Sunday, 20 October 2013

Perfect fluffy rice? I would rather it had taste.

Came across a video of Jamie Oliver showing how to make fail-safe fluffy rice from an Uncle Ben's packet of basmati rice:

Uncle Ben's is an expensive type of easy cook rice, and like easy cook rice it is not very flavoursome.  The huge amount of spices and other things he was adding in kind of proves that point.  Saffron is like gold dust - £3-4 for a tiny packet.  I think he heaped that amounts worth in there.  And the tumeric - wowee!

Watching this video reminded me of a cooking program I watched with my mum on satellite TV at night when I was a kid.  At midnight the only Chinese channel that we found hosted Cantonese speaking shows that included one Master Chan in his kitchen (師傅) who one night showed how to cook stir fried rice.  We watched open-mouthed as he spooned ladle after ladle of cooking oil into the wok of rice that as I remember could give 4 servings.  I think we counted over ten ladles of oil. Surely it didn't need that much?! The difference here, though, is that we know the reason why.

I guess it may be down to culture in that Chinese meals has the rice and the other compliments of the meal in separate dishes and bowls, whereas Western meals has it all on one plate.  From that, the rice in Chinese food is expected to have its own delicate taste and fragrance.  In terms of its texture, some types of rice are meant to be sticky - think of sushi rice and glutinous rice - so in that sense fluffiness is not so important to me.

And cooking rice in a pan: despite being here so long is such a strange thing to me. When I think of rice, I think rice cooker. All these chefs, filmed travelling around the world and cooking exotic foods - why have they not discovered its joys?? It is so simple and easy!

So yes, taste wins over fluffiness for me Jamie, and I prefer the rice cooker way ;-)

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