The Perfect Pot of Rice by Chef Adi Oquendo

Our new cookbook - Prepare with Love, Serve with a Purpose, is available now on our website at www.pujolskitchen.com. Inside you will find many Dominican favorites, and the one recipe prepared most is RICE!!! In the cookbook, we included a few different recipes for rice. Rice is an important staple food, not just for Latin American, but for the world!

 

Staple foods are foods that feed the world in huge numbers. According to the United Nations website, "Rice feeds almost half of humanity". (www.fao.org) In the Hispanic culture, cooking rice correctly is what separates the good cooks from the not so good cooks. Traditionally, the caldero is passed down with love from parent to child, and is really an heirloom for the family who cannot compete with jewelry or riches.

 

Knowing how to cook rice correctly, through the absorb method, is almost a test for the Latin American individual. The absorb method is characterized by using the perfect amount of water; therefore all the water is absorbed by the rice with no draining needed. This knowledge is not just for Hispanic women; it is for anyone who cooks, and who will need to know how to make rice in a caldero. I received a small caldero from my grandmother for my 18th birthday. I have burned, turned to mush, and surprisingly had half raw and half mushy rice one day. With so many things needing to fit perfectly, it is easy to understand how even the most seasoned cook has a bad rice day.

 

According to the United Nations, there are close to 40,000 different types of rice. Only a few, however, are used for human consumption; and even less are available to the US market. Typically rice is separated into 4 categories.

 

Short Grain: These rice types have a starchy substance called amylopectin. When cooked this is released and will make the grains stick together. Short grain rice cooked with the absorb method is typically used for things like Sushi, Risotto, and Arroz con Leche (sweet rice) found on page 72 of our new cookbook.

 

Medium Grain: Medium grain rice is the most common type of rice used in Latin America for dishes like Paella, Arroz con Garbanzo (Rice with Garbanzo, found on page 41), Arroz con Glandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas, page 42), and the classic white rice (page 43).

 

Long Grain: Types of long grain rice are Basmati from India and Pakistan, Jasmine known for its fragrant aroma, also known as Thai grown in Eastern Asia, Patna also from Asia, or Carolina rice from North America. These typically have less amylopectin, and when cooked tend to stay separated and stick together less than short or medium grain rice.

 

Specialty Rice: Sweet Brown rice called Mochi in Japan, Chinese black rice, Red rice, a whole grain rice with a red outer skin, and wild rice are examples of specialty rice. Wild rice, however, is not actually a rice at all, but a grass seed found in North America that is a distant cousin of rice. It adds a wonderful different texture and flavor to dishes like pilaf.

 

White Rice is the base of many delicious Dominican and Caribbean dishes. In my Native Puerto Rico culture, Pasteles is typically served with rice for the holidays, or Braised Short Ribs. Once you have mastered the art of making rice in your Pujols Kitchen Caldero, try and experiment with other flavors and types of rice.

 

Rice is one of those dishes that needs LOVE as a main ingredient to be successful!

 

Instructions

In a Medium Pujols Kitchen Caldero bring water to a boil over medium/high heat.

 

Add the oil and salt.

 

Add the rice and stir.

 

Cook over medium/ high heat until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir.

 

Reduce the heat to low and cover for about 20-30 min. stir and serve.

 

Notes:

Rice should be soft and fluffy, with some sticking to the bottom of the Caldero and turning a light brown with crispy texture. This is normal in Dominican and Caribbean cooking. This rice is scrapped off the bottom and served separately called “Con Con”, in Puerto Rico it is called ”Pegao”

 

  • A fun tip my Grandmother Maria Victoria gave me, to help measure my rice, is to use my thumb as a guide. The rice level should be about one inch below the water level.

 

  • For rice that has been left on high too long in the evaporation stage of cooking, and has begun to take on a burned aroma, there are a couple of ways to save it. One is to cut an onion in half and place it into the rice, covering it to finish cooking. Second, try removing the rice from the Caldero, taking care not to scrape the burned bottom, and place it in the oven in a covered container with a little water to finish cooking.

 

Ingredients

 

2 cups of water

 

1 cup of medium grain rice

 

1 tablespoon of olive oil

 

2 teaspoons of salt or salt to taste

 

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