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Do you pan-toast your rice before cooking?

Last night I pan-toasted (dry - no oil) some basmati rice before I cooked it in water. The aroma was wonderful, but I don't know if I actually could taste the difference...perhaps!

Do you pan-toast your rice prior to cooking? If so, do you notice a detectable difference in taste? Please do share any other special techniques you have for cooking rice...thanks!

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  1. I do when making pilafs and the like.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      I do also, however, there's normally some oil in the pan, not just "dry toasting."

      1. re: rtmonty

        "...some oil in the pan..." What kind of oil do you use? Do you think the addition of oil adds more flavor? Have you ever tried dry-toasting to compare?

        I am just wondering if it is worth the extra step????

        1. re: liu

          Normally olive oil, but butter would be just fine. And yes, I do think it adds additional flavor. Plus, adding a little oil or butter is really not much of an additional step. See DanaB below. I agree with her and that's why I do it.

    2. I saute my rice in butter before adding the water, in sort of a pilaf method. Sometimes I let the butter get a little browned, in which case it adds a nutty, buttery taste to the rice.

      1. The only times I pan-roast my rice before cooking is when I'm making something where I want to activate the creaminess of the rice. So that's everything from risotto to paella to jook (Chinese porridge). So if you don't want your rice to be soft and creamy, you probably wouldn't want to pan roast it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: singleguychef

          With the basmati rice last night, I did dry pan-roast it and it was not at all creamy or soft. In fact, it was dry and fluffy and really just right. However, there was nothing scientific about this, so I don't know what would have happened if I had NOT pan-roasted it first.

          1. re: liu

            Maybe you should try it once not pan-roasting and see if it still turns out the same?

        2. Except for Chinese boiled rice,I always toast rice in a little oil and butter until translucent, or light golden, before adding boiling stock or water.

          It always comes out perfect, never sticks together, and the grains are always fluffy, but separate.

          1. My husband tosses a little ghee into the rice cooker when making basmati. Tastes great and smells fantastic when cooking.

            1. I always toast my basmati with a little butter or olive oil before adding the water.

              Honestly, I can't say if there's a difference in taste because I've never not done it. It's the way I learned from Madhur Jaffrey recipes.

              1. I always toast my jasmin or basic rice in oil...it definitely more flavorful. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to pan for 2 cups of rice. When most of the rice turns a brighter white, add the liquid. When making Mexican rice I saute with olive oil until golden.

                1 Reply
                1. re: amoncada

                  Always pan toast rice when making 'Mexican' rice. Adds so much extra flavor. Also cook it in the same pan. Not a pot. Course the chopped garlic cloves, reduced sodium chicken broth, El Pato sauces, sometimes finely chopped jalapenos I think also add to the flavor. Now that's Mexican rice. Deep dark rich in color and rich in flavor. Not that pinkish tasteless crap called Spanish rice.

                2. I usually saute rice, not dry toast; except when making white rice

                  1. Sometimes I like to heat up two tablespoons of olive oil and fragrance it with two crushed garlic cloves and a pinch of pepper flakes. Just heat it up until the oil becomes perfumed with the garlic and pepper, remove the garlic and toast the rice (2 cups) in the oil before cooking per directions. Adds a subtle flavor to the rice. Can probably also be done with butter instead of olive oil, though I haven't tried that yet. I will try that tonight.

                    1. I dry roast my rice (white) in the same pan I cook it in. I use the usual 1 cup of rice to 2 cups water. I dry roast the rice until it is opaque with a few browned kernals. I do not use oil. I rarely add salt in the cooking process but I do often add a couple of tablespoons of dried veggies. This process seems to benefit us as diabetics and does not cause our blood sugar to rise as much. My rice always comes out fluffy and tasty.

                      1. I guess I live a sheltered life and had not heard of toasting rice beyond pilafs and such.

                        One comment said that the toasted rice no longer sticks together. Much of the rice I cook is for Asian dishes and if it no longer sticks together, it might be hard to eat with chopsticks.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: travelerjjm

                          Not all rice-eating Asians use chopsticks. *cough*

                          1. re: LMAshton

                            I surely know that. But I don't generally like rice that doesn't stick together, and I do like to use chopsticks, even though I'm not Asian.

                        2. In my prep of pilaf I tend to toast rice, either long grain or short grain, in olive oil until some toasts up nice and golden brown adding boiling water or broth and stirring occasionally.
                          I toast short grain rice in olive oil until opaque when I make risotto, but I don't see a big difference in my pilaf and risotto recipes anyways. Both are toasted, pilaf till golden brown (sometimes adding fide/fideo) and risotto until opaque and stir both/either occasionally with water or broth while cooking and remove from heat while still somewhat 'wet'.
                          Unlike when I add short grain rice to a pot of boiling water and a tablespoon or two of olive oil, simmer covered, no stirring, until all liquid is absorbed and bottom of pan is crusty brown.

                          1. Yes, with butter. Almost always.

                            1. I more often fry in oil as opposed to dry toasting

                              1. Could a small amount of bacon grease be substituted for butter or olive oil?

                                1. Yep, I toast my basmati with some butter, olive oil, and whatever spices I'm using.