or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Rice and salt

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

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.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Reply
post #2 of 28

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

post #3 of 28

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

post #4 of 28

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. 

post #5 of 28

 "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.

 

post #6 of 28

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

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #7 of 28

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

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Reply
post #8 of 28
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.
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Reply
Gebe Gott uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichten und so schönen Tod! Joseph Roth.
Reply
post #9 of 28

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. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #10 of 28
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

You can't lay on the beach and drink rum all day unless you start in the morning

Reply

You can't lay on the beach and drink rum all day unless you start in the morning

Reply
post #11 of 28

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.

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #12 of 28

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. 

post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post

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. 

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). 

post #14 of 28

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.

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
Reply
post #15 of 28

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

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

rice should be cooked with salt

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. 

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by French Fries View Post

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. 

 

 

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.

 

-


Edited by MichaelGA - 3/29/13 at 10:34am

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #18 of 28

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.

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

 

 

 

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.

 

 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!

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

The notion of 'Asian' rice being plain and neutral to soak up a 'salty-sauce' or salty flavoring is also kind of silly

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

post #21 of 28

First off I am Asian... my mom cooked rice with salt and so did my dad.   I have a rice cooker that is always on and always full and it always has some salt in it.

 

I know there are millions of American cooks who don't season their food - they simply put the salt shaker on the table and leave it up to the guest.   It isn't the same - food must be salted in layers.  

 

I don't go around claiming that Americans don't properly season their food though.  

 

Just as many Asians (likely more) are also bad cooks putting copious amounts of furikake on their rice to make up for the 'lack of flavour'.

 

This is ChefTalk... not mediocre cook talk, do as you like or don't like but the fact of the matter is if you want really good tasting rice then you need to salt it when cooking.

 

I'm not alone either, millions of Asians salt their rice when cooking it.   

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #22 of 28

I learned rice cooking from a couple of Persians and salt along with butter always went into the mixture.  While Asian rice may not include fat, it's all good with salt.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

First off I am Asian... my mom cooked rice with salt and so did my dad.   I have a rice cooker that is always on and always full and it always has some salt in it.

 

I know there are millions of American cooks who don't season their food - they simply put the salt shaker on the table and leave it up to the guest.   It isn't the same - food must be salted in layers.  

 

I don't go around claiming that Americans don't properly season their food though.  

 

Just as many Asians (likely more) are also bad cooks putting copious amounts of furikake on their rice to make up for the 'lack of flavour'.

 

This is ChefTalk... not mediocre cook talk, do as you like or don't like but the fact of the matter is if you want really good tasting rice then you need to salt it when cooking.

 

I'm not alone either, millions of Asians salt their rice when cooking it.   

Michael, I am trying to nail down what it is you're saying. So what you're saying is that good Asian chefs always salt their rice during cooking except when making sushi rice, when the rice is seasoned after cooking? If you went to any Asian restaurant of any Asian country, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, etc... and were served a bowl of unseasoned rice you would consider that chef to not be a good chef? 

 

Out of curiosity, and only if you don't mind of course - did you grow up in Asia or in the U.S.? And from which country in Asia? I have personally never been to Asia, so all I know is from Vietnamese restaurants in France, and Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese restaurants in the U.S. - and one Indonesian friend - and books. 

post #24 of 28

Just flipped through my books and looked up David Thompson's instructions on rice - he says "Use as much water as you're using rice. Do not add salt, the other dishes being already seasoned."

 

If you're not familiar with David Thompson, he is a Michelin star chef and well known Thai cooking book author. He has done extensive research into Thai cooking and was taught by Khun Sombat Janphetchara, whose mother was working in one of the palaces in Bangkok where she learned a tradition of great culinary refinement. 

post #25 of 28

The only David Thompson that I know is the great explorer.  He didn't do asia however.  

 

Quoting from a 'recipe' book is not really going to impress, we'll anyone.

 

We could quote back and forth for a dozen years and we'd be none the wiser.

 

Quotes from impressively pedigreed people with decades of performance still won't educate me and won't help you.

 

Logical and well thought out methods and practices will always get my attention and they should get yours.

 

As both will educate.

 

------------

 

Do you boil your pasta in un-salted water?  after-all it will get a well seasoned sauce? (asian noodles are different)

Do you not season steaks while cooking because they will end up in an au-poivre sauce which is highly seasoned?

Do you boil your potatoes in plain water because you will mash them with seasonings later?

Do you roast veggies with nothing else because they will become part of a seasoned soup?

Do you not season at all because you leave a salt mill on the table?

 

------

 

Cooks, asian or not should recognize how to flavour food.  They should also understand that traditions are not the best thing to depend on.

Japanese used to always serve Sake warm... Kimchee was always an accompaniement not an ingredient.

 

Think about what you are cooking - even humble rice - and how you can make it the most tasty of all.

 

We aren't all chef's, but we all can choose to cook things like one.

 

A Chef will season things ... 

 

... and bring the best to the Plate!

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply

----

 


"Plus, this method makes you look like a complete lunatic. If you care about that sort of thing".  - Dave Arnold

 

Reply
post #26 of 28

I think this is going to be a discussion with no end.

Michael, you seem convinced rice should be cooked with salt and that is it. No discussion possible

On the other hand, I am not convinced.

A good quality rice in my opinion does not need salt.

In Thailand rice is not salted, neither is it in Vietnam, nor in Indonesia. Maybe they are all wrong?

However, most of my Indian friends are putting salt when cooking rice.

Before you dismiss this: I have travelled in Vietnam and Thailand, half my family is from Indonesia, so this doesn't come from books.

 

You can have a similar discussion about whether you should wash rice before cooking or not. You will also get lots of different fixed opinions.

 

In most of Asia rice is revered and treated as such. It has to be pure. And that means without additives, no salt, no oil, no anything.

Traditionally in Europe (and probably also the USA)  it is just something else to eat besides potatoes and for a long time wasn't taken serious. In general, it is cooked with salt.

I am in Africa now, and here rice is not a staple and the local population will eat it, but only reluctantly. They will salt it heavily.

 

I suppose we just have to agree to disagree

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

Reply
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

The only David Thompson that I know is the great explorer.  He didn't do asia however.  

 

 

I don't really want to get in on this discussion, but - may rice be salted or not - if you do not know Thompson, go out now and buy his "Thai Food". If I had to throw out 95% of my cookbooks, Thompson would be among the ones I keep. Seriously good stuff. He was the first guy to receive a Michelin star for a Thai themed restaurant. His book is eclectic, badly organized, but passionate about the food and the cuisine and the country to no end.

post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeneMachine View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelGA View Post

The only David Thompson that I know is the great explorer.  He didn't do asia however.  

 

 

I don't really want to get in on this discussion, but - may rice be salted or not - if you do not know Thompson, go out now and buy his "Thai Food". If I had to throw out 95% of my cookbooks, Thompson would be among the ones I keep. Seriously good stuff. He was the first guy to receive a Michelin star for a Thai themed restaurant. His book is eclectic, badly organized, but passionate about the food and the cuisine and the country to no end.


I can't agree more on David Thompson's "Thai Food" cookbook. It's excellent, and the quintessential Thai reference. I also own Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, and it is also a great book if you like Thai food, and highly recommend it. They also specifically cite "no salt" when cooking rice.

 

I think salt in rice depends entirely on how rice is being used, as has been stated several times here, and I don't think there is a hard and fast rule about using salt. Rice in Thai food, as with other Asian foods, is an integral component in the balance of flavors. Since the accompanied food is highly salted with either fish or soy sauce, salting the rice would upset the balance.

 

I personally use salt in rice with most dishes, but use it sparingly so it just highlights the natural flavor of the particular rice. Much less salt for Jasmine or Basmati (so that you can hardly tell it's there at all - a small pinch for a cup of rice), more for short grain European dishes. I don't salt risotto, but I add salt when sweating onions, and adjust seasoning as I go through the cooking process. In the end you cook what you like, what you are used to, and what you believe to be tasty and flavorful.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking