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How To Cook Rice Right

Properly cooked rice can be an excellent accompaniment to many different types of meals. But when it's undercooked or too 'gluggy', it can detract from whatever other foods you serve with it. Niki Singleton offers two family recipes for cooking rice to perfection:
The easiest way to make rice well every time is to use a rice cooker. If you don't have one, or don't want one, here's a no-fail recipe for rice that one of my grandmothers taught my mother, who then taught me. This one I use mainly for seasoned rice dishes because things can be added before boiling, or broth (a plain soup) can be used in place of water.

Method 1:
This is for four substantial servings (4 rice bowls).

You will need:
  • 1 large saucepan, or a short pot
  • 2 cups of white rice, preferably persian, glutinous, or converted, depending on how sticky you like it
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, margarine, rendered fat, or vegetable oil
  • water or broth as needed (usually 3 to 3.5 cups)
  • salt to taste
  1. Put the rice in the bottom of the saucepan and wash it thoroughly by rinsing, then pouring off the cloudy water. Repeat until you can recognize grains of rice through the water, and then pour this last rinse out.
  2. Put your middle finger in the saucepan until it touches the bottom, and put in water or broth until the level reaches the second line of your finger.
  3. Add your salt and oil.
  4. Place on the stove and cover loosely, which means there should be a centimeter of space between the side of the cover and the edge of the pot or saucepan.
  5. Turn on the stove at medium/low heat, and leave it alone for about 20 minutes.
  6. Check to see if it's done, and if not, come back every 5 minutes.
  7. If you need to check and can't tell from looking at the top, stick a spoon in the middle, and push gently to the side to see if there is any water left. If there is, then move the rice back to cover the hole. Try not to touch it too much.
  8. If you run out of water before the rice is the level of softness you want, just pour a quarter cup of hot water into the hole you made for checking, and move the rice back over to cover the water.
  9. When it's done, turn off the heat, and cover the rice completely, and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  10. Stir and then serve.
Method 2
Then, there is the other absolute sure-fire way that my other grandmother taught me. This is how I cook rice when I want it somewhat plain.

You will need:
  • However much rice you want up to 5 cups.
  • A pot of water, salted, with about a tablespoon of oil
  • A strainer
  • A large bowl
  1. Set the pot of oiled and salted water on high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, rinse the rice repeatedly until the water is somewhat clear.
  3. Drain as much water as you can from the rice, and then wait until the water heating on the stove boils.
  4. When the water reaches a fast, rolling boil, gently pour in the rice.
  5. Stir to make sure the rice doesn't stick together, and then wait.
  6. Occasionally stir the rice, and after 10 minutes, check to see if it's done.
  7. Check every two minutes after that, and when it's as soft as you like, turn off the heat and then pour the contents of the pot into a strainer.
  8. Shake the strainer a bit to get out as much excess water as possible, and then return the rice to the now empty pot.
  9. Season to taste, and then serve.
Rice cooked this way can also be used for rice balls, unless it is parboiled rice. Parboiled rice should never be used if you prefer it sticky on its own, but is the best to use when making deep fried breaded rice balls.

More Rice Tips
  • For golden coloured rice, stir a teaspoon of turmeric into the water before the rice begins to cook.

  • Seasoning blocks or bouillon give a nice flavor to rice. It will need to be stirred after cooking to evenly distribute it throughout.

  • Use leftover rice to make fried rice. It can also be used to add a bit of starch to a meatloaf in place of bread crumbs.

  • Never let cooked rice sit out for more than a couple of hours without keeping it very hot. Rice turns very quickly. To serve it at parties that may last a while, but keep it from burning at the bottom, put it in a pan atop a pan of water placed over a tea light or other warmer. To cool it off quickly before it turns after a meal, transfer it from the pot to smaller containers.
If you are on a salt-restricted diet but don't like your rice too sweet, use a couple of dashes of pepper and salt-free chicken broth to enhance the taste.

About The Author
Niki Singleton, Webmatron of
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