Look at this beautiful snowy white rice… doesn’t it look so yummy? When I was a little girl in 1970s, there was a shortage of rice nationwide. Rice was expensive to many Koreans and not many people could afford it. The Korean government even did a campaign nationwide encouraging people to cook rice together with other grains or legumes like Barley, beans, etc. Every lunch time in my school, teachers went through students’ lunch boxes and anyone with a white rice lunch box had to clean school restrooms or classrooms as punishment. Every meal time at home, I was very careful to finish every single grain of rice in my bowl. Otherwise, my grandmother would yell at me, “this is the rice your grandfather harvested only with one hand.” (My grandfather lost one arm by an accident.)
Nowadays, there is more than enough rice in Korea and everybody can afford it but many people try to cook rice with other grains not for economical reason but for health reason. Still, white rice is a main starch in Korean diet and I would like to share a tip on how to cook white rice that results in a velvety texture interior and shiny exterior.
Ingredients (4 portions)
White rice: 2 1/2 cups
Water: 3 cups
Pour water in the rice and using your hand gently make circle it around. Bec areful not to rub the rice grains so hard. Drain the water, get new water, and wash rice with a hand again. Repeat this process several times (at least 4-5 times) until the water gets clear. Many Koreans try not to wash rice so much because they believe that rice nutritions get diluted into the water. But thoroughly washed rice tastes much better and looks shiner. Save rice rinsed water and use it as a stock for stew.
You can rinse your face with rice water. It makes your face very moist.
The ratio of rice and water is 1:1.2. After washing the rice, you can totally drain the water, put the rice in a pot, and pour the right amount of water on it. However, it can be too much labor and wet rice can be stucked on your corander making it very difficult to get it off. What I do is, and many Koreans do this way, I simply wash rice in a pot I am going to cook rice in and measure water by hand. Put your hand on top of the rice and fill the water until it reaches border line of your finger and back side of hand. You can also use your index finger and fill the water up to first segment of the finger. Leave it for 30 minutes. (You will see the water has reduced because the rice has soaked up the water. Don’t add more water!)
Cooking Rice (5-5-5 minute tactic)
If you have a electronic rice cooker, all you have to do now is to cover the lid and press the button “Cooking.” If you cook rice in a pot, start with very high heat until boiling with lid on. Reduce the heat to medium and leave it for about 5 minutes. Open the lid a bit and take a look inside… is the water almost gone? Then, reduce the heat one more time to very very low and leave it for 5-7 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the rice on the stove for additional 5 minutes. Open the lid and, using a plastic or wooden spoon, gently mix it upside down trying not to crush the rice.