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No-Peek Carolina Gold Rice Middlins

Plain Jane? We call her elemental.

About 3 cups


15 minutes to cook and 10 minutes to rest


This recipe bows to the innocence of Asian rice—humble, unadorned, dropped at the table amid a galaxy of dishes far more intricate and worldly than she, yet ready to enhance every single one. We chose rice grits to demonstrate the preparation because, frankly, their diminutive length does the pearly, jump-in-your-mouth move better than any whole-kernel rice (sorry, full-size Carolina Gold). They spoon sticky, but go separate grain in your mouth. Such fun to eat! Such winning flavor in those little broken bits!

Cooking Remarks

Easy to cook, this rice is equally easy to screw up. Pay attention to the size of vessel we recommend: a successful outcome relies not only on the proportions of rice and water, but also on the capacity of the pot. A tight, heavy lid and low, steady heat are also crucial. We prefer traditional earthenware or enameled cast-iron stove top rice cookers to those that have a plug. The full-steam-ahead exuberance of an electric rice cooker diminishes the flavor and mouthfeel of our delicate heirloom rice. Forget trying this with a regular saucepan—lid notwithstanding. Containing the heat in a tight space is crucial to a favorable outcome. The rice will boil and the water will evaporate. But with a good pot and the magical balance between heat and evaporation, you could even end up with the elusive and desirable crispy-sweet bottom.

equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a fine-mesh strainer and a 2- or 3-cup donabe rice cooker, a 1½-quart Staub petite French oven, or, if you must, a small electric rice cooker.

    • 7
    • Scant ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
    • cups spring or filtered water if using a donabe or Staub French oven or 1¼ cups if using an electric rice cooker

    Pour the rice grits into a fine-mesh strainer and rinse well under running cool water. Vigorously shake off the excess water by bouncing the rice grits up and down in the strainer (fig. 1.1). 


    If using a 2- or 3-cup donabe rice cooker or 1½-quart Staub petite French oven, add the rice grits, salt, and water to the pot. Heat over high heat, stirring once or twice, until the water is at the brink of a simmer—as evidenced by a band of little bubbles forming around the edges of the pot (fig. 2.1). Cover tightly, reduce the heat to low, and cook without stirring or lifting the lid for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the rice to rest for 10 minutes. The rice will have absorbed all of the liquid and show a shiny film of starch on the surface (fig. 2.2). If using a small electric rice cooker, add the rice grits, salt, and water (only 1¼ cups) to the insert and level the rice. Cover and switch on the cooker (no need to stir during cooking). When the cycle is done, allow the rice to rest for 10 minutes. Serve.

    1. 1.1
    1. 2.1
    2. 2.2