Rice and salt

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by teamfat, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. teamfat

    teamfat

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    Just put a pot of rice on the stove, plain old white long grain.  Put in the rice, a dash of salt and the water.  I remembered watching an episode of the original Japanese Iron Chef and the tasting panel was just dumbfounded that the chef put salt in the rice before it was cooked.

    Do you salt rice?  When?

    mjb.
     
  2. davehriver

    davehriver

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    If you salt the rice prior to cooking every grain of rice will be seasoned.  Salt after not so much.
     
  3. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    mjb, I just put an automatic rice cooker full of rice to 'on' but I don't use salt, I do use shoyu once it's on the plate, that makes it just the right amount of saltiness
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013
  4. french fries

    french fries

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    It depends on what I'm going to use the rice with. 

    For most asian cooking, I don't salt the rice at all. Typically the rice will be served with something that is in itself very savory, salty... an example that comes to mind is Filipino adobo chicken where the sauce is pretty much soy sauce and vinegar, so pretty salty, goes perfectly with unseasoned rice. 

    For most other cooking I salt the rice cooking water, but I put quite a lot of salt, more than just a pinch. I can't tell you the exact amount but... maybe about a teaspoon of coarse sea salt per 1 cup of dry rice. 
     
  5. chefross

    chefross

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     "I remembered watching an episode of the original Japanese Iron Chef and the tasting panel was just dumbfounded that the chef put salt in the rice before it was cooked."

    Remember these shows are for your entertainment, not for learning culinary techniques.
     
  6. siduri

    siduri

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    Rice without salt?  Only if you're life depends on it - like you have extra high blood pressure and you are sensitive to salt. 
     
  7. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    In general I like to season in layers, with rice I salt at the start and then at the finish as well.
     
  8. ordo

    ordo

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    This depends on what culinary culture you're talking about. Rice in China, as FF said, is neutral. Even when you cook chau fa fried rice, you begin with non salted rice. Rice soup, a healing traditional over cooked rice, is also non salted. Sushi rice is different, Its embedded in sweet vinegar. Rice in the West, well, it depends. Risotto gets the salt of the stock, so you don't need to salt the rice. But rice croquettes may need some salt. It depends.
     
  9. siduri

    siduri

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    Yeah, i know different cultures and cuisines have unsalted rice, like umbria has unsalted bread.  But it;s not for me.  I have to actually salt the bread when i go where they have unsalted. 
     
  10. scubadoo97

    scubadoo97

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    Certainly a cultural thing. Those in some Latin countries and those from the Middle East fry rice in oil and salt before adding water

    I like very flavorful rice. It should be delicious on its own before adding anything. But that's just my take
     
  11. butzy

    butzy

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    I don't salt my rice at all. The side dishes have all the flavourings and the rice acts sort of as a neutraliser between the different side dishes.

    But as FF said, that's cultural. My cooking is mainly SE asian (with an emphasis on Indonesian and Thai).

    I do flavour the rice sometimes, by adding either a stick of lemongrass or a chili to it when cooking it.

    I use the absorption method when cooking rice and I have a preference for jasmine rice.
     
  12. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    I almost always cook my rice with salt. Usually kosher salt.

    I crush and chop about 2-3 (large-medium) cloves of garlic per cup of rice. I oil the pot and fry the garlic lightly. Add the rice and stir in the oil and garlic mixture. Add a "punch" of salt. Add the water, it should sizzle as it goes in. Stir it up and taste the water. You're looking for a slightly saltier taste that your pallet normally enjoys. The reason is the rice will absorb it and bland the flavor a bit. Add more salt if the water is still bland. Boil the water on high, then turn back the heat to low and let simmer until done. Fluff rice when almost done. 

    I'm cooking Peruvian food mostly, but also tend to cook Latin and Asian flavors the rest of the time. This garlic rice goes well with all of those.

    I also sold this rice on my food truck. I'd have people all the time tell me this is the best rice they ever tasted. 
     
  13. french fries

    french fries

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    As a kid I would go to Spain and they had baguette that looked like French baguette...except... no salt. I never understood that, it tasted really bland to me. But unsalted rice in Asian cuisine I "get" (and actually enjoy). 
     
  14. dc sunshine

    dc sunshine

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    Life without salt...just imagine.

    I agree with FF on this.  Asian cooking haas enough salty ingredients without adding more, it's basically a vehicle to carry the other flavours.  Same as cous cous and various other starches.

    If I'm using the rice to go with say, a nice hearty stew or casserole, those sort of things, I will salt the water.  Unless you're a real salt monkey and go bananas (pun intended) with the salt, it won't make a huge difference IMO to the rest of the dish.  But as always, taste taste taste as you go .  Better off starting low then you can build up the salt component bit by bit.
     
  15. michaelga

    michaelga

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    Season in layers... rice should be cooked with salt but not be salty.
     
  16. french fries

    french fries

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    There's no "should".

    Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesians etc.. eat rice a LOT, and mostly cook it without any salt. 

    I'm not an expert on Sushi rice but as far as I understand, even sushi rice is cooked without salt, then later salted with a vinegar/salt/sugar mixture. 
     
  17. michaelga

    michaelga

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    Sushi rice is cooked plain because adding anything to the rice will change it's flavour and the time/temp needed to cook it.   Hell most sushi rice is cooked in a semi-pressurized pot, to an exact minute and second time!  It is always seasoned after cooking to ensure consistency by the itamae.   Sometimes more or less of this and that.

    The notion of 'Asian' rice being plain and neutral to soak up a 'salty-sauce' or salty flavoring is also kind of silly, the rice still has to be tasty on it's own.  Ever seen an Asian take a bowl of steamed rice and mix it up or dump it into something?     Ever sprinkled salt on your congee?  Do you like rice cakes without salt?   What about green tea and rice... should that be flavourless or should we add salt to our tea?

    The end use of rice determines how it is salted - and it should always be salted (seasoned) but never be salty.

    -
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  18. butzy

    butzy

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    WOW, that's a pretty strong statement Michael!

    Maybe you think rice should always be salted, but in lots of cultures that is not the case.

    Rice can be salted if you like, it doesn't need to be.

    It can be given extra flavour by cooking it with different spices, but you don't have to.

    Jasmine rice, Pandan rice, Basmati rice have plenty flavour of their own and are definitely not tasteless without salt.
     
  19. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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     Agree completely! I've noticed the better asian places tend to have rice that is either slightly salted or fully salted to have good flavor on it's own. They tend to not make sauces that are heavy on soy or salt, or too salty... so the flavors are balanced. Typically, I won't put any soy sauce (or salt of any kind) on a good asian meal because it doesn't need it. Just like you wouldn't need to add any salt to a good meal of any other culture. (When was the last time you put a bunch of table salt on anything at a good american or french restaurant?)

    Good Asian cooks think the same way!
     
  20. french fries

    french fries

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    But it's not a notion, is it? Urm... so are you saying the way Asians eat rice is silly? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif