The first day before college began, a few girls chose to stay in PRV hostel, one of the many hostels meant for engineering students in Chengannur. Most of these girls befriended each other and when college authorities said that they might have to close down the college Ladies Hostel or L.H due to low occupancy, all these friends decided to move into the hostel dormitory and an adjacent room. The dormitory, not preferred by most people, was a blessing for us, because this gave us sufficient space to sit together and chat. Our frienship grew strong over the years, and continues to do so, thanks to the internet and easy means of communication. Not a single days goes by, when one of us does not drop the entire group a line, mostly resulting in chain mailing, that could go on for hours, like the good old college days. During the initial years, we talked about our jobs, new experiences away from home, a sale we went to, a delicious sandwich we ate, a new shade of lipstick one of us tried on. Gradually, the topics changed to things like married life, in laws (this is a very interesting one), house work, new recipes tried, baby diaper changing etc etc.
After one of my good friends, S, got married recently, the topics of dicussion once again focused on honeymoon :) and cooking. A few days back, she wanted to know how many cups of water was required to cook rice. This transported me back a couple of years when I had asked my mom the same question. After all, kuthari chor or brown rice is loved by all malayalees, and it is essential to cook it perfectly. And I use my mom's cooking gas saving technique, with the result I have non sticky, perfectly cooked rice every time.
Wash two cups of rice grains thoroughly in the vessel in which you intend to cook it. This is something my two year old and I enjoy doing together, with him seated on the kitchen countertop. Pour water into the vessel till it is three quarters full. Boil for a few minutes with the lid on. Then turn off the fire and clip the lid to the vessel with a few strong metal clips. You could use metal paper clips for this. This keeps the steam within the vessel, and the rice cooks in this heat, saving on your cooking gas bills. After 2 to 3 hours, the rice should be cooked. Add more water if required, boil once more for a few minutes, and drain off excess water to reduce starch content. This should be sufficient to serve four people.
I prefer to not use a pressure cooker to cook rice, unless I am really short of time, because it is difficult to monitor the extent to which rice is cooked this way. If using a pressure cooker, add 3 cups of water for every cup of rice grains. About 4 whistles should be enough, but this would vary depending on the rice you are using. Drain off excess water.