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Have you ever had one of those off-days where almost everything you make in the kitchen seems to go awry? I have been having some kitchen issues while cooking right before Yom Tov (picture hot soup spilled all over the place), and was afraid even my easy yellow rice would come out wrong. So, I tried a new rice cooking technique.
A while back, I saw a recipe for oven-baked rice and kind of dismissed the idea. How hard is it to make rice in the pot, I thought–why bother with a new method?
Then, I had a few rice disasters. After years of no problem making rice the usual way, suddenly I was finding my rice to be . . . . unpredictable. With all that was going awry in the kitchen, the last thing I wanted was unpredictable.
So, I gave the oven method a shot. It is supposed to guarantee perfect rice.
Guess what? It is super easy to do, and it really does result in perfect rice.
The original recipe calls for heating rice and oil in a heavy pot, adding water and salt, bringing the whole thing to a boil, covering the pot, and sticking it in the oven for 13 minutes. I wanted to cook the rice in a 9×13 pan that I could use to reheat the rice. So, I heated the rice and oil in the pan while boiling water in a pot. To make yellow rice, I added some turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper to the rice before adding the boiling water. Then I covered the pan tightly with foil and stuck it in the oven for the 13 minutes, let it sit for 5 minutes in a turned off oven, and then took a peek. Perfect yellow rice! Not overcooked, not mushy, not hard and underdone. Just perfect. And already in the pan I can use for reheating.
Oven-Baked Yellow Rice
Inspired by Wednesday Chef’s recipe for plain rice baked in the oven (in turn from Francis Lam’s recipe for Koshary in Gourmet Magazine).
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups basmati or long-grain white rice
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt (1 tsp. kosher salt), or more to taste
1/4-1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/4-1/2 tsp. cumin
a little bit of hawaiij, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the water in a pot or teapot.
Put the oil in a pan or casserole or pot and heat over medium heat. Add the rice and stir around until coated. Add the seasoning and stir around again. Cook the rice over low, stirring occasionally, while the water comes to a boil in the pot or teakettle. This will take a few minutes. Don’t let the rice burn or get toasty. Keep an eye on it.
When the water boils, pour it over the rice in the pan. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. Cover the pan with a tight fitting cover or a double layer of foil. Stick it in the preheated oven and bake for 13 minutes. Turn the oven off after 13 minutes and let it rest in the oven for 5 minutes or take it out and let it rest on the stovetop for 5 minutes still covered.
Bonus: Alton Brown’s Baked Brown Rice. Plus, the transcript from his show about rice. Basically, you need to add another 1/3 cup of water to the above recipe if you are making brown rice, but you will need to bake it for an hour instead of 13-19 minutes.