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Rice-cooker technique

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My buddy Snaxx clued me on a trick for judging how much rice and water to put in an electric rice cooker. (When I followed the rice cooker directions for brown rice, it came out crunchy and hard). She said if your index finger is barely touching the surface of the rice, the water should come just up to your knuckle (mid-finger). Imprecise, I know, yet she swears it works. Does anyone else use this method? And does it work for all types of rice--what about a brown/wild rice blend?

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  1. The index finger method is pretty reliable. I'm not sure what you meant by mid-finger, but the water level should only come up to the first crease of the finger (about an inch, basically). Another method I've learned from working in japanese restaurants to make white (japanese) rice, is to soak the rice for a while until the grains turn pale white (half hour/hour--soak in fridge), and then the water level should reach half a fingernail length above the rice level. I'm not sure if this method is just a shortcut as it cuts down in cooking time, but it's always turned out perfectly cooked rice. This is a good method for those making large quantities of rice.

    I'm not sure about the brown rice/water ratio, but it does take more water and time.

    1. i can only speak for white rice, but the index finger method works but only to the FIRST knuckle up, or about an inch from the tip of your nail, not the middle knuckle unless you want porridge. otherwise, all the rice cookers i've ever used have the lines along the side labeled 1, 2, 3, etc. depending on how many cups of rice you put in. so, e.g., if you put in 2 cups of rice, fill up water until it hits the 2 line and that should work.

      1. Wonki! Ya Knucklehead!

        Are you out of your mind? The first knuckle right behind your finger nail? That means your rice is gonna come out like marbles dude.

        What was originally posted is right. You put your hand flat on the rice and have the water come up to your knuckle, i.e the joint between your finger and your palm.

        But Wonki makes a good point. As soon as your rice cooker clicks and you open the top, you will find the whole shabang look like gruel they used in the food fight scenes for the Little Rascals. But wait, believe it or not, that is perfect rice, if you are patient. Close the top and wait 5-10 minutes. The rice cooks and the water steams away. That is when you have perfect rice.

        Mind also one thing. Koreans and Japanese people tend to like stickier rice than Chinese rice. Chinese rice is different, and so is brown rice. The knuckle rule above applies to the wet Korean/Japanese kind.

        Michael Yu

        1 Reply
        1. re: Michael Yu

          when i went away to college and found my rice cooker's measurements (the numbered markings wonki referred to) were a bit off, oka-san taught me the knuckle thing...the FIRST knuckle below the fingernail...(actually just a tiny skosh above since our fingers are a tad short)

          i'm with wonki and eric on this one.
          cj

        2. y
          yvonne johnson

          i don't use a rice cooker. am i missing out on something good?

          i cook long grain rice as follows and it comes out great every time.

          for 2 people
          pre-heat oven 400
          heavy pan with lid
          one cup of rice
          one and one third cups water
          salt
          place foil bet pot and lid
          cook 20-25 mins
          =perfect rice

          for basmati, 15-20 mins

          1 Reply
          1. re: yvonne johnson

            I always used to cook my rice in a pot on the stove, but I found a good buy on a little Zojirushi, and it's the only way I cook rice now. The little nonstick pot has markings on it for water, but I like my rice moister, so I still measure, using the little measuring cup that came with it. I find I like 2 parts liquid to 1 part long-grain or brown rice, 1-1/2 cups liquid to 1 part short-grain, and 1-1/3 cup water to 1 cup sweet rice. I also use it for cooking whole grain pilafs. Whole oats, toasted or otherwise, and whole buckwheat groats make good breakfast cereal, too. Oh! breakfast fried rice, too.

            I set the timer at night, and it's ready in the morning when I get up, and stays hot until I eat it. Rice stays in perfect condition for people who eat at different times, but I put leftovers in the refrigerator right away. (They recommend not keeping it warm longer than 10 hours for maximum eating quality.)

            Note: The cheap ones you buy at Walmart, etc, may not be as versatile, and don't necessarily keep the rice hot without scorching it.