Rice is one of the easiest and most nutritious things to cook, yet I know a number of people who say they can’t make it work. I think there are two keys to perfect rice. The first is to buy quality rice – no Uncle Ben’s please. The second is to use less liquid than most recipes call for. When I make rice, I heat a tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan for a minute before adding a cup of Thai jasmine or basmati rice. Stir the rice to coat it with oil and keep it over medium heat for a couple of minutes to “toast” the grains, which brings out their nutty flavour. Then add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 cups water or stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the pot is boiling, give the contents a quick stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Keep the lid on for 17 minutes – no peeking! After 17 minutes, remove the pot from the heat, but keep the lid on for another 10 minutes before fluffing the rice with a fork and serving.

You can also add onion and spices to flavour the rice. Here is a very tasty recipe from Canadian Living that is always a big hit.

Always use good quality rice

Saute red onion in butter or oil

Add rice, bay leaf and other spices

Add stock and bring to boil before covering

Cook rice for 17 minutes and let stand for 10, covered, before serving

Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and serve

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use a good quality of rice, butter that does not contain colour and all-natural stock.


2 tbsp (15 mL) butter or oil

1 small red onion, cut in thin wedges

1 cup basmati or parboiled rice

1 bay leaf

1 tsp (2 mL) chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried)

1/2 tsp (1 mL) salt

Pinch pepper

1 1/2 cups (250 mL) chicken stock

1/4 cup (50 mL) toasted halved cashews

Fresh thyme sprigs (optional)


In heavy saucepan, heat butter or oil over medium heat; cook onion for 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in rice, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in stock; bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low; simmer for 17 minutes. Remove from heat and keep lid on for 10 minutes. Before serving, discard bay leaf and fluff rice with a fork. Sprinkle with cashews; garnish with thyme sprigs (if using). Serves 4.

From Canadian Living