Some things you make without thinking. Sweet rice is one of those things.
I’m sure my grandmother started making sweet rice as a way to get picky kids like me to eat leftover white rice. Once I tasted it, of course, as with all other children of her experience, I was hooked. Usually it would appear next to a chicken-fried pork chop or a filet mignon, where other families might nestle a baked potato.
For me, it has evolved as a secret comfort food that only pokes its head out a day or two after we have Thai, Indian or Chinese takeout. (It’s better with cold rice.) It’s supposed to be a side dish, but it makes a perfect secret breakfast, of a morning, when the house is newly quiet after the 7:40 bus rush.
I didn’t know how to cook many things when I graduated from college. But one day I wanted sweet rice and found myself making it. I’d never actually watched her do it, but I immediately knew what to do.
Today, I melted a half-stick of salted butter and dumped in the better part of a takeout box of white rice (from Chabaa. Order anything from the Secret Thai Menu prominently featured on the regular menu). I tossed and warmed the rice in the butter. I’ve started adding a pinch of salt at this point; my grandmother used to make this with margarine in the 80s, and margarine is saltier than salted butter in my experience.
I sprinkled around 11/2 tablespoon of sugar over the hot buttered rice and tossed again, just until the sugar was dissolved.
This made too much sweet, warm, buttery, salty rice. (Also, I used a little too much butter, so it was richer than usual.) So I made my breakfast an un-secret and called in reinforcements. (It’s a school holiday.)