Who doesn’t love comforting and satisfying rice dishes? Served as a main course or a side dish, rice perfectly complements the flavors of the other ingredients in your meal and allows you to play with different spices, chutneys, veggies, and sauces. Unfortunately, most of us have had the unpleasant experience of burnt rice or rice that looked “ready,” but, in the end, was only “half-cooked” and, therefore, could barely be eaten. The good news is that cooking a tasty pot of rice is not down to plain luck, but can actually be learned.
Did you know that are more than 100,000 varieties of rice around the world? Quite impressive, isn’t it? Also, rice is a very nutritious food, especially when opting for brown rice. Brown rice is full of slow-releasing carbs, minerals, b-vitamins, and fiber. No matter what kind of rice you prefer – our tips will help you cook the perfect pot of rice. Ready to get started? Here we go!
First Step – Get Your Rice Clean!
Before even thinking of starting the cooking process, we first have to rinse our rice in running water to free it from any impurities. Just put it in a colander and let some lukewarm water run over it for about a minute. Make sure you drain it thoroughly before throwing it into the boiling water later on, as this will help you get fluffy rice that doesn’t stick together and has the perfect consistency.
Get the Cooking Started
Now it’s time to get down to business and actually start cooking your rice. Get a large pot or pan, fill it up with salted water and bring it to a boil. Then add the drained rice to the colander and put it on top of the pan or pot with the boiling salted water in it. After that, decrease the temperature and let the rice simmer on medium heat. Remember to cover the colander with a lid for best results and let the rice steam for eight to ten minutes that way. Try squeezing some grains between your fingers to make sure it has reached the level of softness you like and remove from heat.
You don’t want to steam the rice in a colander or don’t have one at hand? No problem. Just wash the rice in a big bowl and carefully drain it using your hands, making sure that those rice grains don’t “escape” through your fingers. Then bring some salted water to a boil in a pan or pot, add the rice directly to the pot, reduce to temperature and let it simmer for about 12 minutes. Remove the rice from heat and let it sit for about five minutes to half an hour – depending on the level of fluffiness you desire.
Other Tips for Fluffy Rice
Sometimes it can be useful to actually soak your rice before cooking it, especially if the rice has been sitting in your pantry for quite a while. That way, the grains will stay whole during the boiling process. In this case, all you have to do is soak the rice for about half an hour in cold water. Don’t forget to drain the rise afterwards as described above, since you do not want to end up with sticky rice!
Different Kinds, Different “Styles”
Keep in mind that different varieties of rice require different amounts of water – brown rice, for example, needs more water than white rice. If you are cooking white rice, try using 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups of water per cup, while adding 1-1/2 of water per cup for brown rice to this ratio. Also, the level of fluffiness or “softness” depends on what recipe you’re going to use the rice in. Are you planning to use the rice in a stir-fry like this hearty Kao Pad Thai Fried Rice? Then you should let your rice cook to softer level. Recipes like this Wild Rice Salad With Orange, Sweet Potato, Cherries and Pecans require firmer grains, therefore, you should reduce the cooking times by a minute or two in this case.
Using the Right Equipment
The right equipment is another thing to consider – you really don’t need to buy fancy top-notch rice makers or other “gear.” Yet, you should make sure that you are using a heavy-bottom pan or pot with enough moving space for the rice. Also, the lid you are using on your pan or pot should be very tight-fitting. If that is not the case, you can use a clean kitchen cloth to seal the space between pot and the lid.
With these tips in mind, your days of burnt, chewy rice will be behind you! For more ideas on what to do with your new-found perfect rice, try Vibrant Dragonfruit Coconut Rice, Quick and Easy Fried Rice, and this Thai Coconut Rice.
Lead image source: Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl