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Cooking rice using a rice cooker takes little to no effort. The rice cooker is a wonder of a device that takes out all the guesswork when it comes to cooking perfect rice. However, there can be times when your rice isn’t soft or fluffy. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you have to replace your rice cooker right away! There are just a couple of things you need to do to ensure that your rice is fluffy and soft every time.
The rice cooker is everyone’s best friend in the kitchen thanks to its ability to make rice in an instant. Aside from using the rice cooker, you can also make rice on the stove, in the oven, or in the microwave. Whether you cook rice in a rice cooker or using other methods, there are times it can be a miss instead of a hit.
You can run into some issues, the most common being rice that isn’t soft. Here are a couple of techniques that you can do to ensure that your rice will cook perfectly soft, or even softer, every time.
One of the most important things to do before you cook is to rinse your rice. Rinsing rice before cooking is good because it washes away grime and other impurities. Most notably, rinsing rice washes away excess starch that can make your rice sticky, gummy, or mushy when cooked. Rinsed rice grains result in cooked rice that is soft and fluffy.
You don’t need fancy equipment to wash your rice. Simply take a fine mesh strainer, set it over a bowl, and let the water run until it turns clear. The strainer ensures that all the minuscule grime goes down the drain and your clean grains are all accounted for.
A lot of times, the wrong water-to-rice ratio will make your rice dry or gloopy. In general, the rice-to-water ratio is 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. This works for most white rice variants. If you feel like your rice is still dry after cooking, you can add a few tablespoons of water to make it softer. Let the rice steam for a few 5 minutes before checking on it again to see if you have fluffier rice.
If you are cooking brown rice, you will want to adjust the water-to-rice ratio as it needs more water due to its longer cooking time than white rice. For brown rice, you’ll want to have a rice-to-water ratio of 1 cup of rice and 2 1/2 cups of water. If you want your sushi rice to maintain its sticky yet soft texture, you’ll use a ratio of 1:3, meaning 1 cup of rice to 3 cups of water.
If you are using a stovetop to cook rice, make sure that you are doing it over low heat. Cooking on high or medium heat can result in undercooking or overcooking your rice. It can turn very dry or mushy, and that isn’t what you would want. Low heat ensures that your rice will cook properly and you won’t end up with a burnt bottom.
Whether you’re using a rice cooker, the stovetop, the oven, or a microwave, make sure that your lid is sealed tight against the opening of the pot. This is to guarantee that moisture won’t escape the pot while you’re simmering the rice. Loss of moisture will give you dry rice instead of soft rice.
After rice cooks in the rice cooker, the device automatically switches to the Keep Warm setting. This allows the rice to rest as soon as it is cooked, letting the grains settle and cool off. If you stir rice the moment it cooks, the grains can break up and get mushy. Letting your rice rest for 5 to 10 minutes will ensure that your rice is soft once you serve it for dinner.
Cooking rice and making sure that it’s absolutely soft and fluffy every time can be achieved by adhering to a couple of methods. You may not get it right from the start, but these techniques can be learned and practiced over time. Soon, you’ll become the master of soft rice in the house.
Did you like learning how to cook rice? Have a look at these other rice recipes to pair with other main dishes and make your weeknight dinners more enjoyable.