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




How to Toast Nuts in a Skillet or the Oven

Here’s one of my favorite snack recipes from back home…

Hot Buttered Pecans

Yield: 8 Cups


  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
  • 8 cups pecan halves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)


Place a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and melt the butter.

When butter is melted, but before it starts to brown, add the pecans and toss to coat nuts evenly with the butter.

Combine the remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the buttered nuts. Again, toss to coat nuts evenly with the spices. Turn the heat down to medium, and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

When cool, store pecans in a zip-style bag or other airtight container. If you still have pecans after a few days, you’re not Southern. Nevertheless, they may be frozen in a zip-style bag or airtight container.

These are great as gifts, placed in an attractive jar.