Top tips for cooking pulses, rice and pasta

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 Rice is the seed of a semiaquatic grass, rice is the primary food staple for more than two thirds of the world’s population.

In China the word ‘rice’ is actually a synonym for ‘Food’

Basics

Rice is divided into three main categories, long grain, medium grain and short grain.

To store white rice keep in an air-tight container and use within 1 year.

To store brown rice keep in an air-tight container and use within 6 months.

To cook the perfect white rice use 1 ½ – 2 cups water for long grain rice.

 Method

Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, add the rice, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately fluff with a fork to release steam. Serve it immediately or let the rice rest, covered up for 30 minutes.

 Chef’s tips

To salvage bland or poor quality rice, toast it over medium heat in a skillet until the rice begins to turn opaque, 5 minutes toasting intensifies the grains flavour.

Pasta is Italian meaning ‘dough’ or paste. 95 percent of commercial pasta is made from durum wheat semolina, the milled flour of the hardest grained least starchy wheat.

 Basics

To choose dried pasta look for pastas made from durum wheat, many of the best brands are imported from Italy

To prevent pasta from sticking perhaps the most common mistake in making pasta is not using enough water.

To unstick pasta submerge it in hot water and separate

 Chef’s tips

Ravioli got its name in Genoa Italy from the word rabioli.

Ravioli was so named because it is considered an excellent vehicle for filling with leftovers.

Lentils one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world, high-protein lentils are small. Unlike other pulses lentils do not need to be soaked but they should be rinsed before boiling. Cooking times vary unhusked lentils need about an hour, husked whole ones around 35 minutes and puy and split lentils about 30 minutes. They will more than double in volume when cooked.