Supermarket food: Stefan Gates compares fruit and veg cost

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Rice is one of the most widely eaten grains around the world, with China taking the lead for the most rice-eating. In 2019 to 2020, China consumed a staggering 143million tonnes of rice, followed closely by India which enjoyed 100million tonnes. Rice, although a relatively humble food, requires very specific conditions in order to really flourish. It has to be grown in a field flooded with several inches of water, known as a paddy field.

Unsurprisingly, China and India are also the top producers of rice in the entire world.

In addition to its delicious and versatile flavour, rice comes in dozens of varieties for the consumer to choose from.

The most popular varieties of rice are indica, japonica and aromatic, of which japonica is the most highly priced.

Japonica rice is predominantly eaten across east Asia in Japan, China and Korea, and is the ‘sticky’ type of rice found in sushi dishes.

How to cook perfect rice

For this foolproof recipe to cook rice perfectly every time, you will need:

  • 2 cups of water
  • Half-a-teaspoon of salt
  • One tablespoon butter or oil (optional)
  • One cup long grain white rice

Start by bringing the water to boil in a medium saucepan.

The next step is to add the salt and butter (or oil) and allow the butter to melt.

Once the water has returned to a boil, stir in the rice you want to cook.

Let the water go back to a light simmer, before stirring the rice again.

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Next, cover the pot with a lid or cover and turn the heat right down to a low setting.

Keep the rice simmering slightly, and keep the pot covered – but you may have to peek at it after a few minutes to make sure the heat is at the correct temperature.

After this, just keep the rice cooking, still with the pot fully covered.

Start checking to see if the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed after about 17 minutes.

The whole cooking process could take up to 25 minutes overall if you’re making a large quantity of rice.

When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and let it sit for another few minutes or so to finish absorbing any liquid.

Take off the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, and let it sit for another two minutes or so, so that some of the excess moisture in the rice gets a chance to dry off.

After this step, the rice is ready to be eaten – enjoy!

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