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Chicken and Yellow Rice.. HELP!!! HELP!!! HELP!!!

kmlampman16 Jan 10, 2013 04:53 PM

Every time I make chicken and yellow rice it messes up. I boil a whole chicken and then debone it. I take two bags of family size yellow rice (vigo). I bring 10 cups of my chicken stock to a boil and then add my rice. I cook for a 1 min then add my chicken and cover. I turn the heat down to simmer (side note if it matters it's a gas stove) and cook for 35 min. The rice is always hard and mushy. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? I have no problems with white rice but my husband loves the yellow. Any tips?

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  1. C. Hamster Jan 10, 2013 04:55 PM

    Hard and mushy?

    Unevenly cooked?

    1 Reply
    1. re: C. Hamster
      Bebes Jan 18, 2014 09:21 AM

      Why not do it like the Cubans do, it is a Cuban dish. Saute the chicken first. do not boil it. Get it nice and brown, take out of skillet and saute your onions,green peppers and garlic. Put over the chicken and in same pan add white wine,saffron,salt,bay leaf chicken broth and rice. Bring to a boil Pour over chicken in casserole, cover and bake.

      That's how to get good chicken and yellow rice.

    2. v
      Violatp Jan 10, 2013 04:56 PM

      What do the directions say to do? Sometimes you do have to follow them precisely...

      1. l
        lemons Jan 10, 2013 06:20 PM

        How can it be both hard and mushy? Are some pieces hard and some mushy?

        1. scubadoo97 Jan 10, 2013 06:22 PM

          I always fry my rice in olive oil before adding the water

          1. paulj Jan 10, 2013 06:57 PM

            Have you tried cooking the yellow without the chicken? In other words try to solve the problem in steps.

            I suspect by 'hard and mushy' you mean that rice at the bottom, especially under chicken pieces is mushy, while rice at the top is hard. So some of the rice has been pressed down and over cooked, while other parts did not have enough contact with the liquid and steam.

            Cooking rice evenly with additions like meat is always trickier than plain rice.

            One possibility is that the proportion of chicken is too high, pressing on some, while shielding other parts from cooking.

            1 Reply
            1. re: paulj
              scubadoo97 Jan 10, 2013 09:25 PM

              A big bed of well cooked yellow rice, maybe with some peas and pimentos with pan roasted chicken on top is one way.

              when mixing shredded chicken with the yellow rice at the onset baking in the oven is another way to get more even heating.

            2. n
              noodlepoodle Jan 10, 2013 07:05 PM

              I wouldn't add the deboned chicken (it's already cooked). I would follow the rice bag's directions for liquid proportions and cooking time. When I cook white rice I only simmer for 15 min. and then let it rest covered off the heat for five min. I've never cooked yellow but imagine it's the same. Good luck.

              1. hotoynoodle Jan 10, 2013 07:46 PM

                how much rice is that? is there enough liquid?

                am unsure why you're putting a cooked chicken on top of uncooked rice? it's going to press down unevenly on the rice.

                i usually boil rice for about 5 minutes or so, turn off the heat, but leave it covered to finish for about 20-30 mins.

                1. q
                  Querencia Jan 10, 2013 10:53 PM

                  I do it a different way. Separately (same pan, serially) I brown large chunks of boneless chicken breast and saute onions, red or green peppers, and mushrooms. I then sort of layer all of this in a very big Corningware casserole with raw rice, saffron strewed about, frozen green peas, some olives, and water or chicken stock, with salt. I use water or stock to cover the rice, as full as I can get the dish. Cover very tightly with foil and bake 60-90 minutes but watch it. You may have to add more water or stock but you don't want standing liquid in it when you're done, and you want the rice grains done but not split. Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan. BTW once in a vacation rental in Portugal I had only a microwave, no range top at all, and made this without the saute-ing step and it was not as pretty but quite tasty and it went really well with Vinho Verde.

                  Trying making your rice yellow with saffron. That way your rice is the real thing and has a delicate flavor. Trader Joe's is a good place to get saffron.

                  1. boogiebaby Jan 10, 2013 11:21 PM

                    Are you using a big enough pot? And why are you cooking it for so long? Rice doesn't take 35 minutes to cook on the stove. It should only take 20-25 minutes. Do you stir it at all?

                    I have never used those prepackaged yellow rice packs, but I would follow the directions, and mix in the chicken towards the end.

                    1. sunshine842 Jan 11, 2013 12:22 AM

                      I wouldn't start with cooked chicken. You'll end up with dried-out fluff.

                      This is a good recipe for the process -- brown the chicken and pull it out to the side, stir-fry the rice for a few minutes, add the liquid, then put the chicken back in and let it simmer.

                      Just for what it's worth, I've never had good luck with Vigo -- as popular as it is, it's never given me rice that we all just love.

                      Instead, I use the Mahatma yellow rice mix (family size) or I use white rice and sazon (I use Badia's Sazon Tropical) like in this recipe.

                      (If you use the Mahatma or Vigo, you do need to leave out the other spices...)


                      1. p
                        Puffin3 Jan 11, 2013 05:51 AM

                        The first thing I'd look at it the size and type of pot you are using. Just to amplify the point let's say the pot is really tall but really narrow across. That's going to effect how the rice cooks. Important point: I once saw a HUGE rice pilaf being made for an entire village. The special pan was about ten inches high and TEN FEET across! If you want to make a lot a rice try a heavy gauge short but WIDE pan with a good lid. Otherwise do what I do. I have a little electric rice cooker. When I need to make a lot of rice I just pre-make it in a few batches. The little cooker has made all types of rice and coccus and kinwa perfectly every time. When I read that someone has "boiled" a chicken my heart sinks but that's not for now.

                        1. w
                          wyogal Jan 11, 2013 06:00 AM

                          It's hard to say, "hard and mushy" seems to be a contradiction. Maybe you could be a bit more descriptive of the texture.
                          Also, 35 minutes is a long time, unless you are living on a mountaintop. :)
                          The website for the product states to cook it for only 20-25 minutes, so I am not sure why you are cooking it for 35 minutes. That would certainly affect the outcome.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: wyogal
                            paulj Jan 11, 2013 09:37 AM

                            In a sense, rice only cooks as long as there is water. Once it has absorbed all the water, it is done, whether that is 20 minutes or 35. After that it toasts or burns.

                            However, I will qualify that a bit - rice usually benefits from a sitting period, during which steam in the covered pot further softens the rice, and evens out the cooking. That especially helps the rice at the top can be dry and undercooked.

                            I have an old rice cooker that does just that. It cooks the rice on high until the water has been absorbed, and the temperature at the bottom starts to rise. Then a thermostat kicks in and switches the power to low. Instructions are to hold the rice another 15 minutes before serving.

                            An Indian way of cooking rice with meat is to partially cook the rice (boil in lots of water and then drain). Then layer it with the cooked meat and cover. Let the combination finish over low heat.

                            Paella is a Spanish way of cooking rice with meat, that uses the wide pan idea. That allows for a lot of evaporation, which means you may have to add more stock along the way. And if your heat isn't even, rice around the rim can remain raw. The Spanish also cook rice with meat in deeper pots, but in those cases it is left wetter (melloso) or even soupy (caldoso).

                            1. re: paulj
                              wyogal Jan 11, 2013 09:39 AM

                              I'm just saying that her rice may not be turning out because she is cooking it too long according to the package directions, that's all.

                          2. Becca Porter Jan 11, 2013 06:33 AM


                            This recipe is excellent!

                            1. w
                              wyogal Jan 11, 2013 09:20 AM

                              Yep, I looked at the cooking directions on the package at the store (just got back), not sure why you are cooking it for 35 minutes, it clearly states a shorter cooking time.

                              1. s
                                spanglish222 Jan 11, 2013 09:30 AM

                                - Speaking from experience, try using a wider pot rather than a deep pot (a wide pot more evenly distributes liquid), especially when cooking a lot of rice.

                                - turn your heat down to the lowest setting.

                                - try not to uncover the rice while cooking. After it has cooked, turn off the heat and leave the cover one for about 15 minutes or so.

                                - add the chicken after cooking the rice.

                                1. Hank Hanover Jan 11, 2013 09:30 AM

                                  According to the Vigo instructions, it only needs to be simmered for 22- 25 minutes.

                                  There are 3 things that could affect your results.

                                  If the pan is too small, that would cause very inconsistent results. If you are adding an entire chicken to the rice, I would think you would need a covered pan of more than 3 quart capacity. There should still be plenty of room in that pan when the rice is cooked. If not get a bigger pan. I would be tempted to use my 5 quart, enameled, cast iron dutch oven.

                                  If the lid doesn't properly seal, steam would escape and result in very inconsistent cooking. If steam is escaping from under the lid and the liquid isn't boiling to fast, your lid isn't sealing.

                                  If you turn the heat down too low to properly simmer. Turn down the heat to a simmer before putting the lid on. It should go from a rapid boil to a very few bubbles forming. Let it simmer for 25 minutes then take it off flame and let it steep for 5 minutes, covered.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Hank Hanover
                                    sparky403 Jan 18, 2014 10:58 AM

                                    Brown the chicken well. pour out the excess fat, add the rice and vegs (if you put them in there) Brown the rice and veg in the oil.

                                    you should just add enough liquid to come to the first knuckle of your index finger - one inch.

                                    Also, after it's cooked, let it sit covered for at least 10 minutes... no peaking.

                                    I got these tips from Daisy Marteniz and they work. Though getting chicken and rice perfect is one of the more difficult things in cooking IMHO.

                                    Also, Many people swear by par-boiled rice hope this helps.

                                    1. re: sparky403
                                      Bebes Jan 18, 2014 12:38 PM

                                      If you don't put in the veggies or chicken stock it will not be Yellow Rice and Chicken. The part about the first knuckle for the water level is good for cooking rice-Asians
                                      cook rice this way but with the chicken in there it throws the liquid level off. Best you use 2x the amount of liquid to
                                      the amount of rice. Your also correct in keeping the rice covered and letting it sit the 10 minutes. Makes it soft and fluffy. There is a wonderful recipe for Yellow Rice and Chicken on the Columbia Restaurant site to check out.
                                      comes out perfect and wonderful every time.

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