Millions of people around the world eat rice as a staple food every day, so it seems like it should be simple enough to cook. Making rice can be surprisingly tricky to master, though. Sticky rice is usually caused by insufficient water and excessive stirring. Unless it's overcooked, it can usually be salvaged. When making rice, use a big pot so the rice isn't crowded, and stir it only to check for doneness.
Add a bit more water to the pan of cooked rice and stir the rice gently to break up clumps of sticky rice. Heat the rice to a low simmer and cook it with the lid off for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the rice and allow it to sit on the stovetop for 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.
Preheat the oven to low. If the rice is still sticky, pour it onto a baking sheet. Spread the rice out evenly to form a thin layer. Bake the rice for 5 to 10 minutes to dry it out. Allow it to cool slightly and fluff it with a fork.
Wash rice under cold water before you cook it. Rice -- especially in Asia -- is sometimes processed with talcum powder, which can cause gumminess. Even those processed without talcum powder may contain debris or dirt that you don't want in your food.
Cook rice as you would pasta, with plenty of boiling water, rather than a set amount of water. Leave the lid off and cook it until it's tender. Drain the rice and cover it with a lid. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes; then fluff it with a fork.
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- There's not much you can do for rice that's mushy and overcooked. Use the rice for rice pudding or a casserole.
- If you eat rice frequently, invest in a rice maker, which produces consistent results, with no stickiness.
Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."
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