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The instructions for cooking rice are fairly simple and the same everywhere: you put the uncooked rice grains in a pot, pour water in it, and let it cook over heat.
However, even if the instructions seem simple, it actually takes a lot of skill to cook rice perfectly. If you’re one of those who are prone to rice-cooking mistakes, here are some tips you can go by to master the art of making rice perfect every time.
Do your rice-cooking adventures often end up in a gloopy, mushy mess? Or perhaps, instead of the grains being fluffy, your rice grains are dry and devoid of moisture?
Whichever you may be, know that you aren’t alone. It’s very easy to overcook or undercook rice, especially if you don’t have the basic techniques down. Once you take note of these hacks and master them, you’ll certainly have perfectly fluffy rice every single time.
White rice is the most common type of rice that we see and eat. Even so, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only type of rice out there. Rice comes in several types and varieties, and it’s important to know which one you’re working with before you cook it.
We’re not saying you have to memorize everything. Just having a general idea of whether you’re cooking with short-grain rice or long-grain rice makes the absolute difference when cooking them.
You might have noticed that rice grains have a film of chalky powder over them. This is actually starch from the rice grains. It could also be dust that has mixed itself in with the starch during transportation and the entire rice packaging process.
It is highly important to rinse your rice grains, not just to wash off the dust and clean them, but also to reduce the amount of starch stuck on the grains. If you don’t wash your rice, those starch-coated grains will turn very sticky and mushy once you cook them.
Washing your rice will reduce the risk of your rice turning sticky and clumpy. To rinse your rice, simply put the uncooked grains in a large bowl or rice washer and fill it with cold water or room temperature water. Use your hands to swish the rice around.
If you see the water turn cloudy, that’s all the starch you’re washing off. Strain the rice through a fine-mesh sieve to get rid of the cloudy water. Return the grains to the bowl and repeat the washing process until the water runs clear.
Cooking rice doesn’t just mean pouring the grains into the pot and drowning it in water and hoping for the best. You need to measure the rice properly with the use of a measuring cup. This is important as the number of cups you put into the pot corresponds to the amount of water that you need to cook your rice.
If you don’t measure the cups and don’t use enough amount of water, you may end up with mushy rice or very dry grains.
Generally, the water-to-rice ratio is 1:1, meaning one cup of rice is equal to one cup of water. This water-to-rice ratio is for white rice. If you’re using a different type of grain, such as brown rice, you’ll need a ratio of 1:2, which means 1 cup of brown rice to 2 cups of water.
When cooking rice, one of the most overlooked steps is the resting period. If you are someone who opens the lid once the rice cooks and immediately spoons it out, you’ve probably noticed that the grains seem to be a mixture of firm and mushy.
Instead of doing that, it’s important to let the rice rest after cooking for 10 to 15 minutes as it allows the moisture in the grains to redistribute, seeping through the entire portion of rice.
Additionally, the resting process also allows the top layer of rice to finish cooking. Generally, the bottom layer is will cook first before the top layer. Aside from redistributing moisture, the heat will also fully redistribute, ensuring that the top layer is cooked without disturbing the bottom layer.
Once the rice is done cooking and you’ve allowed it to rest, you’re probably thinking that it’s time to eat already. Not yet! One thing that you need to do before you dig in is to fluff the rice with a fork.
Fluffing the rice with a fork significantly improves the taste and texture of the rice. Doing so allows you to get rid of any lumps and separate the grains without crushing them. You create a nice, light fluffy texture in your rice if you fluff it out with a fork.
You can cook rice on a stovetop, in the oven, or even use a microwave. While all those are valid methods to cook rice, the best thing that you can do to ensure that you have perfectly cooked fluffy rice every single time is to make it with a rice cooker.
Cooking rice using via stovetop or other methods means that you’ll have to pay attention to the temperature and the pot you’re using, and ensure that you have a tight-fitting lid. Make a mistake with one of those things and you’ll most likely end up with gloopy or dry rice.
However, if you have a good quality rice cooker, you don’t have to worry about the temperature or using the right pot. Rice cookers are absolutely convenient and will do all the cooking for you.
All you have to do is pour your grains and water (using the correct ratio, of course!) into the rice cooker’s inner pot, cover it with a lid, and press the button. You can walk away from it too and come back when it’s done. You’ll get a perfect batch of rice every single time.
Cooking rice perfectly isn’t rocket science, but it takes a couple of techniques to master. With the right tools and doing simple hacks, such as the ones mentioned above, you’ll become the rice-cooking master in no time.