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Jul 18, 2007 01:43 PM

Rice Pilaf Disaster - what did I do wrong?

I saw an apricot/pistachio pilaf demonstrated on a cooking show ages ago and it seemed like such an easy thing to make... so I made one today, with one cup of long-grain rice, an onion, some diced dried fruit, and a can of chicken stock (with spices of course). It seemed to be cooking just fine... I sauteed the onion and rice then added chicken stock and covered the pot and simmered for 30 minutes, then I left it sitting on the stove with the heat turned off for another 20 minutes... and then I went to taste-test it and the rice was crunchy! Where did I go wrong? Help!

PS. I tried to salvage it by putting it in the microwave with more water... I did it twice and it's STILL crunchy! One more ten minute burst and if it's still not right it's going to have to go in the trash and I'll have to find something else for us to eat with our Zuni-style chicken. :(

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  1. Sounds to me that you did not have enough chicken stock - how many ounces in the can? I usually do a little more than twice the amount of liquid to rice. It really should have cooked properly in a shorter amount of time - if you had the right amount of liquid.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      I'm starting to think that was the case... either that or I toasted the rice for too long.

      1. re: Kajikit

        That could be as well - if you "toasted" it to much, it might have lost the ability to absorb the liquid. In cooking risotto, I do just a 30 second stir in the fat and onions before starting to add the liquid.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Agreed. The toasting step should be just long enough to coat the rice evenly with the fat - once it's shiny and starting to look translucent, it's time to add the liquid. I always make sure that I have my broth/water standing by and ready to go before the rice goes into the pot, just to be sure.

    2. Did you add the dried apricots with the rice and onion? Those probable absorbed enough liquid that the rice didn't have enough to properly cook.

      1 Reply
      1. re: leanneabe

        Thinking about it, you're right too... the recipe I got my quantities from added the fruit AFTER the rice was cooked, but I put it in at the beginning because I wanted it to get nice and soft... and since the bag of fruit was extremely old, the fruit had dried out quite a bit and absorbed even more liquid than normal. If I'd been thinking about it, I would have soaked the apricots in water first and THEN added them.
        Luckily the third trip into the microwave was the charm - it didn't come out as the nice fluffy light pilaf I'd hoped for, but it was cooked and edible! Now I know what to improve on next time... (DH liked it, even though I thought it was disappointing!)

      2. Agree that the apricots probably absorbed a lot of the water. I also suspect that you cooked it too long. My standard pilaf recipe (from Pierre Franey years ago) is one cup rice, one-half cup pasta (either broken pieces of vermicelli or similar long, skinny pasta, or orzo), and one can (14-1/2 oz) chicken stock. You can add onions, scallions, etc as well. Start by heating oil and browning onions, etc., then add pasta until golden, stirring often. Add rice and toss in oil, immediately add broth, plus salt & pepper. As soon as it boils, reduce to very low simmer and cook for exactly 17 minutes. Given those proportions, if I was using any dried fruit, I think I'd separately allow it to soak in other liquid first so as not to absorb the liquid for the rice.