Rice is among the commonly eaten grain delicacies among many households. However, preparing it can make even a skilled chef worried. The instructions given at the back of the rice packet seem simple. This is tested when your results do not match what is showcased. If you have cooked rice that ended up burnt, mushy, or gummy, do not worry because you are not alone. Before you give up on cooking rice just yet, consider reading on. This guide article will give you just the tips you need to make that perfect rice in your kitchen that will leave your family or guests yearning for more.
1. Rinse the Rice
Despite what the packaging or your favorite chef says, always rinse your rice. This is not for specific brands but for all types available in the market. This is done to reduce the starch on the surface of the rice, which makes the grains stick to each other. Simply place your rice in a fine-mesh strainer or a bowl and pass cold water over it. When you do this, you will notice the water is cloudy. Keep repeating this until the water becomes clear. It is important to agitate the rice with your hands to ensure the extra starch comes off. If you were using a bowl, drain all the water after you finish rinsing. This ensures that you do not use excess water when cooking. If you do not want gummy rice, do not skip this part.
2. Actual Cooking
This is the step where most of the work lies. Highlighted are some key things to note.
a) Have The Right Equipment
As with anything else, cooking rice requires the right equipment and recipe ingredients. Of course, the ingredients will largely depend on the cooking method you will be using, but water will obviously be on the list. As for the equipment, you will need a rice basket, ladle, cooking pot, and your kitchen cooker. For the best results, a quality rice cooker is highly recommended. With an induction cooker and warmer, you can easily make 5 cups or more of evenly cooked rice of different varieties. Whether you love sushi, sweet, brown, jasmine, or white rice, having this appliance in your kitchen can be a huge plus.
This is the ratio of water and rice you are cooking. This is determined by the brand and sometimes the pot you are using. A light pot gets heated fast, causing water to evaporate at the same rate. This ends up affecting your results. You can check the packaging of your rice for the estimated recommended ratio. The commonly used ratio is 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water for short grains. For long grains, it can be 1.25 cups of water or more depending on the grains. However, mastery comes with practicing various times to know what works for you.
c) Bring The Mixture To A Boil
First, swirl the pan to combine the mixture and bring it to a boil. During this period, you can season it with salt or what you prefer. If you add salt after the water has evaporated, it does not mix well, hence creating extra salty portions.
d) Maintain A Simmer
After the water has boiled, reduce the heat to simmer. You should also cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid. You will be using the moist heat cooking method, so a loosely fitting lid means much water evaporates, leaving little for the rice. This can make it not get properly cooked. Leave the rice to cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. This makes it tender and is a process that lasts 16-18 minutes. During this process avoid opening the lid to take a peek because the built-up steam will escape. Also, do not stir or mix at this stage. It will make your rice stick together.
3. Let the Rice Rest
Once you have turned off the heat, do not rush to scoop. Perhaps you are eager to find out the results but a few more minutes won’t hurt. Cooking experts recommend letting the rice rest for at least 10 or more minutes with the lid still on. This small act of patience ensures that the remaining moisture redistributes. This allows the rice to have a uniform texture.
If you skip this step, you may find the top being dry and the bottom being mushy. If you want a more even outcome, you can put a clean towel over the top and then seal with a lid. This tight seal ensures that the condensing air-water foam is absorbed by the cloth and does not drip back to your rice. After this, fluff with a fork and serve. To fluff basically means sticking a fork into your rice to break the pieces that may have clamped together.
When cooking rice, the greatest skill is patience. You do not want to rush the process by using high heat. This can lead to uncooked or burnt rice. Observing the ratio ensures you will not serve porridge instead of rice. It is crucial to remember that uniformity is vital. Whether eating a scoop from the top or bottom part, the experience should be the same. Hopefully, this piece will help you prepare rice like a pro.