Almost all cooking in our house involves rice of one sort of another. And the preparation of it has developed into a ritual or even a mediation. It has all the hall marks of a sacred act. The way it can’t be rushed, the way that each stage needs to be carefully attended to, as much a meditation in mindfulness as it is the preparation of a culinary dish.
If all the steps are adhered to there is the perfect simplicity of the out come. Quiet, simple, complete. A bowl of rice asks no questions, it is simply an ode to the quiet pursuit of perfection. Weather you have prepared other dishes to accompany it is of little consequence to the rice. Nobly it sits, plumped up, steeped in tradition, the nourisher of kings and countrymen.
If I am out of kilta with my normal modus operandi, if it has been a season of cheese and dried fruit, or barbecues and cold slaw it to rice I yearn to return. Like the simple cloths I like to wear after a day of activity, a bowl of rice, a sesame seed or 2, a slice of soya soaked cucumber. These are the things for which my weary soul yearns.
Plain White Rice
White short grain Japanese rice. The best quality you can find.
- Polish the rice. This means massaging the rice with your fingures in as many washes of water it takes until the water runs pretty much clear. It will never run entirely clear but you’ll know when you’ve got most of the starch of.
- Put the rice in a heavy cast iron pot, heavier the better for the heat distribution and to let it continue to cook when you’ve taken it off the heat. And because things as serious and cooking rice need to happen in serious looking pots.
- Cook on full power, gas mark what ever, until the water starts to boil. Then give it 2 minutes. NO MORE. Get the lid on.
- Turn the heat down to the lowest of the low. Put it on the smallest ring. Just a whisper of heat.
- Let it continue like this for 9 minutes. NO MORE. – THEN turn it of but LEAVE THE LID ON.
- Finally after 5 minutes sneak a clean tea towl over it and put the lid back on. This magically absorbs what steam is left while allowing the rice to plump up fully.
- Open the lid and admire the perfect, individual grains of gorgeous rice. Almost too perfect to be sullied with anything else.