How to Cook Rice
These days, most rice comes free of dirt, gravel, and chaff so there's rarely a
need to patiently pick through it. Washing rice is another matter. In some countryes,
talc is still sometimes used as a milling aid and should be rinsed off in a few
changes of cold water. Though rice with talc should be labeled as such, rinse It
if there's the slightest doubt. Some people also find that rinsing washes off loose
starch, making the rice less sticky.
Apart from habit, the reasons for soaking rice are to shorten the cooking time and
to allow for maximum expansion of long-grain rice. A soak also makes the grains
a little less brittle so they're less likely to break during cooking. If you do
soak your rice, be sure to drain it thoroughly or you'll be using more water in
cooking than you intended.
The rice is cooked in a measured amount of water so that by the time the rice is
cooked, all the water has been absorbed. As the water level drops, trapped steam
finishes the cooking. For every cup of rice, use 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water (less
if the rice is washed first). You'll need to experiment a little to find the amount
you like best, but in general, use the larger amount for long-grain rice, the lesser
for medium and short. Keep in mind that more water gives you softer, stickier rice—great
for stir-fries. Less water will keep the grains more separate and result in firmer
rice, a good style for rice salads.
After about 12 minutes, the liquid should be absorbed, and the rice still al dente.
If you served the rice now, you'd find the top layer drier and fluffier than the
bottom, which can be very moist and fragile. Here's where you need patience. Let
the rice sit off the heat, undisturbed with the lid on, for at least 5 minutes and
for as long as 30. This results in a uniform texture, with the bottom layers as
fluffy as the top. That a pot of rice actually improves with a rest also gives you
more flexibility for cooking the rest of the meal.
Steps to perform:
Rinsing rice helps get rid of any starch and impurities. Rinse until the water is
clear and not cloudy.Rice bran will be easy to remove by doing this. Mix 2 or 3
times, discarding whitish water quickly to avoid bran odor.
Be sure to thoroughly strain rinsed or soaked rice. Excess water can make your rice
Combine the rice and water and bring to a boil. Use 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water per
cup of rice. If adding salt or fat, swirl the pan to mix them; rough stirring could
break the rice.
Lower the heat to a simmer—bubbles gently bursting on the surface—and cover. Let
white rice cook for 12 minutes. Then let the rice rest off the burner, covered,
for at least 5 minutes and as long as half an hour.
Fluff the rice gently with a fork or chopstick. Gentle handling will keep the individual
grains from breaking up into mush.