I love the way cast iron cooks rice! Rice, of course, is a basic staple for anyone eating on a budget: it's nutritious, it's tasty, and it's CHEAP.

When you make your rice, be sure to use a pot with a heavy lid, such as a cast iron dutch oven or other pot. (In Japan, a cast iron rice cooking pot is called a nabe.) As it cooks, the rice will produce a lot of foam within the first few minutes, and if your lid isn't secure this will likely spill out of your pot and onto the stovetop burner. A heavy lid will prevent this and, even more importantly, it thoroughly pressure-cooks the rice so that your result will be minimum sticking and large individual saturated grains of rice.

The basic procedure for cooking rice:

  • 2 to 2.5 cups water for every cup of dry rice. You might want to add a dab of oil to the water, to help prevent the rice from being too sticky.
  • Boil water.
  • Stir in rice.
  • Cover with lid; turn heat to low.

Cook 15-20 minutes for white rice or jasmine rice (depending on your stove or burner), 45 minutes for brown rice. Do not lift lid while rice is cooking. When done, fluff with fork.

When using brown rice, add the rice to cold water first and heat it all to boiling, then turn the heat to low and finish. White rice should be added to the water after it is already boiling.

For more flavorful rice, you can use broth instead of water. Or, cheaper than broth, crumble a bouillon cube into the water; usually one cube per one to two cups of water. Put the bouillon in the water before you heat it, so it dissolves as the water heats.