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I just posted a thing about Thai takeout in another thread and it got me thinking about something I've always wondered. I LOVE the rice you get from a Thai restaurant, but I cannot seem to make it properly at home. I love how it's a medium to long grain, very fragrant and flavorful, and sticks together really well, like a short grain rice. I can't seem to figure out what it is that they do that I'm not.

I buy Thai jasmine rice, and it's clearly different grain than Chinese or Japanese, so I don't think my problem is there. I use a rice steamer and I've tried using it with a little less water, a little extra water, a lot less water, a lot of extra water, and I still can't do it.

What are they doing that I'm not? Could it be specific brands of rice? Is it not jasmine rice at all? Is my Eastern European heritage dragging me down so that I'm technically and ethnically disqualified from making good Thai rice?

Other folks notice the difference between Thai rice and others, yes? Vietnamese is close, but still not the same. Ideas, anyone?

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I'm drawing a blank right now on which way this works, but rinsing rice makes it either stickier or less sticky.

Rinsing removes a lot of the starch-- the one thing that makes rice sticky.

Other than the above, I have no advice. Well, maybe a little. Use a little too much water, and cook it a little longer than you would on higher heat. But you have to get a real feel for it so as not to burn it. I can pull it off maybe 3 out of 10 times satisfactorily.

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I don't know how frequently you eat rice, but maybe invest in an electric rice cooker? The ones you get at Asian grocery stores will last at least 10-15 years of every day use. The way I was taught to make rice was dump rice in, pour in enough water until it reaches the first crease on my ring finger (as measured from the surface of the rice), and then push the button down on the rice cooker. When I was little I had to use the crease on my middle finger, and I make my husband use his pinky. Always turns out sticky enough for chopsticks.

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I don't know how frequently you eat rice, but maybe invest in an electric rice cooker?  The ones you get at Asian grocery stores will last at least 10-15 years of every day use.  The way I was taught to make rice was dump rice in, pour in enough water until it reaches the first crease on my ring finger (as measured from the surface of the rice), and then push the button down on the rice cooker.  When I was little I had to use the crease on my middle finger, and I make my husband use his pinky.  Always turns out sticky enough for chopsticks.

That is the way the instructor (Thai native) taught us in a Thai cooking class that I took.

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Now that I have the rice cooker situtation worked out (got the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 5-Cup Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker ) , where is a good place to get good quality rice in bulk?

Any Asian market, and even Costco or Shoppers Warehouse, as they move lots of stuff quickly.
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I don't know how frequently you eat rice, but maybe invest in an electric rice cooker?
I've used an electric cooker for years, but perhaps I'm not using enough water to get it how I want it. Laniloa noted a 2-1 water to rice ratio which is more than I ever attempted, but should probably give it a shot to see if it works.
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I've used an electric cooker for years, but perhaps I'm not using enough water to get it how I want it.  Laniloa noted a 2-1 water to rice ratio which is more than I ever attempted, but should probably give it a shot to see if it works.

I don't use a rice cooker, but I always use a 2-1 ratio of water to rice and it universally comes out fine.

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I don't use a rice cooker, but I always use a 2-1 ratio of water to rice and it universally comes out fine.

I don't know how the rice cookers "notches" let you know how much water is being put in, although it's easy to measure. I guess I should clarify then that what I'll probably try is putting in two cups of rice and adding enough water to the "four" level of the machine and see what happens. Hell, rice is cheap. :lol:
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I don't know how the rice cookers "notches" let you know how much water is being put in, although it's easy to measure.  I guess I should clarify then that what I'll probably try is putting in two cups of rice and adding enough water to the "four" level of the machine and see what happens.  Hell, rice is cheap.  :lol:

I don't usually follow the notches because I never seem to be making batch sizes that correspond to the notches. You could measure the water before pouring so you'll know for future reference what the four notch means.

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I like rice. A lot. Often my wife and I eat fish with steamed veggies/broccoli/asparagus. The fish varies: sometimes grouper, rockfish, flounder, haddock, cod-whatever looks decent at Whole Foods, Wegmans or on Maine Avenue. We always have some kind of rice or couscous. Having done this a couple of times a week for ten or more years (it's low caloried and nutritious-please don't laugh!) we've become something of experts for what we really like.

Today I bought a new rice which Whole Foods just started carrying: Tambobamba Carribean rice pelau. This is made with white rice, currants, onions, chickpeas, red bell peppers, carrots, tomato flakes, chili peppers (forgive me, I'm reading the side of the box!@) and a few chemicals whose multisyllabic names require too much exertion to type.

Good God, this stuff is really good! Seriously good! Embarassingly good!

Having now typed this and shared it with the world I am driving directly to the Whole Foods in Reston and buying every box of this they have. Just in case they run out...

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On a slightly different note: I've been trying to make rice molds for some time. I've been working with basmati rice and although I rinse the rice before cooking (and removing the starch) I keep thinking there must be some way to "mold" the rice and have it retain its shape.

I tried adding cream (which didn't do it) and then tried forming the rice/cream mixture and broiling/baking it (still didn't work; the mold held until I attempted to remove it from the pan.) Even tried adding cheese to warm rice (natch!).

Any suggestions? Do I have to use sticky rice? Will any short grain rice do? Will sticky rice impart a different flavor to my dish? I've only used sticky rice for desserts.

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On a slightly different note: I've been trying to make rice molds for some time. I've been working with basmati rice and although I rinse the rice before cooking (and removing the starch) I keep thinking there must be some way to "mold" the rice and have it retain its shape.

I tried adding cream (which didn't do it) and then tried forming the rice/cream mixture and broiling/baking it (still didn't work; the mold held until I attempted to remove it from the pan.) Even tried adding cheese to warm rice (natch!).

Any suggestions? Do I have to use sticky rice? Will any short grain rice do? Will sticky rice impart a different flavor to my dish? I've only used sticky rice for desserts.

Basmati rice is a long grain variety, which tend to be less sticky than shorter grain types. Also, you are defeating your purpose by rinsing the rice before you cook it. I use a ratio of 1 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup rice, rather than 2:1, and I like the texture of the rice better. Try not rinsing your basmati, using the 1 1/2:1 ratio. Oil your mold and pack the rice in firmly. If that doesn't work, switch to a shorter grain rice.

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I read somewhere that the water/rice ratio depends on how much rice you are making. Less rice requires more water.

I use 1 1/2:1 even when I am just making one cup of rice. I used to use 2:1 until I saw a one hour program that Alton Brown did about rice, and he said the appropriate ratio is 1 1/2:1. I tried it and have used it ever since.

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I use 1 1/2:1 even when I am just making one cup of rice. I used to use 2:1 until I saw a one hour program that Alton Brown did about rice, and he said the appropriate ratio is 1 1/2:1. I tried it and have used it ever since.
I was thinking very small amount of rice, such as 1/4 to 1/2 cup. You need more water because so much will get convered to steam.
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Any suggestions? Do I have to use sticky rice? Will any short grain rice do? Will sticky rice impart a different flavor to my dish? I've only used sticky rice for desserts.
You probably don't need rice that is labeled "sticky rice", medium grain rice should work just fine. I always buy Hinode Calrose, but only because I know some of the farmers who grow rice for that brand. :)

I also agree with Zora on the 1.5:1 ratio of water to rice.

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Has anyone tried cooking rice like pasta? It works.

Do you mean cooking pasta like rice? Or cooking rice in a copious amount of boiling salted water?

I have another question that I don't believe has been addressed. I use an Oster steamer for rice and understand there is an optimal ratio of water to rice. What about how much water I put in the bottom of the appliance to get the steaming started? I have a feeling I may be overdoing it there. Any experiences?

Thanks.

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I cook my rice the old fashioned way - in a rice cooker, just like mom does. After all, literally hundreds of millions of avid rice eaters in Japan, China, India, etc can't be wrong!! :)

Actually, we use a combo vegetable steamer/rice cooker. It's easy, fast, and consistent. We always get nice fluffy basmati that way. I've never tried it for sticky rice, though, but I imagine it would work just fine. We've not only used this to cook rice and steam veggies, but I've steamed fish in it to great effect. A multi-tasker and a steal at under $30!!

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I am not sure if you want to make Thai Basmati rice (I use the 1 1/2 to 1 cup rice ratio) or Thai sticky rice but they are very different.

Thai sticky rice (using the specific Thai Sticky Rice grain) should be rinsed and soaked for a couple of hours, and then steamed for about half an hour. Do not try this with the basmati as it will be pretty inedible.

Thai basmati rice can be made in a pot with the above proportions, bringing the water to a boil, add the rice, put lid on and steam at low heat (barely simmering) for 18 minutes. Do not open the pot until the 18 min are up.

I found this on the internet "White Sticky Rice (kao niow): Also Sticky Rice Steamerknown as "glutinous" rice or "sweet" rice, this starchy grain is steamed dry after prolonged soaking to yield a sticky, chewy texture. Steamed sticky rice is the staple food of northern and northeastern Thailand, where it replaces the regular steamed rice of the central region. Use medium- to long-grain glutinous rice and not the round short-grain variety for Thai-style meals.

Soak the opaque white grains in plenty of water for four hours or more. The grains will absorb water and grow in size. Then drain and steam without any water for about half an hour. For less than two cups of rice, steam in a dry dish on the rack of a stacked steamer; for more than two cups, use the special sticky rice steamer available from Southeast Asian markets – a woven, hat-like bamboo basket that fits over a pot with a collar shaped somewhat like a spittoon."

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Speaking of basmati rice, does anyone have a good simple recipe for saffron basmati rice? When I usually make basmati, I generally throw in a cinammon stick, a few cloves, and some salt, but that's it. Lately, I've been trying to incorporate saffron, but I can't get that rich yellow color that makes saffron rice so exotic (and delicious!)

Any tips are appreciated.

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Speaking of basmati rice, does anyone have a good simple recipe for saffron basmati rice? When I usually make basmati, I generally throw in a cinammon stick, a few cloves, and some salt, but that's it. Lately, I've been trying to incorporate saffron, but I can't get that rich yellow color that makes saffron rice so exotic (and delicious!)

Any tips are appreciated.

I usually use the following recipe and it is easily adaptable to variations. :o

SAFFRON ALMOND RICE PILAF

Serves 8

2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth

2 cups water

generous pinch of saffron threads

1 cup shallots, chopped

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2⅔ cups long-grain rice (preferably basmati or jasmine)

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Heat the broth and water in a small saucepan over moderate heat until hot, then crumble saffron into liquid and stir. Remove from heat.

Cook the shallots in the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and pale golden, ~3 minutes. Stir in the saffron broth, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, ~20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice sit, covered for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and fold in the almonds.

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Speaking of basmati rice, does anyone have a good simple recipe for saffron basmati rice? When I usually make basmati, I generally throw in a cinammon stick, a few cloves, and some salt, but that's it. Lately, I've been trying to incorporate saffron, but I can't get that rich yellow color that makes saffron rice so exotic (and delicious!) "

I add tumeric to our rice to get the yellow color and a bit of flavor. Not the same flavor as saffron, however. Although I generally use a rice cooker, I also have much luck with a recipe from the 60 Minute Gourmet series - saute few tablespoons onion in butter 'til soft, stir in rice, add chicken broth (1-1/2 cups to one cup rice; if making more rice I usually use a broth/water mix); bring to boil, stir, cover and cook on low heat for 17 minutes. Perfect every time. If using a mold to shape the rice for serving, I use small asian rice bowls - I often stir peas or scallions in to the rice after it is cooked.

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I have a conundrum. After shopping at Kam Sam, Maxim's and Great Wall lately, I have noticed that rice brand selection has become less selective and less logical, in a sense, to me. Before, I could find more varities of Japanese short grain brands, but now, I have found that there are more Thai and Indian brands of rice, or more Black, Purple, or "healthier" rice varities.

While the rice brands I ate growing up are fine (Nishiki - see bottom or Kokuho), I find that I tend to like cooking more with Tamaki, Nishimoto (Sekka) or JFC's Tamanishiki or Yume-Nishiki, but I can't find them for sale anywhere.

Has anyone: 1. Seen the last four types sold anywhere, or 2. Can recommend another brand and where it's sold? Thank you!!

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I was nosing around the kitchen trying to decide what to make for dinner tonight, and I couldn't help but notice all the rice. Arborio, carnaroli, basmati, Spanish medium grain, jasmine, sweet, black sweet, and a 10 pound bag of organic brown rice bought during a Costco moment. On top of that, there are the bags of rice, brown rice, and sweet rice flours. I've got more than fifty pounds of rice in the house right now. Egad. I think I'll make a rice salad.

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I was nosing around the kitchen trying to decide what to make for dinner tonight, and I couldn't help but notice all the rice. Arborio, carnaroli, basmati, Spanish medium grain, jasmine, sweet, black sweet, and a 10 pound bag of organic brown rice bought during a Costco moment. On top of that, there are the bags of rice, brown rice, and sweet rice flours. I've got more than fifty pounds of rice in the house right now. Egad. I think I'll make a rice salad.

Curious where you bought your carnaroli rice, if you recall?

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I have a conundrum. After shopping at Kam Sam, Maxim's and Great Wall lately, I have noticed that rice brand selection has become less selective and less logical, in a sense, to me. Before, I could find more varities of Japanese short grain brands, but now, I have found that there are more Thai and Indian brands of rice, or more Black, Purple, or "healthier" rice varities.

While the rice brands I ate growing up are fine (Nishiki - see bottom or Kokuho), I find that I tend to like cooking more with Tamaki, Nishimoto (Sekka) or JFC's Tamanishiki or Yume-Nishiki, but I can't find them for sale anywhere.

Has anyone: 1. Seen the last four types sold anywhere, or 2. Can recommend another brand and where it's sold? Thank you!!

Sorry I didn't see this earlier today because I went to the Hana Japanese Market on U Street today, specifically to pick up a couple of kinds of noodles. While I was waiting to check out, I looked at the several kinds of rice and wondered what the differences in them were. Most of their stuff has Japanese labels (which I can't read), but a tiny label on the back in English. The people who work there are tremendously helpful, so I'll try to go back in the next couple of days and see what I can find out for you.

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While the rice brands I ate growing up are fine (Nishiki - see bottom or Kokuho), I find that I tend to like cooking more with Tamaki, Nishimoto (Sekka) or JFC's Tamanishiki or Yume-Nishiki, but I can't find them for sale anywhere.

Has anyone: 1. Seen the last four types sold anywhere, or 2. Can recommend another brand and where it's sold? Thank you!!

I think I've seen Tamaki, at least, at Hinata in Bethesda. We use Shirakiku Hitomebore, which is also available at Hinata as well as at Maruichi in Rockville. Hitomebore is the variety that our organic rice supplier in Kitakami grew, and it's still our favorite. We'll buy Koshihikari in a pinch.
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I have a conundrum. After shopping at Kam Sam, Maxim's and Great Wall lately, I have noticed that rice brand selection has become less selective and less logical, in a sense, to me. Before, I could find more varities of Japanese short grain brands, but now, I have found that there are more Thai and Indian brands of rice, or more Black, Purple, or "healthier" rice varities.

While the rice brands I ate growing up are fine (Nishiki - see bottom or Kokuho), I find that I tend to like cooking more with Tamaki, Nishimoto (Sekka) or JFC's Tamanishiki or Yume-Nishiki, but I can't find them for sale anywhere.

Has anyone: 1. Seen the last four types sold anywhere, or 2. Can recommend another brand and where it's sold? Thank you!!

The Hana Japanese Market (at 17th & U Sts., NW) has 15-pound bags of Tamaki Gold for $32.20 and 15-pound bags of Nishimoto Sekka for $18.20. They carry smaller bags of both of these, but are currently out. Personally, if I were going to come into town just for this, I would buy the biggest bags I could find.

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Xochiyl10 - I will report back. I have the hitomebore on timer in the neuro fuzzy logic cooker (yay for hi-tech rice cookers!).

The hitomebore rice went perfectly with the stewed chicken. It came out plump and fluffy, with a tender taste. Little man could not get enough! I had leftovers which became perfectly shaped rice balls. Thanks again for the rec!

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I have a conundrum. After shopping at Kam Sam, Maxim's and Great Wall lately, I have noticed that rice brand selection has become less selective and less logical, in a sense, to me. Before, I could find more varities of Japanese short grain brands, but now, I have found that there are more Thai and Indian brands of rice, or more Black, Purple, or "healthier" rice varities.

While the rice brands I ate growing up are fine (Nishiki - see bottom or Kokuho), I find that I tend to like cooking more with Tamaki, Nishimoto (Sekka) or JFC's Tamanishiki or Yume-Nishiki, but I can't find them for sale anywhere.

Has anyone: 1. Seen the last four types sold anywhere, or 2. Can recommend another brand and where it's sold? Thank you!!

So after trying all of the above, my palate went the opposite way and wanted a softer, chewier, plumper variety. So, I decided to opt for Korean rice, after liking the rice tried at the Yellow Food Truck vendor and other Korean restaurants (even though the online fora states they use Nishiki). Anyway, HMart's Kyong-gi Rice so far foots this bill. A 10lb bag was $8.99, I think, which is slightly cheaper than Tamaki or Shirakiku Hitomebore. 

Still good to test, although I think I need to buy a bag of the Tamaki again for comparison...

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Maybe I should buy smaller quantities, currently using an enormous (20 lb. bag) of Thai Hom Mali rice "Orchids" brand, it cooks up perfectly in the Zojirushi rice cooker, I make a batch every 2-4 days. Even w/ just Lizzy & I at home, we consume lots of rice.

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