Growing up with a potato farmer father, I was destined to be well-versed in potato prep. Mashed or scalloped, baked or hash browned — I can do it all! And yet, I've always been tragically incapable of preparing a simple pot of rice.
Determined to get it right, I cooked my way through scorched pots and crunchy grains before finally finding a fail-proof method that delivers tender rice every time. Not one to stop at a plain pot of rice, I like to season the staple with garlicky butter and golden butter-fried garlic chips. And yes, I'll say it: I'll take a bowl of buttery garlic rice over mashed potatoes any day.
From one reformed rice cook to the next, if you can melt butter and boil water, I promise you can make this (seriously delicious) rice.
For Extra-Garlicky Rice, Make Garlic-Infused Butter and Crunchy Garlic Chips
Melt a generous knob of butter (hey, butter is the star here, so no skimping!) in a saucepan and add thinly sliced garlic. As it bubbles and foams, the garlic infuses the butter with its flavor. You'll smell the gentle aroma of toasted garlic and the nutty scent of butter beginning to brown.
Once the garlic slices are a pale golden color, remove them from the butter and transfer to paper towels to cool. Do this as soon as they turn lightly golden — if you wait until they are browned, they'll taste burnt. Shower with a light sprinkling of salt and admire your work. You just made garlic chips — and infused the butter with garlic flavor, too!
The Pilaf Method Is Best for the Most Flavorful Rice
While I usually simmer and steam white rice, the best way to infuse the grains with garlicky flavor is to first sauté them in the garlic-infused butter. This toasts and coats the rice in fat, which prevents the grains from clumping as they cook.
Here comes the exciting part: You know how you've always been told not to mix hot fat and water? Well, I give you permission to ignore that advice, as long as you do so carefully. After you've toasted the rice, you'll carefully and slowly add the boiling water. The contents of the pot will sizzle, hiss, and bubble up, but once all the water is in, you'll cover the pot and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
The final step is to steam the rice. Once off the heat, place a clean tea towel under the lid to absorb any excess liquid. Fluff with your fork and serve topped with the salty, butter-fried garlic chips.
Rice 101: How To Cook Rice on the Stove
Feed Your Garlic Butter Needs
Easy Buttery Garlic Rice
Makes 3 cups; serves 4
long-grain white rice
1 1/4 cups
large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
kosher salt, plus more for the garlic chips
Pour the rice into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under running water until the water runs clear. (This removes dusty starch that can lead to gummy grains.) Set aside in the strainer to drain well.
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan or an electric kettle.
Melt the butter in a separate small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic slices and cook, swirling the pan often to redistribute the heat, until they turn a pale golden-brown and smell fragrant, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a paper towel-lined plate. Season the chips with a pinch of salt.
Add the rice and salt to the butter in the pot, stirring until any excess water evaporates and the rice smells garlicky and toasted, about 2 minutes. Slowly and carefully pour in the boiling water (it will bubble up). Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water is completely absorbed, about 18 minutes.
Remove from the heat, place a clean kitchen towel over the top of the pot, and place the lid on top of the towel. Set aside to steam for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, top with toasted garlic chips, and serve.
Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.