On my next Catering job, I was asked to cook a large amount of rice. I will probably use about 15 to 20 cups of Basmatti or Risotto rice.
My question in a nutshell is how much water and salt should I put in?
Now I know that water and seasoning depends on humidity, weather condition, type of rice, where was it harvested from, was it drained ? washed ? drained and washed? soaked?, the moon and earth cycles, night and day, and that the amount of water decreases significantly as the amount of rice increases. I'm looking for a ballpark figure (+/- 1 cup)
I'm sorry to be a pain in the rear; however, there is definitely a difference between cooking 2 cups of rice and 20 cups of rice. I ended up resorting to making my spice mix ahead of time and cooked the rice 4 cups at a time with about (5-6 cups of water for each batch).
I'll keep researching this and see what I can come up with
I would definitely not do the risotto, very hard to get and hold the right texture in those kinds of quantities. The basmati rice will work fine in a large pot. Cook it by the absorption method (bring to a boil with 1 3/4 cups of water per cup of rice, reduce to a simmer, cook covered, without stirring, until all of the water is absorbed).
The best answer I can offer is two inches and go from there. Let me clarify put your rice in your soup pan cover it with water until it is two inches over the top of your rice on medium high heat and check and stir it until it is to the right consistency. Once the rice has absorbed all the water fluff. I know it is not a very accurate number but as you said there are a lot of factors involved. For the Risotto the most I have managed to cook at one time was six servings and that was difficult to get the proper consistency, I just don't have a pan large enough to cook it properly over that amount so have never tried.
I cook mine in a Rice Cooker, good quality with variable settings for white and dark rices. Comes out great.
If I was going to cook rice for that many people, I probably wouldn't use stovetop method -- I'd use a pilaf method, and do it in the oven, hopefully in a large, wide pan.
The only issues I can think of when doubling amounts of rice, as I know that the more rice there is, the lower the ratio of water to rice needs to be is that maybe as the water gets deeper, the extra pressure allows the rice to cook faster? I'm not sure if the pressure differential of an inch or two would be that significant, but I'd think that a large bottom area and not cooking the rice so it's too deep would help offset this potential issue ... but you could also use multiple smaller containers, if you're worried about doubling, as the oven's going to give you a consistent temp.
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