How to Cook Rice

2013 Jun 06 |  Written by:  | Tags:

164784171There are numerous varieties of rice and so many different ways to cook them, but every cook should know at least the basics. Always check the instructions printed on the package of rice you have, as some grains may need more water than others or similar specifics.

For those who cook rice frequently, it would be better to invest in a rice cooker as it’s simply more efficient. Otherwise, a saucepan with a tight-fitting lid will do for occasional rice-cooking. The tight lid is to keep steam from escaping. Rice expands when cooked, so make sure to use a saucepan that is large enough – a 1-litre pot or pan is good for one cup of rice.

Most kinds of rice don’t need to be soaked, except for Basmati or unless directed on the package. Rice grains do need to be washed to remove excess starch, leftover chaff or other particles.

The ratio of rice to water is generally 1:1.5, meaning 1 cup of rice for every one and a half cups of water. Adding more water results in softer, stickier rice and less water yields firmer rice. Because rice expands, a cup of uncooked rice becomes approximately 3 cups of cooked rice. A good rule of thumb is to measure half a cup of rice grains for each person, give or take.

Cooking time varies according to quantity. 20 minutes on low heat after boiling is enough for 1-2 cups of rice; for every 1 cup more, add 3-5 minutes to the cooking time. The procedure given below is for major white rice varieties normally used in recipes or for meal accompaniments. For brown rice, use 1:2 ratio of rice and water, as in 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water, and double the cooking time (40 minutes for 1-2 cups).

  1. Put the rice grains into a strainer, wash in cold water and drain well.
  2. Pour the rice grains and water into the saucepan, keeping to the ratio mentioned above (1:1.5). Make sure the lid is on tight.
  3. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Steam should be coming out, but don’t uncover.
  4. Reduce the heat to very low. Too hot and the rice grains at the bottom of the pan get scorched, leaving the rest undercooked.
  5. Cook for 20 minutes. Uncover once or twice to check if the rice is cooked – it should be tender and not crunchy, slightly sticky but not gummy.
  6. Remove from heat. Let the rice sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes more.
  7. Uncover and fluff the rice with a large fork to separate the grains. Put the lid back on if not serving immediately to keep the rice warm.


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