Basic Recipe: Plain White Rice

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

I received an email from reader Angela from Italy who had a some great suggestions for future articles:  back to basics recipes, and cooking over an open fire.   Because of my living accommodations, I can’t always cook over an open fire (except at a campground), but I do plan on improving that skill.  This time I wanted to cover a very basic recipe for an item most of us keep in our emergency pantry:  rice.

Rice is often recommended as a food storage item, and many people stock it.   It just makes sense to know how to cook such as basic item.  White rice (either long or medium grain) is still fairly inexpensive.  In an emergency you can cook plain white rice, and if you eat it with beans, then you have a your protein and carbohydrates covered.

You will need a medium sized pot with a tight fitting lid.  You do not need a rice cooker for this.

Here is my recipe for basic white rice:

1 cup rice

1  1/4 cup water or your favorite broth

water for rinsing

Pour the rice in the pot.  Add tap water, rinse and drain.  Once it is drained, add the 1 1/4 cup of water OR broth-this makes for firm rice.  If you like your rice on the soft and mushy side, add another 1/4 cup of liquid to the original amount.

Heat the pan (uncovered so you can see it) on high heat until the water comes to a rolling boil.  (Do not leave this boiling rice covered as it will overflow then burn-I know this from trial and error)  Quickly stir the rice and cover with the tight fitting lid.  Lower the heat to low.  Wait 30 minutes and turn off the heat.  Uncover and stir the rice to fluff it.  It is ready to eat.  This recipe serves 3-4.

Once you have mastered the recipe to your taste you can make lots of other meals.

For Variety

-Open a can of black beans and mix with the cooked white rice.  Season with a bit of Cajun seasoning and you have Black beans and Rice.

-Use leftover rice the next day by making fried rice:  Break up the hard rice with a large spoon and add around two teaspoons of water.  Heat olive or vegetable oil in a skillet.  Add a whole egg and stir well, scrambling the egg.  Add bits of leftover meats: steak, chicken, bacon or even a hotdog (whatever you have), and vegetables like peas and chopped carrots and stir them around.  Add the leftover rice and continue to stir.  Add salt and pepper to taste, or a tbsp of soy sauce if you have it, just enough to give the rice a golden color.  Once it is warmed throughout, it is ready to eat.

– If you are making soup, throw 1/4-1/2 cup of leftover rice into your soup to make it hearty and filling.

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  1. We cook a lot of rice. It’s cheap, stores for long periods with a minimum of trouble, and there are so many ways to serve it. It will go with just about anything you want to cook. You can even feed it to dogs in a pinch, mix it in with the dog food to stretch the dog food out until the next run to town.

  2. Great post! Timely too, since we just bought a (approximate) 15 pound bag of white rice! My favorite way is to substitute orange juice for the one cup water. Especially sweet if we’re having ribs or bbq!

  3. Rice is a favorite around here…. even with the dogs! They love boiled chicken or turkey pieces mixed with leftover plain rice.

    I’ll have to try using only 1 1/4 cups of water…. we always use 2 parts water to 1 part rice.

    1. The 2 parts water 1 part rice in the directions make the rice softer and mushier. If you like a bit of a drier mix (like Chinese restaurant rice), the 1 1/4 works to 1 cup works.

  4. Rice and I have been through a lot together!

    In college, when I was regularly selling my plasma for $40 a week, I would regularly feast upon a gourmet dinner of rice and tuna. If I was really adventurous I would sprinkle a little dusting of lemon pepper (I think it was what we had in our cupboard, but it actually was pretty good). Let me tell you, 39 cents never tasted so good. Of course it helps if you’re a poor starving college student.

    I still whip it up every once in a while–my own little “Passover” to remember the hard times… 🙂

    The rice and beans formula has sustained MILLIONS of people on our planet for decades. Hard to argue with what’s worked. Tasty and cheap.

    Thanks AP!

    1. Hmmm rice and tuna… I like tuna plain on bread with lemon juice and salt, not too far off from your lemon pepper concoction. 🙂

  5. There’s a reason why about a billion or two people subsist on a diet based largely on rice and you’ve hit the nail on the head: it goes with just about everything.

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