Chef Sara Moulton Answers Your Cooking Questions

Sara's Answer:

Lee,

Lee, I'm going to recommend an excellent book written just for people who live in high altitudes. It is called "Pie in the Sky, Successful Baking at High Altitudes" and the author is Susan G. Purdy. She is one of my favorite baking authors. and I know she did serious homework before writing this book.

Gail Noren: How do you cook rice perfectly? I never seem to get it right.

Sara's Answer:

Gail,

Welcome to the club! I am rice-impaired too. I can never seem to get the proportions right. So, fasten your seat belt. I cook rice like pasta -- I just put a big pot of water on the stove, bring it to a boil, add salt and the rice, give it a stir and let it gently boil. It generally takes 17 minutes before it is cooked (but I check it at 15) and then I drain it well, put it back in the pot to dry out a bit for a minute or two over a low flame and then add butter.

My Asian friends are completely horrified by this. If you want to make rice the more traditional way, which is to work with a water-to-rice ratio, I recommend that you get a rice cooker. I think that most of the problem you and I are having with our rice has more to do with our burners than with anything else. Rice cookers provide a consistent perfect temperature. Anyone who has one swears by it. If you eat a lot of rice and have the room for a rice cooker, I would make that purchase.

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