As simple as this side dish may seem, over the years I’ve learned that there are several variations on this theme: you’ve got sticky rice for sushi, plain white rice with your “Chinese” take-out, and that dry stuff we had in the dining halls… but none compares to my mother’s. It’s got that magical ratio of rice:oil:salt that any Dominican (or Caribbean person for that matter) will tell you just hits the spot.
It’s so good that whenever I visit my Ma I can easily eat a whole plate of this with nothing else. Maybe with some fried plantains. Just one the side, you know?
But I stop myself. Cuz I know better. And now I eat more wild rice than white. Still, this one will always have a special place in my heart (and, occasionally, on my plate).
For every cup of Rice you cook, use two cups of water. The following will assume 1 cup of uncooked Rice. Keep in mind that Rice basically doubles in volume when cooked, so 1 cup is usually enough for two people. Adjust accordingly. (Why is Rice capitalized? As the staple of so many nations…. need I say more?)
1. Pour 2 cups of water into a pot. In said pot, pour in a splash of oil (about a capful) and a tablespoon of salt.
2. Immediately add 1 cup of rice, and stir. If there is more than a thin layer of water over the rice, feel free to ladel some of it out.
3. Use medium-high heat to bring to a boil (this could take 15 minutes or less… this part is key, you need to keep an eye on it). When there is no water over the rice (it should look damp and bubbly, but the water has been absorbed into the rice), turn the heat way down to low, stir the pot to unstick any rice from the bottom, then cover.
4. Leave the rice over the heat for another 10 minutes (don’t even peek under the lid!), and then after 10 minutes, uncover, stir the pot, and if the rice is dry enough, then you’re done! If it’s still too soggy, never fear! Just stir the pot, cover again, and wait a few more minutes. Warning: don’t wait too long… if you burn the rice, the smoky smell and flavor will spoil the whole thing!
5. Once the rice is dry enough, take the pot away from the heat source, leave the lid on, and wait another 5 minutes. The steam action will ensure that no (or very little) rice sticks to the pot, which will make clean up a breeze!