Most people know how to cook rice and different countries or regions have slightly different ways of preparing it, I cook it Ecuadorian style because that is how I learned to do it and I think it tastes great this way. Nicolas sometimes cooks rice the way he learned in Japan: boil the rice in a lot of water (very similar to how pastas are cooked) until it is done, drain it and that’s it. The Ecuadorian way of cooking rice is a little bit different and more precise; the rice should be perfectly cooked, not too hard, not too soft, firm and grainy. Depending on where you live and the rice you buy you might need to sort through the rice to remove any bad ones or small rocks, and in that case you probably also want to wash and rinse it well, also if you live in altitude you’ll probably need to add more water and let it cook for a little bit longer, I currently live almost at sea level so I use the minimum amount of water, but when I lived in Loja (2100 m or almost 6900 ft) I would use about double the amount of water to rice.
A lot of Ecuadorian main dishes use arroz amarillo or yellow rice as a side dish, this is cooked the same way as below, just add ground achiote or annatto seed when cooking the onions. You can add paprika or saffron if you don’t have achiote available.
2 cups of uncooked white rice, I like to use long grain rice (sorted and rinsed if needed)
2 tbs oil (olive oil, sunflower, canola) or butter
2 tbs minced or finely chopped white onions
2 ¼ cups water
Salt to taste (add the salt when you add the water and the water should taste like a lightly salted broth, for a lightly salted rice I add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt)
Optional – 1 garlic clove, minced
For arroz amarillo: ½ teaspoon of ground achiote or annatto
- Heat the oil or butter on medium temperature in medium sized saucepan.
- Add the minced onions and garlic (and achiote if making arroz amarillo or yellow rice), cook until the onions are translucent or soft, about 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and stir it in so that it is well coated by the oil, add the water and bring it to a boil.
- Let the water reduce until it barely covers the rice, cover with a lid, reduce the temperature to low, and cook for about 20-25 min.