My kitchen is pretty well stocked. For an apartment, I’m lucky to have quite a big kitchen, and it took me no time at all to go shopping for kitchen implements to fill my cupboards with. Sure, some of my toys are not used regularly, but hey, they are always there ready and waiting for when I do decide to use them!
One thing I don’t have is a rice cooker. And you know what? I don’t want one! Nor do I have the room for one now.
I learnt how to make perfect rice when I was quite young. My mum cooked pretty good rice when I was a kid, but mum is a cook of her generation, which means she does not measure anything! She just throws everything into a pot and it somehow always comes together. I know this style of cooking used to drive my sister insane, as she could never replicate what mum had made. I remember watching them both in the kitchen one day, my mum just doing her thing with my sister trailing behind, measuring cups in hand, recording the recipes.
It was my sister who taught me how to cook rice using the absorption method, shortly after I successfully cooked my first pumpkin soup as a kid. By then she had built on the foundations my mum had shown her, incorporating little cooking and seasoning tricks from one of our aunts and a friend of hers.
Over the years, I have also come to learn that the method a person uses to cook rice is quite personal. Those that cook rice by using the boiling method will adamantly refuse to cook rice by the absorption method and vice versa. All I know is that the method described below produces perfect fluffy rice every time, so all I need to do is focus on what is going to go on top of my rice… Like a vegetarian four-bean chilli of sorts… with avocado… and sour cream!
Perfect Rice and Vegetarian Four-Bean Chilli
Ingredients for Perfect Rice
- 2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
- 10g butter (2 tablespoons of oil can be substituted)
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 3 cups of hot water
- 2 teaspoons seasoning of your choice (I use Vegetta vegetable stock powder, but you could use a variety of spices depending on what you are pairing the rice with)
Ingredients for Vegetarian Four-Bean Chilli
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion (peeled, finely chopped)
- 1 small red chilli (seeded, chopped)
- 1 red capsicum (chopped)
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 420g can mixed beans (drained, rinsed)
- 425g can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 avocados
- 4 tablespoons sour cream
- 2 cups cooked rice
Method for Perfect Rice
- Choose a large, heavy-based saucepan with a tight fitting lid.
- Over medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the seasoning and uncooked rice. Stir to coat.
- Add the stock and water. Stir once more.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and cover. If you are not using a heavy-based saucepan, or if you are using a stainless steel saucepan, lower the heat to low.
- Set a timer to 15 minutes and do not remove the lid during that time.
- After 15 minutes, lift the lid and see how much liquid is left. If there is still some liquid that needs to be absorbed, turn up the heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Never cook rice for more than 20 minutes.
- Once the heat has been turned off, place a clean dish towel over the pot and then add the lid over the dish towel – it should fit tightly. Allow to stand for five minutes.
- Remove the lid and dish towel and fluff the cooked rice with a fork. Serve.
Method for Vegetarian Four-Bean Chilli
- In a large saucepan over medium heat add the olive oil, onions, garlic, fresh chilli and capsicum. Cook until softened.
- Add the chilli flakes, cinnamon, cumin and thyme and cook for a further minute or two, or until the herbs start to smell flavourful
- Add the rinsed beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
- Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes to allow the chilli to thicken slightly.
- Serve over rice with an avocado half and sour cream.