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Jan 20, 2012 09:19 PM

Rice: Flavorful by itself? [moved from Home Cooking]


my teacher told me that good rice is actually flavorful all on it's own.

You dont need to heap on condiments or spices. Just cook it right, and it provides it's own flavor component.

Is this true?

For the life of me, I just cant get my mind wrapped around this.

Blame it on my steady American diet of Uncle Ben's and Quick minute rice which has left me with the impression that all rice was just as bland and tasteless and wsnt complete without adding a whole bunch of add-ins and other stuff to it.

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  1. Absolutely true.

    Try a good Jasmine rice for example. Just eat it au natural and see for yourself.

    1. New harvest rice, that hasn't been sitting around forever. Cooked properly. Yum. And left over cold for breakfast :D

      1. I agree. I am a fan of brown rice, jasmine, basmati, and wild rice. When cooked properly, they are wonderful. The scent and natural flavor really comes into play.
        Now, with regular white rice... cooking it with just water? I don't know if I would like that. My idea of plain white rice is still with a small amount of salt or butter in it. :D

        3 Replies
        1. re: QueenDairy

          Maybe, it's because I spent a couple years in Japan as an early teen, but give me a bowl of Plain, white Japanese rice, New harvest, it has a delicate perfume and YES its own light flavor. I <3 it.

          No butter, No Salt and definitely NO SOY SAUCE

          1. re: AAQjr

            I'm sure it is alot more healthy as well! Haha :) And I absolutely love that soft aroma of freshly made rice. Heaven!

            1. re: AAQjr

              That's how I learned to appreciate plain rice - in many Japanese meals it comes on the side, and is generally eaten straight up. And never, never with soy sauce poured on it - that's the Japanese equivalent of going out for a nice meal and dumping ketchup all over your food. Soy is only used as a condiment in very specific circumstances.

              But white rice does have a light but distinct flavour on its own. Uncle Ben's, though, I'm not so sure. I don't think I'd eat that straight.

          2. Brown rice has a lot of flavor especially short grain. White rice has no taste nor should it. Its role in Asian cuisine is as unsalted bland counterpoint to flavorful side dishes be they meat or vegetable. It is only fit for filling potholes. Henry Miller said that originally. He said white bread was only good for filling potholes. Not a health nazi here ....just my opinion

            7 Replies
            1. re: zzDan

              "White rice has no taste nor should it."

              White rice is good to "fill in the gap" as you said, zzDan. However, I usually add a tiny amount of either salt or butter to it, although this highly depends on the meal.
              Maybe I am picky... perhaps it is my culture, or the way I was brought up...? My family has made white rice this way for generations. Now, when I enjoy Asian cuisine, plain white rice (no salt, etc) is perfect. I agree with that. It soaks up the sauce from the entree nicely.

              1. re: QueenDairy

                "White rice has no taste nor should it"

                Too bad you've never eaten a quality Basmati-but maybe it's better if you never do.

                1. re: Sam Salmon

                  Me? I was quoting and responding to what zzDan said:
                  "White rice has no taste nor should it."

                  I happen to love the natural flavor of basmati and jasmine. I only add salt or butter to the normal variety of white rice though.

                    1. re: Sam Salmon

                      I have some cooked brown Basmati in refrigerator and will eat some today by itself......Adding some Kikkoman to it

                  1. re: zzDan

                    "White rice has no taste nor should it."

                    Not true. I grew up in an Asian household that ate rice as a staple, with several highly flavorful varieties to choose from in our pantry. The lightly perfumed flavor of jasmine was my favorite, though I could also get into the really aromatic varieties of basmati, but I couldn't abide the musty flavor of milagrosa. The difference in flavors was especially evident when rice was mismatched with food. Basmati will overwhelm a delicate dish of soy-braised chicken. Jasmine makes for weak biryani. I'd daresay matching white rice varieties could be as difficult a job as being a sommelier.

                    1. re: JungMann

                      You are correct and I was too extreme. All rice has taste but in Asian cuisine (very nebulous I know) rice is the main food. The meats and side dishes stand out in contrast to the blander rice be it Jasmine, Basmati or Lundgren from California

                      "Basmati will overwhelm a delicate dish of soy-braised chicken."
                      Not for me. You are more attuned to this

                  2. As stated above, true. I prefer brown basmati, but white basmati or jasmine are great too.

                    One key is to add a bit of salt to the water before cooking as that is your only chance to season the rice itself. I usually go with about 1/2 tsp per cup of rice and 1.5 cups of water/stock etc.