Rice is one of the best staple foods we can eat. It is easy to digest, easy to cook, and gentle on your body’s systems. Compared to most other grains, it is the least allergenic. Rice is consumed all around the world and has been for thousands of years.
Many cooks find rice hard to cook. We in The Bachelor’s Kitchen eat a lot of rice and have tried many methods to cook it. Most of these cooking tips apply to white rice because long-grain white rice is what most of us will encounter in our stores, pantries and kitchens. This variety stores for a long time and is good to have around the house.
Cooking rice is simple. But we must admit it may take a little practice to get it just right. That’s because different stoves and cooking methods can vary widely. You can avoid a lot of the hassle by purchasing a rice cooker. These are widely available and inexpensive. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, but all operate in the same way. If you eat a lot of rice, no matter what kind of rice, this is a good investment.
But for thousands of years, people have cooked rice over a fire or stove and have had a lot of success. There’s a series of steps to follow.
- The amount of water or other liquid used to cook the rice is important and can vary with the type of rice and the cooking method. Also, different cooks will give different ratios. The tricky thing is that the ratio changes as the quantity grows. For one cup of rice, you need from just over one cup of water to two cups. The difference will give you different degrees of tenderness depending on how you expect to use it. In general, the best ratio we’ve found is one to one-and-a-half, which is one cup of rice with a one-and-one-half cup of water. For two cups of rice, use three cups of water. Other cooks will give you different ratios. And if you use brown rice or any other of the hundreds of varieties available, these rules won’t apply.
- The first step is to rinse the rice. We like to use a wire mesh strainer, but you can even do it in the pot. This removed the outer starch from the grains which might cause the rice to stick or scorch. For high starch rice, such as those used for risotto or sushi, thorough rinsing is very important and will require several minutes under running water.
- Add the rice and the cooking liquid into a cold pot that has a well-fitting lid. The cooking liquid is usually water, but you can also mix in some broth or stock for added flavor. Also, add in pinch or two of salt. Some cultures don’t add salt, but most of us prefer just a touch of it.
- Put the pot without the lid over high heat and bring to a light boil. Stir the rice just once to ensure nothing is sticking to the bottom. Stirring any more than that will give you mushy rice.
- When the water begins to bubble, put the lid on and lower the heat to a bare simmer, this will probably be the lowest heat setting, but could be medium low depending on the stove.
- Let the rice cook for 20 minutes. Do not remove the lid or stir the rice.
- At the end of the cooking time, remove from the heat and fluff the rice with a fork. This is the moment of truth. If there is scorching on the bottom, the heat was too high. If there’s still liquid in the bottom, the heat was too low. If there’s still water in the pot, put it over high heat until it begins to steam, clamp on the lid and remove from the heat. Allow the pot to sit for at least five minutes.
- After fluffing, you can put the lid back on and allow it to sit for up to 20 minutes. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheating can be done in a steamer, a microwave (with the lid on) or sautéed with a little oil.
Make rice a regular part of your meals. It’s good for you and inexpensive.