and frustrating if you’ve never made one before. Sometimes the rice can come out hard and undercooked, or “empastado” which is pasty and clumpy. Following these simple steps and using the exact measurements, you should be able to make a delicious pot of rice in under an hour.
For starters, I recommend you use a “caldero” since many of the non-stick pots that are available now make it difficult to get “concon” with your rice. “Concon” is the rice that sticks to the pot and is very delicious served immediately after the rice is cooked. It stays crunchy and tasty even when smothered in some beans!
To make the perfect pot of white rice you will need the following ingredients:
5 cups of white rice (long grain)
7 cups of water
4 tbsp of olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon of salt
To begin, in the pot, add the oil and salt and put on high heat.
Wait a couple of minutes, then add the water, cover and let it come to a boil.While the water is coming to a boil, take the rice and wash it with generous amounts of water and drain.
Personally I think that washing the rice makes it taste much better. Some people don’t like to rinse their rice because it washes away the “nutrients” which is really somewhat a myth, unless the rice is enriched. Besides, white rice is not very nutritious, so I would rather wash it and have it taste better than cooking it straight from the bag.
Swirl it around gently with your fingers for a few seconds while the water is running then dump the water carefully and rinse with fresh water.
When the water is translucent and somewhat clear (it will never be crystal clear,) the rice is clean. Drain and set aside.
Before adding the rice, this will be a good point to taste the water and see if the salt level is to your liking. I usually cook my food low in salt, so 1 tsp is more than enough for me, however, some cooks like to add more salt to their rice to make it more savory.
Add the rice to the water and stir well.
A nice technique to check if the water level is good is to take a table spoon (for this amount of rice the large cooking spoon wont work) and stick it in the middle. If the spoon stays standing, you’re in good shape. Don’t get discouraged if this trick doesn’t work though! I have tried it with other pots of rice and the spoon just wouldn’t stand straight, but the rice came out just fine. I got lucky this time around! But this is a nice technique that alot of experienced cooks (especially Dominican) will tell you that this is the best way to check if you have the right measurements.
As the rice cooks it will start to absorb the water. Stir occasionally to avoid excessive sticking.
When the rice has absorbed most of the water, it is ready to be covered. A good way to check this is by taking the spoon and opening a “path” in one edge of the rice. If you notice that there is no excess water seeping into the opening, the rice is ready to be covered.
Before covering the rice, pile it into a little mountain in the center of the pot, to avoid some of the rice from sticking to the sides.
Most Dominicans like to use a plastic bag under the pot cover to make sure their rice cooks properly. I am not like most Dominicans when it comes to that aspect since I feel that melted plastic (usually the plastic melts on the edges) is hazardous to the health, therefore, I prefer to use Aluminum foil.
Cover, lower the heat to medium – low (it can be tricky on electric burners, I have a gas burner and I have to keep mine more towards a medium heat in order for the rice to cook well). If you have a gas burner that is very potent (mine is not), put it on lower heat to avoid burning. Once covered, let it cook for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, uncover and your rice should look like this. Nice and “graniaito” (grainy) as we like to refer to it.
Stir the rice, bringing the rice that is on the bottom of the pot to the top. This will cause the rice to get nice and fluffy. Cover again for 5 minutes.
Now the rice is ready to serve! Let’s not forget about the “concon” though. Pour the rice into a serving dish leaving the stuck rice in the pot.
With a hard spoon, scrap the sticky rice and place in a serving platter.
Serve nice and hot (especially the concon, it gets very hard once it gets cold) with a side of beans!