Rice is the staple food in much of Asia, but cooks in different countries may prefer different types of rice and use slightly different cooking techniques. For example, this is a recipe for Japanese short-grain rice (gohan). However, long-grain rice is more popular for most dishes in China, Vietnamese diners prefer extra-long grain, and Thai cooks almost always choose jasmine rice.


2 c. short-grain white rice, uncooked
2 1/2 c. cold water

1. Wash rice in a pan with cold water and drain in a sieve. Repeat until water runs clear.

2. In a covered heavy pot or saucepan, bring rice and 2 1/2 c. water quickly to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until all water is absorbed (about 30 minutes).

3. Turn off heat and let rice steam for another 10 minutes.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves 6 to 8

*In China, congee, or jook, is a rice porridge that is commonly eaten for breakfast. Basic congee is very simple to make. In a deep saucepan, combine 1 c. short-grain rice and 8 c. cold water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for about 1 hour, stirring every now and then to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Just about anything can be added to congee, from veggies to dried fruit and nuts. To quickly spice up this basic recipe, try topping it with chopped scallions and fresh, thinly sliced ginger.