IN SOME recipes for one-pot rice dishes, the washed, drained, uncooked rice is added to the rest of the ingredients in the pot. Yet in others, the uncooked rice has to be sauteed with the other ingredients in a pan before water is added. Why is this extra step required?
Tan Seok Kim
A Different techniques will give you different textures. Combining the rice with the other ingredients at the start yields maximum flavour absorption and mingling.
For instance, in both Chinese claypot rice and Japanese kamameshi, where the cooking rice is topped with ingredients, the rising steam from the rice cooks the items, and their released juices flow down into the rice ??? a perfect exchange.
When you cook rice this way, be sure to wash it several times to remove excess starch, which could otherwise make it too gummy.
Sauteing uncooked rice with oil and aromatics results in grains that are drier and less sticky; the frying cooks and firms the outer layer of starch in each grain, which slows down its absorption of liquid.
The most famous application of this technique is in Hainanese chicken rice, where the rice is washed, drained and left to dry out, then fried in chicken fat with ginger, garlic and other seasonings.
Some yam (taro) rice recipes also use this technique, and many Indian rice pilaus begin with the frying of rice with spices.
You don't need to fry the rice for very long, and certainly not until the grains brown, as some cookbooks tell you. Once they start to whiten, you can add the liquid. Letting the cooked rice stand uncovered for a few minutes before fluffing it with a fork will enhance its graininess, also.