Lightly rinse the long grain rise and drain in a colander. This half colander and half bowl gadget in the picture is very handy. It's a Brazilian rice rinsing tool.
Add the finely minced garlic and the olive oil to a pot. Turn the heat to very low and slowly sauté until fragrant.
Add the rinsed rice and sauté over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spatula until it starts to feel a bit heavy.
Pour in the water and add a pinch of salt and the bay leaf. Bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Once it comes to a boil, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and taste a little to check the softness.
If the water has evaporated but the rice is still tough, add a little water and continue cooking.
Once the rice is cooked, stir it to let the air in and make it fluffy. Let it rest for a while before serving.
Story Behind this Recipe
This recipe was in a Brazilian cooking magazine which had a "cooking 101" article for the girls who don't know anything about cooking.
Eat this rice with Brazilian dishes like feijão, feijoada, and moqueca or any other dish such as Thai curry. The water evaporates at different speeds depending on the pot that you are using, so please adjust the amount of water or the heat while checking. There's an old Japanese saying that goes "don’t open the lid even if your baby is crying with hunger", but don't worry about that this time, opening the lid is no problem!