The white rice and beans combination is considered a staple in our native Puerto Rican cookery. We can consume rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner if we so desire. Baby food did not exists in our household. As soon as our parents were aware that we were able to consume solid food as a child, they immediately served us a plate of white rice and beans. Today, I still prepare white rice and beans at least twice a week.
The Spaniards brought the Asian rice (Oryza Sativa) to the island but they were not interested in cultivating the rice. Their main goal was to mine for gold and precious metals. However, when the Spaniards brought the slaves to Puerto Rico, the slaves brought with them the rice from West Africa (Oryza Glaberrima). The Africans settled in the Northern coast of Puerto Rico near the wetlands and marshy areas similar to their environment in West Africa. As a result, the Africans are believed to have cultivated the rice in Puerto Rico.
We definitely enjoy our rice especially the “pegao” – a thick crusty layer that is formed at the bottom of the cauldron after it has been cooked with lard.
Let’s Get Started!
The ingredients that you will need to cook the white rice are water (not pictured), salt, extra virgin olive oil and long-grain white rice.
How to Cook White Rice!
There are two common methods for cooking rice in our culture. One method is to boil water and then add the salt, lard and rice. The other method is to fry the rice in salted pork and then you add the water. Very little salt or no salt is added due to the high salt content in the salted pork.
I prefer the boiling water method and I use extra virgin olive oil – a much healthier version!
Bring 3½ cups of water to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan or “caldero.”
Our Traditional Cooking Vessel!
Traditionally, we use a cast-aluminum cauldron as our cooking vessel for rice, beans, soups and stews. The term that we refer to our cooking vessel in Spanish is “caldero.” I have been cooking for 20 years with a stainless steel cauldron and I love it!
Add the salt and extra virgin olive oil. Stir and bring to a boil.
Add 3 cups of long-grain rice. Stir rice well into liquid.
The Various Grain Sizes!
The long grain rice is the most common rice consumed in the world. Much of the medium grain rice produced in the United States is exported to Puerto Rico. For this reason, we prefer to cook with the medium grain rice. The short and medium grain rice are very moist and soft and tend to stick together when cooked. They are mainly used to prepare sushi, risotto and rice pudding. The medium grain is commonly used for paella. The long grain rice is dry and firm which tends to separate when cooked, creating a fluffy consistency. I love my rice to be fluffy; therefore, I prefer the long-grain rice!
Once it starts to boil again, quickly stir the rice and immediately reduce heat to a simmer. Cover saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, approximately 15 minutes.
Once the rice has absorbed all the liquid, remove lid from saucepan. Gently turn the rice by inserting a spoon to the bottom inside edge of the saucepan.
Bring the bottom rice to the top. Continue this process until all the bottom rice is brought to the top. Cover with lid and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
After 20 minutes, the rice should be done. I normally taste the rice to make sure that it is tender.
If the rice is not tender, I sprinkle some water on top of the rice and cover with lid. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve the rice with Stewed Red Kidney Beans.
Click on the button below to watch my YouTube Video on How to Make White Rice!
Recipe and Nutritional Facts
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.Print
What I enjoy the most about cooked white rice in our culture is that it can be served with a variety of stewed beans, stewed meats and stewed fish.
- 3½ cups water
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups long-grain white rice
- 1½ teaspoons salt (low sodium) or to taste
- Bring 3½ cups of water to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan.
- Add salt and olive oil. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Add the rice and stir rice well into liquid.
- When the liquid starts to boil again, quickly stir rice and immediately reduce heat to a simmer.
- Cover saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Remove lid and gently turn the rice by inserting a spoon to the bottom inside edge of the saucepan – bringing the bottom rice to the top. Continue this process until the bottom rice is brought to the top.
- Cover saucepan with lid and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
- Serve white rice with your favorite stewed beans.
If the rice is not tender, sprinkle water on top of rice and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Category: Dinner
Keywords: White Rice