If you are cooking rice the BBC Food way, sorry, but you're doing it wrong

Uncle Roger schools the BBC on how to make rice.
Uncle Roger schools the BBC on how to make rice. Photo: YOUTUBE

These are not normal times: people are on edge more than ever before, internet outrage is at an all-time high and cancel culture and cultural appropriation are entering the zeitgeist faster than you can scroll through your social media backlog to take down anything offensive. Look, cancel culture is mean and too unforgiving, but if there's one thing that does deserve to be burned to the ground, it's the way BBC Food suggests you cook rice.

Last month the internet went wild at the British food brand's video for "easy egg fried rice", not just to troll the way host Hersha Patel murdered that rice (more on that later), but because of the way "Uncle Roger" hilariously narrated her crimes in a satirical YouTube video.

Uncle Roger is a character played by Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng, and is what Ng describes as a sterotypical "middle-aged Asian uncle". He wears his buttoned-up polo tee tucked into his shorts, he has a phone holster attached to his belt and he gets outraged at small, seemingly insignificant things, and, oh boy, does he hate the way Patel cooks this rice.

First crime: not washing the rice.

If you're cooking white rice it's important to wash as much of the starch off first. Starch will make your rice gummy and clump together, so rinse the dry rice a few times until the water runs clear. You'll have grains as fluffy as bagfuls of puppies.

Second crime: draining the rice.

When I moved in with my fiance I once watched him commit this very crime against grains, pouring a pot of sludgy rice that had been stewing in what looked like dirty bathwater through a colander and then slopping it on the plate before me. I was so offended I considered calling off the marriage. (Ok, not really, I'm not that much of a hag, but I did make him feel bad enough to bring home a rice cooker the next week.) If you are cooking rice properly there shouldn't be any water to drain off once it's cooked. As Ng says in the video, "It's not pasta...if you're rice is too wet, you f**ked up."

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I grew up with an Indonesian dad who ate rice with every meal. Lamb chops? With a side of rice. Sausages? Rice for one, thanks. Chicken soup? Rice goes in the soup bowl. Even so, I never grew up with a rice cooker at home, and always made my rice with a simple ratio: 1 part rice to 1.5 parts water. It has a 99 per cent hit rate. (The failed 1 per cent is when I get distracted by ranty YouTube videos and the rice burns on the stove; we can't all be perfect all the time). In the BBC video, Patel recommends a ratio of 1:2, which I would only use for brown rice (which needs a longer cooking time). The reason why the 1:1.5 ratio results in a better rice is because as the water boils away the resulting steam continues to cook the rice but leaves it dry and fluffy, not, as Ng says, "so wet".

Third crime: rinsing the cooked rice in cold water.

This was just weird. Why? She's just drained the rice? Maybe it was to cool down the rice, which she was using to make fried rice, but that is just a very poor shortcut for the best fried-rice rice: cold leftovers from the night before.

Unfortunately, the internet is a dark, dank place, so after Ng's video surpassed more than 8 million views and had more than 10 million views on Twitter, Patel, who is a presenter, actor and comedian herself, admitted last week on an interview with BBC World News that she had received lots of trolling on her social media pages. "I thought the video was very funny and Nigel was very funny…. But people started attacking me for not being able to cook rice properly," she said.

Patel says that particular recipe was the BBC's and not her own, and was just presenting it for the video. "I wouldn't personally cook rice in that way, but I know that there are lots of ways to cook rice and I know that that is one way that people do cook rice," she says.

Ng, who also appeared on the interview, said that he didn't expect the viral reaction from the video and he Patel are collaborating on a new rice-cooking video together soon. In a video on Patel's Instagram page of the two of them together, Ng told Patel's followers: "don't say anything mean on Instagram, alright? Otherwise Uncle Roger will come for you."

Yes, there are many different ways to cook rice. Yes, people can do whatever they want. Yes, there are bigger problems in the world. But, please, do as Uncle Roger says and leave your colander for pasta night.

In case you're wondering, this is the way Uncle Roger cooks rice:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nigel Ng (Uncle Roger) (@mrnigelng) on