Cooking rice is a valuable skill that you'll use many times over a lifetime of eating. This Instructable will show you how to cook both white and brown rice. It's not a strict "recipe" like existing web pages out there. It's the theory behind cooking rice, so that you can become your own expert at cooking rice.
Step 1: Rice Theory
Cooking rice is about understanding the proportions of the two ingredients, the rice and the water. Some people prefer using different ratios of rice to water. The range goes from 1 part rice to 1.5 parts water to as much as 1 part rice to 2 parts water.
After you cook it a few times you'll have your own ideas about how much water to use, for now, we'll walk the middle of the road and use 1 part rice to 1.75 parts water.
If you've added in too much water, fear not, simply cook your rice longer and crack the top allowing more moisture to escape. If you've added too little water, you're in luck, because you can always add more!
Ideally you won't need to make the adjustments described above when you're cooking rice, and your batches will come out perfectly fluffy, moist, with just the right amount of chewiness and only enough starchy glueyness to keep the grains clumped together enough to get them into your mouth.
White Rice vs. Brown Rice
Cooking methods vary slightly for white and brown rice. White rice is generally speaking, cooked for a shorter period of time (20-30 minutes), with less water. Brown rice is cooked for a longer period of time (30-40 minutes), with more water.
Rinsing the rice
Some methods suggest rinsing rice before combining it with water in the pot. This is an attempt to "wash off" the excess starches on the outside of the rice which purportedly make the rice gluey. I haven't noticed any real difference in final results between doing this and just going straight to the pot. The real quality comes from the cooking method in my opinion.
Toasting the rice
Other methods call for the rice to be cooked in the pot for a few minutes before the water is added in. This is a useful technique when trying to impart additional flavors to the rice. When making a middle eastern style basmati rice, or an Italian arborio rice used in rissoto, I would fully suggest this process, however, for just making plain, unflavored white or brown rice as we are in this Instructable, this step is unnecessary.
I just find it important to always state that when cooking, there's no need to follow the recipe exactly. If you can understand what's going on inside the pot, then there's often many ways to cook something delicious and successfully. Take the recipe as a grain of rice.
Step 2: Gather Supplies
- a pot
- rice (any kind you like, here I'll be using long grain white and short grain brown rice)
- measuring cup
- salt and butter optional
If you're using the same measuring cup for both the rice and the water, make sure you measure the rice first, otherwise the wet sides of the measuring cup will make the rice stick.
Rice expands when you cook it, so 1 cup is usually enough for two people to eat along side something else. To be honest, if I'm cooking rice for myself, I still make 1 cup because it's so cheap, and the stuff sort of has to reach a critical mass in order to be able to cook correctly.
In terms of serving sizes, figure on about 1/2 cup of rice per person eating. Adjust quantities of water accordingly.
Step 3: Combine Rice and Water and Boil
Once the water and the rice are combined place the pot on the stove over high heat until the water begins to boil.
It should take about 3-5 minutes for the water to boil if you're making 1 cup of rice to 1 3/4 cups water. If you're making more rice, expect longer waiting times.
Step 4: Cover and Simmer
After the water has boiled, cover the pot and turn the heat down as low as it can go. This is what's known as simmering. The water will still be boiling and bubbling with the cover on, but it shouldn't burn at the low temperature. If it smells or looks like it's burning, turn your burner down even further.
White rice will cook like this for 20-25 minutes.
Brown rice will cook like this for 35-40 minutes.
Step 5: Let the Rice Sit for 10 Minutes
Once the rice has simmered for the appropriate amount of time, remove the top and check to see if all of the moisture in the pot is gone. To do this, tilt the pot and look for pooling water. If there's no water, the rice is done cooking.
If you've cooked the rice with the correct amount of water there shouldn't be any moisture left, or burn marks on the bottom of the pot.
If you've got too much water left over, you either didn't cook it long enough, or used too much water in your ratio. If you've got burn marks on your pot and on your rice, then you either cooked it too long, cooked it at too high a heat, or used too little water.
Place the lid back on the pot, turn the heat off, and let the rice just sit there for 10 minutes. If you are using an electric stove, switch the pot to a different burner. Electric elements can retain their heat for along time and can continue the cooking process.
This is an important step, so, just set a timer, walk away, and build something awesome. Need an idea of something you can make? I know this great website called Instructables.com.
Letting it sit helps the rice reabsorb some of it's starches and results in less gluey rice.
Step 6: Fluff the Rice With a Fork
Once the rice has sat for 10 minutes it's time to fluff it with a fork. This basically just means mix it up a bit and let any resident moisture evaporate out.
The grains should be plump and hold together ever so slightly.
Step 7: Plate and Enjoy
Plate, or bowl as the case may be, the rice and enjoy with your favorite foods.