Rice and Microwave
I usually bag lunch from home which always consists of rice, usually chinese white rice.
The problem with chinese white rice is that when its cold it get really hard. I don;t seperate my meats and vegetables when i microwave and I usually end up with hard rice and hot vegetables and meat. Are there types of rice that remain soft even when cold ?
Also whats the concensus on cooking uncooked rice in the microwave ? Any special steps?
I bring my lunch everyday and have to nuke it here at work. The best trick I have for your issue is to sprinkle a few drops of water into the rice, and then place a wet paper towel over the plate. This allows to rice to kinda 're-steam' in the microwave.
Also, my parents LIVE by their microwave rice cooker (We are caribbean, so we eat rice everyday!). You can get them super cheap at Asian Supermarkets and you can have fresh rice at work EVERYDAY with no fuss! :D Here is what they look like...
I have a friend who loves to eat cold food. Her mom has learned to put extra water in Chinese and Japanese rice so that it stays a little more moist when cold. You'll need to experiment, but I'd start with 1/4 more than you usually use, and work your way up.
Calrose rice (Japanese short grain sticky rice)doesn't get as dry and hard as jasmine rice, IMO . Any brand should do.
Sometimes I'll put my rice in my lunchbox, lay down a layer of plastic wrap, then put veggies and meat on top. That way you can lift it off easily and heat them separately.
I think that microwave heating goes selectively to the items that absorb the radiation most quickly -- namely, fat first, then water. So sprinkling the rice with water is a good idea.
Since Chinese food is usually fairly oily, the meat/veg will absorb the radiation and leave the rice out in the cold. One possibility is to use a more or less sealed container; then the warmth of the food will be able to spread into the rice. At home I usually put it in a bowl, then cover the bowl with an upside-down saucer.
Wait time is helpful. For example: If you normally heat for two minutes, try one minute, then rest a minute, then another minute.
I do the same thing, microwaving a "rice bowl" reprise of last night's dinner, and don't have problems with the rice (we usually use Calrose rice). I use a Ziploc container with a lid that snaps on, and add a bit of water. I heat it for 2-1/2 minutes (it's a 20 oz container, usually crammed full) with the lid snapped in place. The lid will pop, but not before generating a good sauna for the food. It's not ideal, as the food may be soggier than you want, but the rice will be hot, nothing will be dried out and there will be no nuke spots.
"Also whats the concensus on cooking uncooked rice in the microwave ? Any special steps? "
I've only cooked rice in the microwave for the past 15 yrs; started that way cos I didn't have a rice cooker, and it worked so well, I never bothered to buy one.
Here's what I do: wash jasmine rice grains in 3 changes of water till the water runs almost clear, then add 1.5 cups water for each cup of rice, partially cover with cling film (leave a gap for steam to escape) and put in microwave. Zap on HIGH for 4-5 mins, then reduce heat to low-medium (power level 4 out of 10) for another 9 to 12 mins, depending on how much rice you're cooking.
Let it stand for several mins, then fluff with a fork and serve.
It works everytime, it never sticks or burns, you can store the rice in the dish it's cooked in (I use a large ceramic souffle dish). Use a deep-ish dish as there is a tendency for the water to boil over and mess up the microwave platter.
When reheating rice, I do the same as above posters: add drops of water and also make sure there is a cover to trap the steam. The wet paper towel idea I use too but when reheating rice only.
I am not 100% sure but I thought I read when microwaving, not to have saran wrap touch food. Is this similar to not eating blackend/charred food? Just putting it out there ...
I have one of the microwave rice cookers in a closet somewhere. It is as simple as using a rice cooker. I now use a rice cooker but I think the consistency is different. Maybe adjusting rice and water amounts would help.
I cook rice in the 'wave all the time. The Microwave Gourmet is a great book for microwave cooking. I make all kind of rice and rice dishes (assorted pilafs, risotto, etc) from this book. The only time I think it is better on the stove is when cooking basic brown rice. I swear it takes almost as long as the stove top method.