Chinese-style plain rice

Ancient Chinese cooks were given the same social rank as esteemed painters and poets, and one especially important dish they had to make was fan, or Chinese white rice, to be served alongside multiple savory dishes. Besides long-grain white rice,

Chinese recipes can call for long-grain brown rice (as an alternative to white rice in stir-fries and as an everyday rice), glutinous sticky rice (for stuffings and dumplings), or short-grain white rice, for everyday eating and the savory breakfast porridge, congee.

I love this plain rice, for its consistency on the tongue and barely clumping in the bowl, perfect for fried rice of any sort.

It is always made without salt to properly complement the soy sauce and other complex flavoring condiments in the food.

Please note that the rice is not finished cooking until after sitting for 15 minutes on the Keep Warm cycle.

  • MACHINE: Medium (6-cup) rice cooker ;
  • fuzzy logic or on/off
  • CYCLE: Regular
  • YIELD: Serves 3 to 4
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1¼ cups water

1. Place the rice in a bowl, rinse with cold water, and pour the water off, taking care to keep the rice in the bottom of the bowl. Rinse one to three more times, if desired.

2. Coat the rice cooker bowl with nonstick cooking spray or a film of vegetable oil. Place the rice in the rice bowl. Add the water, close the cover, and set for the regular cycle.

3. When the machine switches to the Keep Warm cycle, let the rice steam for 15 minutes. Fluff the rice with a wooden or plastic rice paddle or wooden spoon. This rice will hold on Keep Warm for hours. Serve hot.

chinese jasmine rice: Place the water in the rice cooker bowl. Add 1 teaspoon loose jasmine tea leaves and a dash of salt to the water; let stand for 3 minutes to steep. Add the rinsed and drained rice, swirl to evenly distribute, and cook the rice as directed. You could also use a jasmine tea bag and remove it before you begin cooking the rice, but the bits of tea leaves in the cooked rice are very nice. Great with soy-and-ginger-marinated chicken or fish.

chinese restaurant rice: Coat the rice bowl with 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil. Substitute ¼ cup short-grain rice for ¼ cup of the long-grain rice (the ratio is 3 parts long-grain white rice to 1 part short-grain rice).

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