Secret #5: How to make Rice that’s Extra Nice

Welcome to Day 5 of our 20-Day/20-Part series of blog posts titled “Tips, Tricks, and Secrets of Professional Chefs”. Yesterday we talked about the importance of heating or cooling plates before serving.

Today, let’s take a look at…

Secret #5: How to make Rice that’s Extra Nice

Sauteing Rice

Hi, I’m Chef Perry…I’m a carb-junkie, and I love rice (every one say, Hi Perry…)

Seriously, I don’t even need it served with anything else; a nice bowl of properly cooked rice, a pinch of salt or a splash of soy sauce, and I’m a happy cook. Admittedly, plain boiled or steamed white rice can be a little bland, but here’s a kitchen secret to make your rice extra nice.

I picked this tip up back in my teens, working in a Mexican restaurant: always lightly brown your rice in a little olive oil, before you add water and boil it.

Sauteing rice for my Creole Risotto, at the 2012 Tualatin Crawfish Mystery Box Cook-Off

Sauteing rice for my Creole Risotto, at the 2012 Tualatin Crawfish Mystery Box Cook-Off

Essentially, you’re toasting the rice, which, just like when toasting nuts or grains, produces a deep, rich, nutty aroma and flavor. Add a pinch of salt and maybe a little minced shallot (which gives a mild onion/garlic flavor) and you have something truly exceptional.

I use this step whenever I prepare rice as a side, for risotto, for Spanish rice…pretty much everything but sushi rice, which needs to be stickier that this process allows for.

Browning works great with all types of white rice, brown rice, and is especially good with a wild rice blend.

Here’s the basics…

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add 1 cup of rice (I prefer jasmine) and saute until the ends of the rice are translucent, and it’s just starting to color. You can add some finely minced shallots in this step, as well.

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Combine the rice with 1 3/4 cups water in a heavy saucepan and add salt to taste. Include 1 tsp. olive oil and set the pan over high heat. Heat the water until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, stir the rice, and cover the pot. Let the rice cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until all of the water has been absorbed.

Remove the pan from the heat and set aside, covered, for another five minutes. This allows the rice to steam slightly.

Fluff the rice grains with a fork before serving.

NOTE: For flavored rice, replace the water with chicken or beef stock, or add spices like curry powder, 5 Spice, Italian seasonings, or a little cumin and chili powder.


Be sure to subscribe to our blog for updates, and come back tomorrow for Secret #6: Sexy Food!


Chef Perry


7 thoughts on “Secret #5: How to make Rice that’s Extra Nice

  1. Pingback: Secret #4: Happiness is a Warm Plate |

  2. I’d forgotten about this trick – I don’t know how many times I watched my Grandmother start her rice this way. It does make a big difference. :0)

  3. This is something I do when making Mexican rice but never tried it with every day rice. I will start using this every time I make rice. Great tip and I used tip 4 for my eggs this AM. I will also start making seasoned rice as you have suggested.

  4. Pingback: Secret #6: Sexy Food |

  5. Hello, I am wondering if you can substitute brown short grain and short grain white rice in place of arborio rice in risotto?

    • Judy,

      Thanks for posting! Absolutely, you can use brown rice. I’ve made brown rice risotto a number of times. It’s going to take a little longer to cook, and it’s not going to quite have that signature creamy consistency that arborio rice had, so I would recommend adding a little addition cheese, and perhaps a touch of room-temp cream, right at the end. Short grain white rice works just fine, again maybe add a touch more cheese. I also use jasmine rice all the time (because I forget to buy arborio, lol).

      -Chef Perry

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