Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Steamed Rice…A Kitchen Staple...

I try and eat gluten free.  My only breach is the breadcrumbs I use on fish or chicken when making my oven breaded Talapia or Chicken.  I do not have a medical reason for avoiding gluten, however, after reading "Wheat Belly", I decided it was better to go without it.  The 'Wheat Belly' diet promises you will lose all of your weight by simply eliminating gluten.  For myself and other people I know, that was not enough to knock off the weight.  I do think the book is brilliant and chock full of actual medical data.  However, I did not experience the magic weight loss from eliminating gluten- even when I did it completely at length.

I use rice in my diet on a regular basis.  I prefer a rice steamer and use chicken bullion water to steam it in.  I store the rice in the refrigerator and use it for, Spanish Rice, Rice Pilaf and Fried Rice.  Steamed rice is very useful. It is drier than boiled rice, it does not stick together and holds extensively as a staple for carbohydrates in the refrigerator.

The easiest way to make steamed rice is to buy a rice steamer.  They come in all prices from 20.00 to hundreds (see Amazon).   I also steam rice in the oven in a cast iron pan with a lid.  However, this will take experiments for you to figure out time, temperature and amounts of water. Ovens vary and the way I figured it out, was trial and error.  If I post times and temperatures, I am positive, it will not work for you!

When I do this, I bring my rice and water to a boil, I put the covered pot in a 250 degree oven.  I also add more water than the cup to cup ratio.  In 45 minutes, I have perfect rice.  It took several experiments to find my rice steaming oven Mo Joe!  The steamer never fails, I do recommend that method.

Prep your rice FIRST before steaming or cooking. Put the rice in a pot and cover with water-swish it around with your hand.  Pour it off- you will see a milky liquid running off. You are pouring off some starch, but mostly talc, which is used in most rice packing.  Repeat three times.  Leaving a bit of water in the bottom of your pot is fine.  Add exactly the same measure of water to rice in the pot.  If you are making 2 cups of rice uncooked, add two cups of water.  This ratio will work if you are STEAMING, not boiling.  The result?  Lovely rice that fluffs nicely, and is NOT soggy, sticky or burnt Steamed rice has a drier texture.  This is perfect for making stir-fries or any rice dish.

If the stored rice becomes a bit dry, you simply add water to your recipe to re-hydrate.  I consider steamed rice as important as chicken to have on hand!  Yesterday, I enjoyed roast chicken breast and Spanish Rice. A wonderful combination.

Basmati rice is about 200 calories a cup.  Always measure your portion before eating it.

Happy Cooking!

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