“Without rice, even the cleverest housewife cannot cook.” – Chinese Proverb
I’m no housewife, but oh how I wished I had practiced cooking rice before moving to China! The first few weeks here were brutal without this simple knowledge. My roommate and I and purchased a rice cooker, but I had no idea how to use it. The directions were in Chinese, obviously, and the pictures seemed to also be in another language. Thankfully, I’ve mastered the art of rice cooking and I can now easily make a bowl of mouth-watering rice whenever I feel like it.
My first try, I ended up with a bowl of watery slop. The second try, I overflowed the rice cooker and made a huge mess. I asked a Chinese friend how to use it and they laughed at me and said that rice is the easiest Chinese food to cook! They said to put in a cup of rice and then to add water up to the top of the rice, “just so that all the rice is covered.” That time, I ended up with a disgusting and overcooked hodgepodge.
I turned to my friends in Egypt for help. They told me a simple formula that saved my wannabe cooking life: >one part rice + two parts water = one delicious bowl of rice.
The only preparation needed might be to clean the rice. If, like me, you buy the rice from the outdoor market down the street, you might not trust it to be the cleanest rice in the world. Just rinse until the water becomes clear.
Chinese Food 101: Basic Cooking Utensils
Chinese Food 101: Basic Ingredients)
1. One Cup of Uncooked Rice
You can’t have cooked rice without uncooked rice… but which came first? The little cup that came with the rice cooker is a little smaller than an American-sized measuring cup, but I’m sure you could use it just the same. Remember to clean the rice if you don’t trust it!
2. Two Cups of Water
Clean water, please.
3. Mix in the Rice Cooker
Add both to the rice cooker’s bowl and mix together lightly, allowing the rice granules room to breath and cook evenly. Place back in the rice cooker, push the “cook” button and wait.
4. A Fresh Bowl of Delicious Rice
15 – 20 minutes later, you should have a refreshing snack! Be sure to have some veggies, soup, or soy sauce ready…
DK’s Fried Rice will be next, I think.