Plain White Rice (Timman Abyadh)

The amount of water used in cooking the rice is crucial, and eye measurement works better with experienced cooks. According to those eye measurements, there should be enough liquid to cover rice in the pot by 1/3-inch. If you prefer to measure by cups then always remember that every cup of uncooked rice needs 1 3/4 cup liquid, provided you follow the instructions.

(Recipe makes 4 servings)
2 cups rice
3 1/2 cups cold water
1 tablespoon oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. In a fine-meshed sieve, big enough to hold rice comfortably, wash rice under running cold water. Let it drain then transfer it to a medium bowl. (If the package directions say there is no need to wash it, then skip this stage, and just put the measured rice in the bowl)
2. Add cold water to rice, and let soak for 30 minutes. This time is good enough for jasmine and American rice. Aged rice, such as basmati, needs about an hour of soaking.
3. In a medium heavy non-stick pot, pour rice with the water in which it was soaking. Add oil and salt, stir lightly with a wooden spoon. Bring to quick boil, covered, on high heat, for 5 minutes or until most of the moisture has evaporated and small holes start appearing.
4. Lower heat to low and gently and lightly fold rice with a fork or a wooden spoon to allow rice grains to expand while cooking. Cover pot tightly, and let simmer for 20 minutes. While simmering, fold rice lightly twice preferably with a fork to allow it to fluff. (Over stirring or folding the rice might cause the grains to break, and make rice glutinous in texture).

How To Make The Crispy Crust
A non-stick pot is recommended if you want to get the crust in one piece. When rice is almost cooked, say after 15 minutes of simmering and before any of the grains have started to crisp or stick to the bottom of the pot, transfer rice to a bowl. In another smaller bowl, mix 2 tablespoons yogurt, about 2 tablespoons oil and 5 to 6 heaping tablespoons of the cooked rice. Spread bottom of rice pot with this mixture and return rest of the rice, and resume simmering rice for 15 more minutes. This will result in a flavorful crust. Needless to say, the more freely oil is used, the more delicious and crunchy the crust will be. In fact, if a generous amount of oil is used in cooking the rice to begin with, there will no need for doing all this. Just let rice simmer for 10 or 15 minutes more to allow rice in the bottom to crisp and brown in the oil.
Alternatively, if you are cooking a small amount of rice, and do not want to use oil more than is needed, then simply cook rice as directed above. During the last 5 minutes of cooking give heat a boost to high, but you need to watch it lest it should burn, let your nose be the judge. This will result in a thin but crispy crust. To prevent the crust from getting soft or soggy from the steam in the pot, it is essential to invert the rice immediately by putting a plate or tray on top of the pot, and holding both the pot and the plate with both hands. The beautiful delicious crust will be on top in one piece.

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