There's been a number of news reports recently about possible high concentrations of inorganic arsenic in rice. I heard that Consumer Reports says to cook 1 part rice in 6 parts water to minimise risk:
"We say to use about 6 parts water to 1 part rice," says Michael Hansen, a senior staff scientist at Consumer Reports. "And then drain off the water after it's done."
What!?!? Are they cooking rice soup? The only way I see that helping to reduce arsenic consumption would be to make the worst tasting rice ever so you don't want to eat it!
For years I have always thoroughly rinsed my rice and let it dry for about 10-15 minutes, brought water to a boil in a small saucepan (just under 2 parts water for 1 part rice) and then added the rice, covered, and cooked on low heat for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes I don't drain anything, I just server the rice. It's always perfectly cooked.
Is Consumer Reports really correct about 6 parts water to 1 part rice!? Would the rice be any good cooked with that much water? If so, would I need to do anything differently?
I am accustomed to the boil-and-drain method of cooking rice. If you like your rice very soft/mushy, you can even cook rice 3.5:1 and wait until all water has evaporated on moderate-to-low heat (this is how my grandma always does it). The texture is different from the aldente 2:1 rice common in the USA, but I think the preference is a matter of habit.
It is perfectly possible to boil and then drain rice, although 6:1 is an uncommonly high ratio of water to rice. Obviously, Consumer Reports are more concerned with leeching contaminants out of the rice than with culinary aspects such as convenience and taste. Still, the rice cooking method exists, and there is no culinary objection against it except that some people don't like the resulting soft texture.
The boil-and-drain method (actually simmer-and-drain) is often combined with first frying the rice in oil until translucent, as for pilaf, but it is not technically required. You can just simmer in salted water until it has reached the desired consistency (depending on the type of rice you used, it will be somewhere on the spectrum between soft separate grains and a sticky soft mass where you have trouble separating the grains), then remove from the heat and drain. Add your aroma after the draining, as you don't want to throw it out with the water.
' on cooking shows) unless otherwise qualified (eg, 'plain, strong flour') in which case it just means 'not self-rising'. Note that AP flour in the US South (eg, White Lily brand) tends to be softer than... to low-starch potatoes that don't fall apart when cooked. Sometimes called roasting potatoes (US). New potatoes behave like waxy potatoes, even if they come from a variety used for baking. Mealy... on region and social class). Pudding is always a cooked item, while dessert may be fresh fruit or other non-cooked item. pudding (US) is roughly equiv. to custard (UK) jello (US; brand name issues
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