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How do you make rice?

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I make rice very infrequently, but whenever I do it always comes out wet and mushy. Since I don't make it often I don't want to invest in a rice cooker, so I need a fool-proof method for making fluffy rice on the stovetop.

Here's what I'm doing now for regular long grain white rice: The package says 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. I use a tad less than 2 cups (maybe 1 3/4). I bring the water to a boil, add some salt and the rice, give it one stir and cover it. I drop the heat to low and let it cook for 20 minutes.

Any suggestions??

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  1. When you drop the heat to low, I hope the contents of the pan remain at a quick simmer (not as furious as a boil) when you put the cover on. Check it after 20 minutes; if it's still wet, let it go for another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and let it stand, covered, for another 5 minutes.

    I cook long grain white rice using the 2:1 ratio, with no problems.

    Another method would be to cook the rice in a large pot of boiling, salted water as you would pasta (cover off). Drain the rice when it's done. This is the method that's used in industrial kitchens. It's a lot easier than measuring and waiting for the absorption of the water to be completed, and there's less chance of overcooking and mushiness.

    1. 1. Consider soaking your rice first.

      2. The key part of long rice cookery occurs *after* the water has cooked off. After the water has cooked off, you remove the rice from heat, tease it up with a fork (a spoon will more likely break the grains), and cover for 10-15 minutes to finish cooking via steam.

      1. The rice-water ratio is OK, maybe a tad less than 1:2 would be good. Bring rice to a boil, turn down to simmer for 20 minutes--without lifting the lid, adding salt, or stirring. Turn stove off, but let the pot sit for 10 minutes, again without lifting the lid. Fluff only after the resting/finishing period. Japanese (short grain) rice is cooked the same, but with a 1:1 rice to water ratio. Works everytime. I cook rice almost every day--so trust me.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          I would say that, for Western culinary uses, it is normal to salt long grain rice for cooking. In Eastern uses, the rice (more usually short or medium grain) is not typically salted.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            this is basically what i do (15 min on low heat after it comes to a boil, then 5 minutes with no heat/no peeking). one more tip though---if i need to hold it until the rest of the meal is finished, after i fluff it, i cover it with a clean dish towel, then the lid...that keeps the condensation that builds up on the bottom of the lid from dripping down onto the rice and making it clumpy.

          2. Thank you for your replies. I'm noticing a common theme here - you all let the rice stand after cooking. I've never tried that before. Maybe that's my problem!

            I'm making rice tonight so I'll try cooking it and then letting it stand for 5-10 minutes.

            2 Replies
            1. re: SarahEats

              What I noticed in your original post: your practice is to bring the water to a boil and then put the rice into the boiling water.

              You'll have much better results if you measure the rice into the pot, add cold water (and salt, if you like) and bring the whole thing to a full rolling boil. Then turn the flame to low, cover the rice, and simmer for 20 minutes. Make sure the rice is really simmering after you cover it--if it's just sitting there, it won't cook in 20 minutes and will be wet and mushy, just as you described.

              1. re: cristina

                This is the way I did it beforeIi purchased a rice cooker. It always turned out great. If your doing 2 cups of rice use 3 1/2 cups water. You only need 1 1/2 cups water for each extra cup of rice

            2. I make rice every week--if you have a microwave it's even easier than on the stove. I use Uncle Ben's and follow the guide for amounts of rice/water. Into the microwave on High for about 7 minutes (depends on the amount you are making) then 50% power for 22 minutes or so. Perfect! I also started cooking Jasmine Rice (love the fragrance) in the microwave. It is supposed to be sticky--now I don't burn it!

              1 Reply
              1. re: medford

                I have a microwave rice cooker (a plastic pot with a three-piece lid). Wash the rice put in 2x water, cook for 28 minutes at 40%. Let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff and serve. Also works every time.

              2. What about brown rice? I've started cooking regular (not quick cooking) brown rice and have found it more difficult. Not sure what I am doing wrong. Seems to take longer than expected. I follow the package directions for time and water...but have a difficult time getting it cooked but not mushy.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Tripper

                  I'm no rice expert but I think brown takes longer because the outer hull is still intact. I haven't attempted brown rice but have I mixed wild rice in with the white. Same results with using both the Uncle Ben's converted rice and Carolina brand as the white. I just add more water and cook a little longer. Basically you are modifying the stove top recipe for microwaving. The first 7 or so minutes gets you to "boil", the 50% power is "simmer" until all of the water is absorbed. My initial reason for switching was that I always seemed to burn the rice on the stove.

                  1. re: medford

                    The bran is intact. The hull has been removed.

                  2. re: Tripper

                    Rice cooker (and sometimes even the oven) work better for brown rice. Water ratios really will vary according to type and age of brown rice and the ratio of rice to vessel size, but you normally use more water than for white rice. Unlike white rice, do not salt brown rice or whole grains until after cooking, and avoid acidic ingredients, as acidulated water makes the softening of the grains' hull more difficult.

                    As for me, I have little use for brown rice. It's not that much "healthier" than white rice, and bulgur -- which has a lot more fiber per unit of volume -- is much easier to deal with as a whole grain, as it cooks just like white rice and has a much nicer texture and flavor than brown rice.

                    1. re: Karl S

                      Isn't it? It has 4x the fiber, and a decent amount more of some other nutrients....
                      http://www.drlam.com/opinion/brown_ri...

                      That's not to say that other whole grains (including bulgar) aren't also nice.

                      I'll chime in on the rice cooker thing. I can't believe I didn't get one sooner. Eating brown rice is one reason that I love my rice cooker so much (I have a Sanyo 3.5 cup). Normally, it takes so long to cook - but with the cooker, I can rinse the rice in the morning (or the night before), and set the timer before I go to work in the morning. Then, when I get home, the whole house smells like brown rice. If you're shopping for a rice cooker and like brown rice, make sure you get one with a "brown rice" mode - it may work in a regular cooker too, but I'm not sure how well.

                      I also kind of prefer the taste and texture of brown rice (I cook mostly short grain brown rice) at this point (though I also LOVE white "broken" rice).

                      Also, if you get a super fancy rice cooker that can do the GABA brown rice for you automagically, you can improve the brown rice's nutritional profile even more.

                      BTW, for those trying to save rice... put it in saran wrap in little "hamsters", and freeze it.

                      1. re: will47

                        As far as grains and legumes go, brown rice isn't one of the "better" ones, fiber-wise. 3g of fiber per cup vs. 1g for white is nearly negligible when you consider that bulgur has 8g and beans have 10-17+g. Still, I prefer brown rice for the taste and texture.

                        1. re: will47

                          I have recently bought a Sanyo 3.5 rice cooker and am having trouble making good brown rice. I'm using 1.75 standard cups of water to 1 rice cooker cup (.75 standard cup) brown basmati rice. I've washed the rice and soaked it for an hour prior to cooking and i think my machine lets the rice "rest" 15-20 after it's finished boiling. The overall result is slightly sticky and soft, yet the center of each grain is not quite cooked. Any suggestions?

                      2. re: Tripper

                        I am interested in regular brown rice cooking in the rice cooker as well.

                        1. re: kare_raisu

                          I exclusively make brown rice in a rice cooker Kare Raisu. It is true that it takes a bit longer and is tougher than normal white rice. So what I've done is always add a bit more water than I would for white rice. And I make sure I let it sit for awhile even though the rice cooker says it's done. I love brown rice because it taste more hearty to me. I'm not sure why some people are so down on the health side of it because it definitely gives you more fiber than white rice. Just as long as you add more water, you'll be able to have nice, soft, filling rice for dinner.

                        2. re: Tripper

                          Brown rice takes quite a bit longer than white, but it's pretty hardy against cooking variation.

                          put two cups of rice in a pot with 3 cups of water, set to boil, turn down to simmer, should be done in 50ish minutes.

                        3. Simple solution to any rice problem, a rice cooker. go to a drug store, asian market or Amazon.com. I own a large $80 and a small cheapo $10. Love both of them, I recommend a small one if you usually cook one or two cups.
                          The directions are painless- add cup or rice, fill to the 1 on the water line in the pot, click the button on cook. perfect.

                          15 Replies
                          1. re: waitress

                            I also use a Cuisinart rice cooker. I really love it , however I do seem to have a problem. When the cooking has finished , there is always a kind of crusty bottom. to the rice. The rest of the rice is great though. Any ideas why this is happening?

                            1. re: BJE

                              I would guess that it is your rice cooker. I have never had that sort of a problem with my Japanese rice cooker purchased in a Chinese market.

                              1. re: BJE

                                I get the crusty bottom too, but I like it. :)

                                Try adding a bit more water above the level marks on the rice cooker and that might reduce the crusting. And then like I mentioned above, let it sit for awhile after the button pops to done for any excess water to drain down to the bottom and also help reduce the crustiness.

                                1. re: singleguychef

                                  Same here. The crusty skin on the bottom is my favorite part. I often let mine go on "warm" for an extra 30 to 60 minutes to get even more crustiness.

                                  Jim

                                  1. re: Jim Washburn

                                    I like the skin pretty well too (I usually snack on it when I get to the bottom of the pot)... but anyway, that's one reason to make more rice at a time and then save some.

                                    Another tip - don't buy a rice cooker that's too much bigger than the amount of rice you normally make... you may get sub-optimal results cooking 1 cup of rice in a 10 C rice cooker.

                                    1. re: will47

                                      The brown part is so well liked in Japan that we have a word for it: "ko-geh".

                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        yup, same with iranians. it's called tah-deeq in farsi. there are lots of variations of fried bottom of the pot goodness--butter and saffron, pita or lavash bread, thinly sliced potato, onions, egg/saffron/yogurt. my ultimate comfort chow.

                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          there is a name for it in korea as well. Something along the lines of nu rum gee. You take the crusty bits, boil it in some water until it breaks down and then you have yourself a light after dinner meal. This is good for settling the stomach.

                                        2. re: will47

                                          in panama we call it "concolon", puertoricans i think call it "concha", and spaniards "socarrat".... very popular

                                          1. re: floyd

                                            In Bolivia, la concha is really something quite different.

                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                              im pretty sure i know what you mean

                                            2. re: floyd

                                              yes, I love the crustiness at the bottom of the paella pan!

                                              1. re: singleguychef

                                                Isn't this Home Cooking Board just great. There is so much to learn learn. Now I have many names for the crustiness at the bottom of o of my rice pot and I will stop blaming my rice cooker for this extra treat.

                                                1. re: BJE

                                                  Truly...you should be THANKING your rice cooker for the koge. When I was a kid, I had to fight my brother for the koge...now I hae to fight my kids for it!

                                                  Sadly, most rice cookers don't really get the koge brown and cooked enough, so really good koge still comes from a pot on the stove top.

                                                  1. re: ricepad

                                                    The best way to get "こげ" is to use an "okama" (おかま) -- an old school cast iron rice cooker with a big wooden lid. They are beautiful and faster than even my Zoji.

                                                    I just bought one in Japan, this one, that is is in the excellent book about Japanese cooking equipment "Cool Tools":

                                                    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/47700...

                                  2. I usually use a rice cooker (we have rice several times per week), but every now and then I go 'old school' and cook it on the stovetop. I don't measure ANYTHING when I cook rice, and this method works for long-, medium-, and short-grain rice. I use a 3-quart saucepan, and usually cook between 2 and 4 cups of raw rice. Wash the rice (I know the rice bags say not to, but Mom always did, so I do!). Then add water until the water level is one "knuckle" above the level of the rice. To measure a knuckle, extend your hand and put it in the saucepan, fingertips down, until your fingertips just touch the surface of the rice. The correct amount of water will come to the line of the first knuckle of your middle finger.

                                    Put the pan on "high", and bring to a boil. Let most of the water boil off, uncovered, until you see holes starting to form in the surface of the rice and water is bubbling up and looks like a geothermal vent. Reduce the heat to "low", cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. No peeking. Remove from heat and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Again, no peeking.

                                    Serve.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: ricepad

                                      That's a hybrid of two classic techniques: most of us are familiar with the pilaf-inspired technique of limiting water and simmering under cover, but there is another technique more common elsewhere of boiling rice like pasta in a generous amount of water and then draining and letting sit to steam to finish cooking.

                                      1. re: Karl S

                                        I dunno 'bout nothin' 'bout no hybrid method...it's just the way my (Chinese) mother and (Japanese) grandmother (used to) cook rice!

                                      2. re: ricepad

                                        When you see the holes forming, cover the pot and put into a pre heated 350 oven for 10 minutes. Remove pot from oven, remove lid. Place a towel across the top and replace the lid (reduces wetness as you are stopping condensation)let sit for 5-10 minutes. Learned from a master rice maker, it's the pilaf method and works like a charm. Great with basmati at a ratio of 1:1 after 20 mins. of soaking.

                                        1. re: ricepad

                                          I do the wait for the "volcanic like holes" and then slap the lid on and turn off the heat. 20 minutes and you're done, no muss, no fuss, perfect rice.

                                          1. re: ricepad

                                            I do exactly what ricepad does, but add a small amount (half teaspoon or so) of peanut oil and a pinch of salt. I think this makes the rice more flavorful to non-native rice eaters.

                                            Also, the knuckle measurements can vary. Water will boil off in relation to surface area and exposure to heat. A knuckle in a larger (wider) pot is different than a knuckle in a smaller pot. I generally use 1.5 cups of rice and 3 cups of water in a 6 inch pot, and get good results.

                                          2. This is the way my Mama taught me to make rice and it never fails . Melt a scant tbls. of lard (I use oil when lard is not available) in a sauce pan (make sure it has a tight fitting lid). Add 1.5 cups of long grain rice a tsp. of salt and toast the rice for about 3 mins. You only want it to be a little browned, just barely. (this adds a nutty flavor) Add 2 c. of hot water (stand back it will splash and gurgle) stir and let come to a rapid boil. When boiling cover then turn down to a low simmer. Wait 15 min. turn off the heat and let sit for 10 min. Fluff and serve. Oh and don't open the pot until its done and ALWAYS use a wooden spoon. I was actually scared to open the rice pot as a little kid for fear of being whacked with said spoon.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: bolivianita

                                              How BOLIVIANITA explained it is EXACTLY how i do it, one of the key details is the ratio of water to rice, i estimate it as 1 1/3 cup water to one cup rice. i usually rinse the rice in several changes of water, until the milky water runs clear then drain well before i stir it into the oil. this method is foolproof and its how most of latin america cooks rice, a daily staple in our culture. and yes, never take the lid off during the process!

                                              1. re: floyd

                                                I have so many recipes that are from my Mama that call for certain spoons or particular ways of mixing. She says to do itthis way and it seems to work...whop am I to question?
                                                Did your mother keep a wooden spoon next to her plate at the table? Oh how we dreaded that spoon.

                                                1. re: bolivianita

                                                  actually, my mom was never attached to a wooden spoon, but I absolutely am. when it comes to rice, a metal spoon will tend to break the grains as you stir, so the rounded edge on wood spoons are the only way to go... italians when making risotto swear by the wooden spoons

                                                  1. re: floyd

                                                    i found the best way to fluff rice is with chopsticks, they don't smash the grains together and make them stick

                                            2. I put just under 2 cups of water, to 1 cup of rice in the cold water with 1 tablespoon of butter, and salt. I bring it to a boil, cover, and turn heat down to low. I cook for 12 minutes, stirring maybe 2 x during the cooking process. I remove from heat, and when ready to serve I stir it with a fork, seperating the grains of rice.

                                              Perfect, every time.

                                              1. Seriously, invest in a rice cooker - a good one, fuzzy logic a must (adjusts for the water content of the rice and avoids the need for precise measurements). I bought my Zojirushi ZAC-10 3 years ago and "Zozo" is one of our favorite kitchen friends :-) Perfect rice all the time (& steel cut oats too!) & it has a timer so you can prep it all in the AM and when you get home from work, voila.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: jcanncuk

                                                  I totally agree! You can even make Rice Pilaf in the rice cooker (start on the stove, browning of stuff, and finish in the rice cooker--less water than you would normally use on the stove)

                                                2. Here's a method that works for me.

                                                  Its pretty primitive.
                                                  Put your rice (whatever amount you want) in the pan. Add some water in the sink to it - rinse, swish it around and drain (dont have to get all the water out.

                                                  set pan down, add water to til it reaches the first knuckle on your index finger. Add some salt if you want it. Cook over med-high heat till it comes to a boil; at this point you turn the rice down to a simmer and cover ; cook for about 20 minutes without opening. I usually delay covering the rice until I can see the top of the rice and bubbles coming up through little openings or pools in the rice (hard to describe).

                                                  After 20 min, open and taste - fluff a little - if it doesnt seem quite done, re-cover and continue cooking briefly over very low heat until it reaches the right consistency.

                                                  If you want to use the measuring method, you should drain the rice thoroughly after washing. Most people use 2 cups water to 1 cup of rice, I always did growing up, but the fact is the different rices dont need exactly the same amount.

                                                  1. In 1974 Graham Keer, the Galloping Gourmet offered the following advice. The timing is more important than the ratio of water to rice. Go for 2.5-3X the water to race ratio and amke dure you simmer and set a timer. When the timer goes off the rice is done, Pour into a collander and then back into the pan.

                                                    The rice is much smarter than we are. At the proper timing it has absorbed the proper amount of water. Just throw away the extra.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      Set the timer to what??? When does the timer go off? Plus, there are several different grains of rice, differing girths will require different absorption rates, therefore different times.

                                                      By the way, I am skeptical when I see an Englishman like Kerr of all people telling the world how to cook rice, of all things, when there are billions of people generation upon generation in asia and the americas making rice a different way, way before 1974

                                                      1. re: floyd

                                                        It is the amylose content of the rice that determines the time, not the girth.

                                                        1. re: floyd

                                                          whatever the package says. sorry

                                                      2. If you are making American-style rice, this method is fool-proof. Preheat your oven to 350. Get a saucepan that has a diameter of approx. 7". Heat 1 T. of oil or butter in it, then sautee a minced shallot or a bit of onion. Add 1 1/2 c. rice and stir around in the pot for 1 - 2 minutes. Add water or stock and any herbs/seasonings you like. The liquid should cover the rice to the depth of the first joint on your index finger (about 1/2"). Cover the pot. Bring to a simmer, then stick in the oven for 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork. This never fails, and the rice will keep in a warm place for 30 minutes or so before serving.

                                                        1. I once took an Indian cooking class at UCLA Extension. The teacher taught us to cook rice this way: Put rice in saucepan; cover with water so that the water is the depth of one knuckle above the rice. Bring the uncovered pot to a boil, then cover and lower heat to lowest setting. Hum a happy tune and then when you are finished, so is the rice! Obviously there are a number of possible variables to these instructions, but my happy-tune-time is 20 minutes, and the knuckle I use is that of my index finger. This comes out perfect almost every time. Generally, I use Thai jasmine rice.

                                                          Sarah C

                                                          1. SarahEats, I just typed a huge description on how I do it (failproof) and mistakenly hit a key on the keyboard that wiped it all out... i see you are about to try it again, let me know how it went, I will be happy to re-type my method if you find you are still not satisfied with the results after following all these suggestions

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: floyd

                                                              floyd - thank you for the offer, but I think I did OK last night. At some point I'll have to try all these other options, but seeing as we only have rice once in a blue moon, it'll take me awhile to work through all these techniques.

                                                            2. i'm still not as proficient as i'd like, but i make rice iranian style. i described how in this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... (in my old board freddie incarnation). as others have mentioned, it involves boiling in a lot of water, draining, then steaming at low heat for a while. i use fragrant, long grain basmati, and love it.

                                                              1. I don't know where I learned it, but I usually make rice this way: sautee some sliced or chopped onions in some butter (or other fat). When the onions have browned a bit,, add a cup of rice. Stir around a bit. Add 1 1/2 cups cold water (or broth) and bring to a boil.

                                                                Keep boiling over med. heat until most of the liquid has evaporated or been absorbed by the rice - making sure that the heat isn't so high it's burning the bottom of the rice. When small "craters" appear in the surface of the rice, turn the heat way down, cover tightly and let it cook undisturbed for 15 min or so. Open cover and check it out. If it's almost done, I usually take it off heat, leaving the cover on while I finish the rest of whatever we're having for dinner.

                                                                I don't know what it is about rice. I used to fret about making it correctly. It often wasn't any good - gummy or undercooked, or both. Over the years, however, I've come to "understand" it. I don't even know what I "understand", but I don't worry about it at all any more. I make it at least twice a week - long grain and basmathi. I soak my basmathi and don't soak the long grain. I just turns out fine now.

                                                                Maybe I'm time-traveling back to the hippie 60's and am now "one" with the rice.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: oakjoan

                                                                  Brazilians eat white rice with every meal (but pasta), and the key steps are :
                                                                  - rinse it many times (it'll result in some soaking, too)
                                                                  - sautee onions then add rice, stir for 3 mins BEFORE ADDING WATER
                                                                  - turn off heat when the craters appear and let stand many minutes

                                                                2. Ive been making rice since the teen years - started with mom's formula 2 - 1, then learned to make pilaf (variation of same method). While in college learned the up-to the first nuckle method, which meant I didnt have to be fussy and measure either rice or water. We inherited a rice cooker about 15-20 years ago and used it extensively - its a measuring method using the little cup provided and then filling water to the indicated line on the pot side. Easy, especially when we wanted a lot of rice to feed our kids, and one less pot going on the stove, but frankly no better than stovetop, and washing and soaking the rice (for particular varieties) is still part of the drill, along with potentially adding or subtracting it if you want good quality. In recent years Ive returned to the simple stovetop method - its SO easy once you get the hang of it. I dont see why anyone who doesnt have a family to feed would need to clog up their kitchen with another big appliance.

                                                                  The ONLY additional thing I would urge is restraining yourself from stirring the rice while its cooking (breaks the grains, especially with long grain rices) and not lifting the lid more than necessary.

                                                                  1. I am positive that many have suggested a rice cooker to you. I can confirm on this suggestion. For years (I'm a vegetarian) I have cooked rice on the stovetop and it was palatable. I moved in with my boy and he had a rice cooker, which I was hesitant to use. I fear appliances - DON'T laugh!!!! (The Kitchen Aid just about killed me to start using as well - what a dream)however, you just throw the rice and water in and it's done in about 45 mins. You can just forget about it! You can even purchase one with a timer and set it to be ready when you get home. After cooking it switches to a warming setting so it won't burn.

                                                                    And the taste - three times as good.
                                                                    I love love love brown rice - so that would be my sugg to you.

                                                                    1. I'll chime in here and send out a recommendation to try white basmati rice for an improvement in flavor, over regular long-grain white rice. Basmati has a popcorn-like smell when you cook it, and a more pronounced flavor than regular rice, tho it still acts as an effective fairly neutral springboard for other saucy/stewish/stirfried food eaten with it.

                                                                      There is also brown basmati, and even basmati mixes available (have seen both at Trader Joe's). The basmati is sometimes available in larger grocery stores. Definitely here in California, but perhaps not so much in the flyover states. Altho if you have an Indian (dot, not feather)-run small grocery store (or Afghan, middle-East, etc.) you will find basmati rice there. Costco carries it too. It cooks fine on top of the stove or in a rice cooker. Good luck and happy eating!

                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Seldomsated

                                                                        "dot, not feather"?? how sensitive...

                                                                        1. re: Seldomsated

                                                                          Yes. I would add that the East Indian varieties are far superior to California grown Basmati rice, due to their aging process.

                                                                          1. re: Shazam

                                                                            Aging process???? Aromatic rices are quantum leaps better immediately after harvest, sufficient drying (down to 14%), milling, cooking, eating.

                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                              Um, aged basmati rice is the gold standard.

                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                I may be completeley wrong, but in the 14 years I was with the International Rice Research Institute, we had various occasions to eat very new basmati in farm houses in India, new basmati from the company Siamati in Thailand, and fresh jasmine types in Thailand. In each case the aromatic nature was much, much nicer.

                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                  nevertheless, the aged rices seem to be preferred in south asia, and bags will be specifically identified as aged. On thie other hand I see Jasmine rices labeled new crop which suggests that this may be preferred in the SE Asian market Could the aging have a positive impact on consistency of the basmati rice? There seems to be a big interest in the length of the basmati grain and keeping it intact through cooking.

                                                                                  1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                    Rices, before being hulled and milled are dried to 14% moisture. This is the only step in post-harvest that may need some time. Once milled very little changes over time--other than that aromatic rices get less aromatic.

                                                                                    I think I'll have to put the question to my old colleagues from the national rice reseach programs in India.

                                                                          2. re: Seldomsated

                                                                            basmati really needs washing and benefits from some soaking too.

                                                                            1. re: jen kalb

                                                                              Oh yes - that is key! I put it in the pan and rinse with cold water, dumping the water out - must take about 25-30 rinses til the water is clear! But a little time there makes for rice that stays separated later. Nothing worse than mushy rice.

                                                                          3. I just have to throw this in there, when it comes to fool proof rice cooking, here is my favorite method:

                                                                            simply fill a 2" baking pan with 1" of rice, then cover with water (about 1/2" over the top of the rice) or chicken stock or whatever flavoring you may prefer, you can throw in butter, dry spices, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, whatever... wrap the pan in foil, put it in a 400 degree oven. Depending on pan size, the rice should be done in 20-25 minutes... if its in too long, it won't matter much, just a little dry on the edges... when you pull it out of the oven, uncover it, fluff it and serve it... its hard to screw this one up... just check on the pan, if there is still water in it, close the foil and keep cooking....

                                                                            1. sorry to throw cold water on the rice cooker fans, but I used to have one and I hated it! Seemed like about half the rice ended up stuck to the bottom and pretty much inedible. What a waste. What wasn't burned was unevenly cooked. I finally threw the doggone thing out.

                                                                              I cook my rice on the stove. For white rice it's a cup of rice and two cups of water, put in the pan together, cover, bring to boil and turn heat down for 20 minutes, then turn off heat & let stand 5 minutes minimum, or till ready to serve. For brown, the same proportions although I usually short the water a little, in the pan together, cover, bring to boil then cook on low for about an hour. I have a little trouble getting all the water absorbed with brown rice, but if the rice isn't just totally done I can just add 5 minutes or so until it is all gone. Otherwise I just drain it, and put it back in the pan for 5 or 10 minutes.

                                                                              1. My way is a lot like Jen Kalb's, maybe even more primitive though. I usually make this w/ jasmine white rice, not sure how it would work w/ other types. But for jasmine white rice, it comes out perfect every time!

                                                                                Take a pot. Put in x amount of rice. Then put in 2x amount of water.

                                                                                Put on stove. Cover. Cook covered for as long as you can (until the bubbles start to overflow and you're forced to take the lid off), then keep it partially covered. Keep an eye on the water level. When the water level sinks down to BELOW the level of where you can see it (below the little pools/openings described by Jen K, I'm glad someone else understands this :), turn off the heat. Cover. Let sit for at least 15 minutes, ideally 20.

                                                                                The rice will come out half boiled, half steamed, so it will be sticky by not overly so. Perfect for eating w/ chopsticks.

                                                                                Dave MP

                                                                                1. This is why I love having cookware with a glass lid... I can see when my rice needs more liquid and just add it. Also, I never STIR the rice, just kinda 'poke at it'.

                                                                                  --Dommy!

                                                                                  1. Dar Sarah: I share your pain. I am an experienced cook but could never do good rice although I followed the advice of Mexican friends, Iranian friends, Indian friends et al. Here's the solution: buy the damned rice cooker. You can get one for $5.97 at the drug store.

                                                                                    1. I haven't read the plethora of what I'm sure is great advice above, but I personally think that it's really important to wash the rice in cold water SEVERAL times before cooking. Just put the rice in a bowl, fill it with cold water, stir it around (water will get cloudy), and dump the water. Repeat until the water is almost clear. Then cook stove-top with the tried and true methods mentioned above. I leave the lid on the pot the whole time and don't peek even once.

                                                                                      Personal opinion: rice cooker rice sucks! I could never get the texture right with it.

                                                                                      1. I only eat korean or japanese short grain rice. Its very easy to cook, because I have a rice cooker but my rice cooker isn't the best. The one my mother has is amazing. It serves as a rice cooker/pressure cooker and you can cook grains, beans, or even porridge in it.

                                                                                        So anyways I take some rice and rinse it with cold water until the water runs clear. After that I drain the rice in a fine mesh colander until the water is gone. Then I soak the rice in the water it will cook in for about a half hour - hour.

                                                                                        1. there seem to be the natural born rice cookers and the not so adept... i have never had a problem with cooking rice, and i usually don't measure carefully or even time carefully, it just comes out fluffy every time. white rice, brown, basmati, doesn't matter. on the other hand, there are tons of people who can do everything by the book, to the letter, (and it sounds like you do it right SarahEats) and yet it never works for them...
                                                                                          a cosmic twist of fate perhaps?