I learned to make rice in the seventh grade when we were studying feudal Japan. My teacher broke us up into groups and each group got to travel around to different stations to learn things about the time period. I don’t remember any other station — or any thing else about feudal Japan for that matter — except the rice station. My teacher made Japanese rice, and it was unlike any rice I’d ever had. It was sticky and chewy, and I loved it. I memorized the brand name of the rice so I could ask my mom to buy it, then I made it for my family.
The key to this rice is a method I’ve never deviated from, whether I’m making short-, medium-, or long-grain rice:
1 cup of rice
1 1/4 cup water
pinch of salt
Bring the water to a boil in a medium sauce pan with a lid. Add salt to boiling water, then add rice and stir with a fork.
Put the lid on and reduce the heat to as low as it will go.
Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the burner, but do NOT remove the lid. Allow the rice to steam for another 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve.
I use the same method for Mexican rice, too. I start by sauteing the 1 cup of rice in 2 tablespoons of oil with anywhere between 1/4 – 1/2 cup of finely chopped onions until the rice is beginning to color a bit. Then I add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder (or granulated garlic), 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of tomato sauce. Notice that the liquid still equals 1 1/4 cup. You can play with the water:tomato sauce ratio if you want it more or less red and tomato-y. See how I just sneaked in another recipe there?
And if you’re really in need of some comfort food, put your hot rice in a bowl, add a pat of butter and some grated Parmesan cheese, or any other hard cheese you have. Oops, there I go again with another recipe! Anyway, this qualifies as healthy because you made it yourself and there are no scary chemicals in it. And it fortifies you for the rest of the night when you’re facing down that paper you still have to write.