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Water to Rice Ratio for BIG quantity of rice??????????

Miss Claudy Sep 19, 2005 07:33 PM

I am cooking Red Beans and Rice for a Katrina Benefit on Friday night for 150 people. Can any of you hounds tell me a great way to cook alot of long grain white rice at once without having it be mushy. I am condsidering the boiling method, cooking it uncovered in a huge pot of h20 and then draining after it is tender. Or does anyone know another method and I'm sure I'd decrease the amount of water per cup of rice. How much? Has anyone ever made a large quantity of baked rice? Gracias Amigos. The money raised from food sales goes to aid musicians in Nola.

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  1. d
    DT RE: Miss Claudy Sep 19, 2005 11:16 PM

    If no one else can help - why not call a hotel restaurant or local caterer etc?

    I'm sure they would be more than willing to help.

    I know the "usual" rule is twice the water per cup of rice, but don't know the ratio once you get into such large quatities.

    Good luck in your fund raiser!

    1 Reply
    1. re: DT
      theSauce RE: DT Sep 20, 2005 08:11 PM

      I believe some Big 4 Equipment rental will rent large rice maker. I hope this helps.

    2. a
      Amin (London Foodie ''OrientRice@aol.com'') RE: Miss Claudy Sep 21, 2005 07:34 AM

      This is quite a big project and to cook this amount of rice in one go (not to mention the beans) would require one of those gigantic pots that you cook with outside on a wood stoked fire, however while I agree with the ideas already provided of taking advice from a restauranteur or caterer, here are my views:

      2.5 mugs of rice should generally suffice for about 4 people (hungry ones). Depending on the size of your pot, you will probably have to do several in one go.

      Suggest you first take an enormous amount of rice (in mug measured quantities), wash it about 3-4 times under the sink tap first in very hot water, then repeat the process a couple of times in cold water until the milling dust clears from the water. Normally you would invert your thumb in the pan (cold water)till the water registers along the central line of your thumb, however if you use so much rice, then probably you will have your entire arm upto the shoulder in there.

      After washing, divide the rice into 4 separate pots presuming you have 4 burners), put in cold water (and then do the thumb trick individually). Place pots on a high flame on the cooker until the water starts boiling and reduces by about 90% volume, then cover with a lid and reduce flame to level 1 or 2. Leave on low flame for around 15 minutes making sure you have added salt to taste.

      After about 10 minutes on low flame (specially if it is Basmati rice), gently turn the rice over with a ladle. Be very gentle in the turning process as basmati is brittle and will break if you bang it around.

      Once you are satisfied that the rice is nearly cooked and ready, place the 4 separate portions in a whopping great big baking dish or large pot and place in the oven at around 160-180 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, covering the large pan with alumium foil, so the rice gets baked.

      note: I have provided the above based on basmati rice as I have no idea about the cooking properties or methods for US L/G white rice.

      For the beans, guess you will have to do something similar as above.

      Good luck. If you are in Houston, I can ask a Pakistani friend of mine if he might be able to send his wife to your place to help out or atleast she can give you some advice over the phone. Send me an email if you would like that or I can give you his phone number and you can speak to him direct.

      1. m
        MakeBetterFood RE: Miss Claudy May 18, 2011 01:25 AM

        Nobody seems to be able to answer this question in a specific way. How is that possible?

        How many cups of water would I need for 10 cups of long-grain white rice?

        From what I gather, the water-to-rice ratio plateaus at some point and much less water is needed.

        Is that right?

        5 Replies
        1. re: MakeBetterFood
          bushwickgirl RE: MakeBetterFood May 18, 2011 06:43 AM

          Cooking rice is a science based on processing an agricultural product with inherent variables. Rice perfection is not often easily achieved on a regular basis, outside of using a rice cooker. Somehow, the little grains can confound even seasoned chefs. Have you seen the number of rice cooking disaster threads here? Case in point.

          Successful rice cooking should not dependent on a 2:1 or other ratio rice to liquid; I prefer 1/2 inch of water over the level of rice; it's much more accurate, being a constant level, regardless of amount of rice you're cooking, and is actually based on scientific trial and error, although I first heard about this method from an elderly Hispanic neighbor of mine. The type of rice, long grain white, in your case, it's moisture content, age, whether it's been soaked first, which reduces cooking time and improves the final product, how much moisture is lost during the cooking process, cooking temperature, all affect outcome. It's difficult to know the exact moisture content of raw rice, but the target moisture content when cooked is 58-64%. Raw rice has anywhere from 12-14% moisture content and requires 100 grams by weight of rice and 110 grams by weight of water for the lower moisture content of 12% raw to reach the target of 58% moisture, factoring in little vapor loss, which would be fully cooked but firm. For 64% moisture, you would use more water. I'm getting carried away with the technical stuff, but I want to illustrate the variables of rice cooking, and why it's difficult to always have a happy outcome. I cook rice frequently, and have used the 2:1 ratio with very accurate measuring of both components, but did not necessarily use the same brand of rice; the cooked rice varied in degree of doneness frequently. I tend to buy the same brand now and handle it in the same manner, and it cooks up pretty much the same every time, but I do have my mushy rice moments. I chalk that up to rice crop quality.

          Sadly I don't own a rice cooker.

          You can cook rice thoroughly in a 1:1 ratio rice to water if there is no loss of water as vapor during cooking, but that's usually doesn't happen in a home kitchen, unless you have a rice cooker. 1 1/2 cups is usually plenty of water for cooking stove top, considering that 1/2 cup of water may be lost as vapor. It depends on the cooked texture of the rice you prefer as well. Cooking instructions rice growers and packers place on product packages suggest 1 cup rice to 2 cups water; those instructions are very general and don't thoroughly account for the variables.

          It's much easier to bake large quantities of rice in a tightly covered roasting pan in an moderate oven than stove top, if that option is available to you. Plain white rice, not parboiled or converted rice, such as Uncle Ben's brand, should be rinsed well to remove excess starch, soaked for an hour (I rarely do this, but it is really important for evenly cooked grains) then boiled or steamed, as in a rice cooker. A rice cooker is probably the best way to cook rice, with the highest continual success rate. Presoaked rice require less water to cook, and since it's hard to know how much less, it's why I use the 1/2 inch water measure over rice level method for large quantities, or even a cup or so. In tandem with rinsing, soaking and draining, it works very well most of the time.

          So the short answer is yes, you don't need as much water for larger quantities of rice, but how much less is difficult to know, anywhere from 1 1/2 cups to 1 3/4 cups for 1 cup of rice, if you prefer that method, but that's why I use the 1/2 inch water over rice level rule. It eliminates the guesswork.

          There's always the boil the rice in plenty of water until done then drain method. With that, you don't have to worry about rice to water ratios at all.

          Hope this works out well for you.

          1. re: bushwickgirl
            todao RE: bushwickgirl May 18, 2011 09:35 AM

            +1 ....

            1. re: todao
              bushwickgirl RE: todao May 18, 2011 03:33 PM


            2. re: bushwickgirl
              bruin RE: bushwickgirl Dec 7, 2011 05:06 AM

              HI. thanks for the very informative post. I'm eyeing all my pots, trying to figure out how to make rice for 50. How much should I expect the rice to expand? that is, if I use the 1/2 inch of water approach, how much head room do I need in the pot or pan? One thing I don't understand: 5th paragraph, "..the 1/2 inch water measure over rice...or even a cup or so." Does that mean you add an extra cup of water after you have water up to the level of the rice? For a wide pan that would probably result in less than 1/2 inch above the rice, wouldn't it? THANKS

              1. re: bruin
                jvanderh RE: bruin Dec 7, 2011 10:10 AM

                The expansion comes from the rice absorbing the water, so the volume of the cooked rice will be less than the volume of rice+water that you start with (some water evaporates). You need enough headroom that you can bring it to a boil without it spilling over, just like when you make pasta.

          2. w
            wyogal RE: Miss Claudy Dec 7, 2011 05:26 AM

            Get a couple of really large rice cookers. I used one for a cooking class, and the large one I got could probably feed 30 good sized portions (I was only serving 20, and there was a lot left over). I got the biggest one at Wal-Mart. Look for restaurant rentals.
            I wouldn't do rice for that number in one pot. Something goes wrong and all your rice is ruined.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wyogal
              bruin RE: wyogal Dec 7, 2011 08:02 AM

              Thanks! I will definitely buy a rice cooker or two - for the next time! I'm prepping for tonight! augh. Planning on using two or three pots.

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