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March 1, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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Yo Mama shoulda told you this

Yo mama shoulda told you this

Because it’s the first column of the year, I’m giving you the utter basics of student cooking. Until the international rice shortage a few years ago, rice was by far the cheapest source of energy, rivalled only by homemade popcorn; it also competes with popcorn for destroying the most cookware. So, everything you need to know to cook rice… and clean the pot afterwards.

To clean a saucepan utterly destroyed by your previous attempts:

  1. Roughly scrub the pot to break off as many big chunks as possible, so you know what you’re dealing with.
  2. Squirt some dishwashing liquid in the bottom and half fill the saucepan with cold water. Put the lid on and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer (little bubbles) for about an hour. Empty the saucepan and let it cool a bit, then scrub with a green scrubbing pad. Rinse out the pan but don’t bother drying it too much.
  3. Pour about a tablespoon of salt and a few drops of white vinegar (any vinegar, really) on the burnt parts and scrub with a green scrubbing pad. You could also try baking soda and dishwashing liquid. It shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.
  4. Rinse it out and congratulate yourself, or have a cry and investigate using oven cleaner.

To cook rice ‘Indian style’:

  1. You want about half a cup per person. Long grain rice is ideal unless you’re feeling adventurous.
  2. Stir rice in cold water in the bottom of a saucepan—you’ll see the water go cloudy. Drain in a sieve.
  3. Boil the jug (cheaper than boiling water on the stove), and put water in the saucepan with a bit of salt. It should more than cover the rice so probably ¾ fill the saucepan.
  4. The heat should be on high and the lid on, until the water is happily bubbling away.
  5. Add rice carefully to avoid splashing, turn the heat to medium-low and skew the lid to half cover the top.
  6. Stir (important!), then cook about 10 minutes—it’s cooked when a grain of rice is not crunchy but a little firm.
  7. Drain and rest in the sieve in the saucepan with the lid on. The steam cooks it a little more and keeps it warm till you need it.

For the Chinese method, which makes the rice stickier, boil 15 minutes instead of 10.

For coconut rice, add a few tablespoons of coconut milk to the water.

Easy! Enjoy.

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