Rice is one of those practical staples that has about a million-and-one uses. On its own, the flavor is mild (if not somewhat bland), but a small addition to your cooking process just might change that.
Let's take our basic process for cooking rice and put it on the back burner for now. Don't totally toss it out the window, but in the name of a more flavorful pot of rice, I have a better suggestion — one that's quickly become my go-to method of cooking any and all varieties of rice.
Toast and Season
The secret to a better pot of rice lies in seasoning and flavoring the grains before they even hit that pot of boiling water.
While the water heats to a boil, use this time to toast the rice with a little bit of fat, like cooking oil or butter. But don't grab just any cooking oil — this is your chance for something more flavorful. Save the canola and grapeseed oil for another time. Instead, use oils like sesame oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or even butter. A small amount will do — just enough to lightly coat the grains of rice.
Once the grains are coated and start to toast (you should smell a deep nutty aroma), take it a step further by tossing some aromatics — like chopped shallots, garlic, ginger, or spices — into the pan. You don't need a lot; even just a small amount of these fragrant ingredients will impart a light aroma on the rice. Toast for just a few minutes, until the rice starts to look slightly toasted on the tips and smells fragrant and nutty. Then continue cooking as you normally would, but be sure to watch the cook time, which may need to come down by a few minutes.
(Image credits: Faith Durand)