The Post’s food writers recently answered questions.
Q. My old Vietnamese boyfriend taught me to cook rice, and he said to always wash it until the water runs clear. There’s a chalky coating on the rice. I have been unquestioningly washing my jasmine rice for 30 years, but now I’m asking: Is it necessary to wash the coating off? Have I been wasting time that could have been wasted elsewhere?
A. Yes, traditionally jasmine rice is washed to get rid of the extra starch so that it’s fluffy, not sticky, and also to get rid of any of the powder that might have been used to process it.
Q. I have plenty of overripe bananas, so I want to double my banana bread recipe. It has the usual ingredients: butter and sugar creamed; eggs; flour and dry ingredients; sour cream; bananas. Are there any risks to doubling the recipe? If yes, what are they?
Also, the recipe calls for adding dry ingredients and then adding sour cream and mashed bananas. Though I’ve made it that way countless times, I wonder if it would be better to add the sour cream and bananas before the dry ingredients.
A. You can double a standard banana bread recipe, as long as you bake the batter in two same-size loaf pans, or one after the other. (You didn’t specify any extract, but if it uses almond, I wouldn’t double that; it’s pretty potent stuff.) I know some folks who increase the amount of banana when they double the recipe; it’s a personal preference, I guess.
I think adding bananas at the end is good for maintaining some kind of mashed-banana texture, which I tend to like. As for the sour cream, it’s a heavy ingredient, so I think you’d also want to add that at the end and just barely incorporate it, so you don’t have to beat the batter any longer than necessary.
Q. Can you recommend a slow-cooker recipe book, preferably one with a wide variety of flavor profiles and ethnic entries?
A. Looks like Diane Phillips’s “Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever With More Than 400 Easy-to-Make Recipes” would work for you.
Q. I’ve always put my baseball-hard avocados into a paper bag to help ripen them. Would it be better to put them in a plastic bag? My impression is that the purpose is to trap the other gases that enable the ripening. With a paper bag, it’s a little porous, right?
A. You want the porous. In the plastic bag, too much moisture may develop, and the gases can concentrate so much that the avocados start to rot rather than ripen.
You know you can always put a banana or apple in there to help, right?