Monday, September 7, 2009

Making a Stir-Fry - Step 2 – Dealing with Starch

OK, the several billion people who consume rice as their main food staple probably know something I don’t. Like how to cook it properly. But, I am not one of them. For me, cooking rice has always been hit-and-miss, with miss commanding a strong lead. That being said, I feel it necessary to discuss the intricacies of a) making rice and b) finding easier alternatives to using rice to accompany our stir-fry.

So, making rice. Well, in my experience, I’ve had the best luck with Jasmine rice, which is the staple rice in Thailand. I haven’t successfully attempted cooking any other kind in recent memory. There is a plethora of different types of rice used throughout the world (it’s a bit intimidating: The basic rule with cooking rice is to follow the instructions on the package TO THE LETTER! Rice isn’t one of those things you can experiment with, it just doesn’t work. So, that’s about it for my grand wisdom on cooking rice.

But, that being said, I highly recommend going with plan B: using rice noodles or vermicelli. If you’ve ever eaten at a Vietnamese pho restaurant, you’ve probably noticed that they use a variety of rice-based noodles, some thicker like fettuccine, others super thin like Angel hair pasta. Well, any of these is a much easier alternative to grain rice. You can find these kinds of noodles in the Asian food section of your super market. Basically, cook similarly to pasta (as per the instructions on the package). There’s a bit of a difference in that you will cook the noodles, then cool them off, mix them with some sort of oil to loosen them up, then toss them in with the stir-fry. I really like going with this kind of dish instead of rice because it somehow feels more satisfying as a meal, and it’s easier to eat noodles with chopsticks.

So, that’s about it. We’ll get back to the actual stir-fry next time.

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