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white rice...cooking tips and tricks...PLEASE!!!

I stink at rice. Jake loves white rice with lime and cilantro. I do not own, nor do I really want a rice cooker. I usually use Carolina rice, season the water and cook super low for 20 minutes or so. Still not very exciting.

Any help for some great rice to go with some sesame chicken???

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  1. Chelley, have you ever tried Robert Lauriston's Cilantro Rice? It is SO good!


    1. Do you want to know how to cook the rice, or how to season it? It's not really clear from your post.

      Cooking rice is simple. Take one part rice and a little less than two parts of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, salt the water, cover and cook at the lowest possible heat for about 15 or 20 minutes, until you see clam holes in the top of the rice.

      It's not supposed to be very exciting when plain.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Euonymous

        I have the seasoning part down pretty good...I sometimes use broth and seasonings, butter, red salt, etc...

        I guess its the cooking part. Should I be stirring at all during the cooking process? I feel like the rice is gummy, almost risotto like instead of nice and fluffy.

        1. re: chelleyd01

          If you want fluffy rice, don't ever touch it while it's cooking. Put the rice, water and salt in a pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low and cover. Set the timer for 20 minutes and walk away. When the timer goes off, turn the heat off and let steam for another 5-10 minutes, remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and serve.

          If long-grain rice gets gummy using this method, you're using too much water.

          1. re: chelleyd01

            You should never stir rice unless you're making risotto.

            1. re: chelleyd01

              You may also want to try pre-soaking your rice if you are using a long-grain varietal. Soak it in water for 30 minutes before cooking, drain, and then cook it in less water-- maybe 1 1/4 parts water per part of rice. It should cook in in 10-15 minutes if its been pre-soaked.

            2. re: Euonymous

              I do the same, but I do not stir the rice after breaking up the clumps in the first few seconds after pouring it in boiling water. I turn the burner down as low as possible, lid it and let it go for 10-15 minutes or until almost all the water has been absorbed. The presence of "clam holes" is a good sign it is almost done.

              The pan is them removed from the burner and let set while covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.

            3. If you have a microwave oven, making rice is a snap. The best part is no watching or stirring. For long grain white rice I follow the box for rice/water proportions. Put in microwave-safe bowl with lid and cook at full power for about 7 minutes and then 50% power for about 22 minutes. Let sit about 5 minutes to finish steaming. You may need to adjust times depending on the wattage of your oven. I sometimes mix in a handful of wild rice into the white. Just add a bit extra water and it comes out great--adds just a nice slightly nutty taste.

              I just got a new Sharp mwave oven and it has a programmed button for 'rice'. OMG jasmine rice comes out perfect!

              4 Replies
              1. re: medford

                I agonized over cooking rice for a long time, until I saw the sadly recently deceased Urban Peasant, James Barber, explain it simply.

                Place rice in it's cooking pot. Cover with cold water with enough water over the rice to the height of about a half inch, or when you stick your baby finger into the pot, the water reaches halfway to the joint. Boil until you see the water bubbling up through the grains of rice. Lower the heat to lowest setting, cover the pot, set the timer to 20 minutes and WALK AWAY. Do NOT lift the lid. When you hear the timer, taste a few grains. Too dry? Add a few tablespoons of VERY hot water and put it back on the low heat for a few minutes. Too wet, but cooked? Fluff, raise the heat, cover and watch it like a hawk, for about 5 minutes. Good enough, but all stuck together? It probably will be anyway. Fluff it, set the lid so the steam can escape, and leave for about 5 minutes.

                I have used this method for numerous kinds of rice, from parboiled, to sticky rice, to purple rice, to brown and red rices, that need longer sitting, but the same method and never had a failure.

                It's been fool-proof for this fool, anyway


                1. re: violabratsche

                  Good explanation. Totally agree. I had been using a smart brain rice cooker before I visited my sis in Australia and was forced to use a simple pot. She was amazed that this worked. On the other hand my grandma (who passed away before I was able to get her proportions) baked the rice in a covered pan along with the meal and it was sticky, tasty and had the lovely brown bottom crust- odd from a woman who never cooked with rice before age 45) I loved that show Urban Peasant- not because the recipes were great, but because he was so joyful and playful and simple about the food.

                  1. re: violabratsche

                    Totally agree with the method described above - I learned the exact same way from a master sushi chef - perfect every time. I did however, learn to add the h20 to the 1st finger joint - not halfway...perhaps that explains the dry rice experienced by the above poster? Brown rice will take 25 min...

                    1. re: jbyoga

                      I stand corrected. It is to the first joint. I don't know what I was thinking about.

                      Mea culpa.


                2. Wow..I have been stupidly stirring every 5 minutes or so because I was afraid it would clump or stick. Im going to NOT stir tomorrow night and see what happens then!

                  Also, would a covered skillet be more effective than a saucepan?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: chelleyd01

                    If you don't want your rice to be sticky, try rinsing it a few times before you cook it. That way, some of the excess starch will wash off and you won't have the gumminess. Also, backing off on the water to rice ratio like Euonymous mentioned is key, as well as letting it sit to steam for a while - especially if you're stirring in extras like cilantro.

                    I bring mine up to a boil, and then turn the heat to the lowest setting and just let it steam.

                    And use the saucepan - it works better.

                    1. re: jazzy77

                      Another way to keep rice from being sticky is to fry it in a little oil to coat the grains before adding the water.

                    2. re: chelleyd01

                      I'd still go with the sauce pan. I used to stink at making rice, but finally succumbed to my husband's foolproof. I use the amount called for on the package, bring it to a boil, and boil until little holes appear on the surface of the rice (almost all the`water will be gone), then cover, put the lid on, turn to lowest setting and set the timer for 15 minutes. This method also works well for brown Basmati rice, though it may take a couple more minutes.

                    3. I know you said that you don't want a rice cooker, but I have to say, it is unbelievable how good the rice turns out. I always made the worst rice and 2 years ago, my MIL bought me a rice cooker for Hanukkah. I didn't even want the thing, but my husband told her that it would be a good gift.

                      It sat in the box for 2 YEARS until one day (very recently) I took it out, tried it, and now I actually look for excuses to make rice! We used to eat a lot of pasta and now we actually eat way more rice than pasta -- who woulda believed?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: valerie

                        I totally agree, I love my rice cooker, but it's a unitasker - and I've found it's really only good for making plain, white rice. If you're introducing other seasonings or sauteed things into the rice as it's cooking, then a saucepan is much better.

                        1. re: jazzy77

                          That is going to depend on the rice cooker. There are so many cookers now that multifunction very well.
                          take a look at this site for some examples.

                          1. re: hannaone

                            This is the one that I have. I've been thinking about trying other things with it, but haven't ventured out yet. So far, just white rice, sushi rice (which is what we like the best) and brown basmati rice.


                          2. re: jazzy77

                            I use my rice cooker for steaming artichokes and cauliflower. Also good at large gatherings when you run out of room on the stove--cooks/keeps warm.

                        2. Look, chelley. I have been cooking (well) for sixty years, and I can't cook rice. After receiving rice-cooking advice from friends of every known ethnicity and STILL failing, I gave up and bought a rice-cooker. Trust me: buy one. Your rice will be perfect every time and while it's doing it you can read your mail, take a shower, pass out, whatever---no need to hover, cover, steam, stir, watch, pray, or swear.

                          1. A Japanese friend taught me this trick for cooking rice years ago, and it works: Put the rice in the sauce pot, however much you want. Then place your thumb so that the tip is resting lightly on the top of the rice, and add water until the water just covers your entire thumbnail. Add a little salt, and some butter if you want. Bring the water to a boil, then lower to a simmer, cover and leave it alone for twenty minutes! Don't stir! I don't know why, but the water to the top of the thumb-nail trick seems to work with any size pot.......

                            1. Janet, I love that fingernail tip, I think I may try it next time.
                              Definitely don't stir as others have said.
                              I know you mentioned you have the seasoning down, but just wanted to share my favorite way to make rice. It is is sooo easy, and I think it would be perfect with sesame chicken. Use chicken broth instead of water and add in 1-2 chopped scallions. My husband hates plain white rice but will eat this every time!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: SweetPea914

                                bty...we often use low-sodium chicken broth instead of water as well. Same cooking method. One caveat I should have mentioned: If you are using a very long-grained rice, such as basmati, you need to add just a smidgen more water (maybe a third cup beyond what covers the thumbnail) and cook just a little longer........

                              2. Adding another tip to the excellent ideas already posted....I find that placing a folded kitchen towel between the lid & the pot makes a big difference. Be careful removing the towel, tho, as it absorbs the steam & will be very hot.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: fauchon

                                  I was going to post this advice too! I didn't get the rice I wanted until I started doing this. The steam that usually condenses on the lid and drips back into the rice (making it soggy) is absorbed by the towel.

                                  I usually place the lid in the middle of an unfolded kitchen towel then wrap the towel up around the lid. Be careful! You don't want your towel to catch fire.

                                  1. re: fauchon

                                    I've been doing this for years using a terrycloth kitchen towel. Just be sure you're able to fold the excess parts of the towel up over the lid to avoid a fire hazzard. And it's probably also a good idea to stay in the kitchen to moniter cooking the rice using this tip.

                                  2. A different way to cook rice that produces very fluffy rice is to bring rice with 2x (+ a little extra) water, for a cup of rice I use 2 1/4 c water, a tablespoon of chicken pwdr. and bring to a boil. boil gently uncovered for about 7 minutes add chopped cilantro, 1/8 c. lime juice, a few grinds of black pepper, then cover with a tight fitting lid wrapped in a dishcloth, turn off heat and let sit undisturbed for 25 minutes. uncover and stir. the rice comes out great. light and fluffy. It does not store well when cooked this way as it tends to clump like it does when cooked in a rice cooker. but I've found that adding a tbsp. of water and stirring then microwaving tends to restore it okay.

                                    1. "Any help for some great rice to go with some sesame chicken???"

                                      We usually have Jasmine rice with our 'at home' Asian dishes. It's a wonderful aromatic rice that goes great with most Asian foods.

                                      1. Boiled Rice
                                        Serves: 6

                                        With this method of boiling, the rice will come out grain for grain, firm but cooked and free of excess starchy residues. No more gummy rice that sticks together in globs.


                                        • 14 cups of water
                                        • 2 teaspoons salt
                                        • 2 cups long grain rice

                                        Note: One cup of uncooked rice equals three cups cooked rice.


                                        1. Fill a 6 quart pot with 14 cups of water. Do not alter the water volume.
                                        2. Bring the water to a boil and add 2 teaspoons of salt.
                                        3. When the water is boiling rapidly, pour in up to 4 cups of rice. "Up to 4 cups"; you can boil a half-cup or 4 cups, it makes no difference.
                                        4. When the water comes back to a boil, reduce the heat but keep the water actively bubbling, and begin to consider your cooking time.
                                        5. As the rice cooks, you should continue to stir the rice every 2 or 3 minutes to distribute the heat also you need not cover the pot while the rice is boiling.
                                        6. It should take no more than 15 minutes for the rice to be completely, perfectly cooked.
                                        7. Taste a few grains of the rice to be sure there are no hard centers.
                                        8. When the rice tastes cooked to you, immediately take it off the heat, pour it into a colander and rinse well with hot water.

                                        1. The Galloping Gourmet taught jfood how to make rice in the 70's. He believed that rice knew exactly what to do and all we could do was muck it up. His trick was add more water than you ever thought you would need. Season, bring to a boil, add the rice, cover, simmer, set the timer and have a glass of wine (remember it was the GG).

                                          When the buzzer goes off, drain in a colander, place back in the pot and cover.

                                          Full stop.

                                          Jfood has been using this method for 30+ years. It is definitely KISS.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: jfood

                                            how long do you set the timer for?

                                          2. Well, if you want really GOOD rice, saute some diced onions and curry powder (half teaspoon or so) in oil or butter (1 - 2 Tbs. or so), then add your rice. Saute the rice, stirring, until it is coated with fat, is colored slightly, and a few grains start to pop. Add the water or broth and salt, bring to a boil, stir once, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Wait 20 minutes, turn off the heat, and wait another couple of minutes, and enjoy.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Bat Guano

                                              My 'BH' always 'toasts' rice well in olive oil and seasoned with a little garlic salt and pepper when making Mexican rice. It is the best Mexican rice on the face of the planet! It's made in a skillet with El Pato sauces, chicken bullion, whole clove or sometimes smashed cloves of garlic. YUM!

                                            2. I've found that cooking rice is not compicated. It's not brain surgery or rocket science. When I first started cooking it I wasn't very good at it either. I would follow the basic directions for liquid and dry amounts and cooking times found on most packages of rice. Most of the time it didn't come out what I would call good or 'perfect'. A little tweaking of the package directions and I got it right. All I did, basically, is increase the cooking time to 24 -25 minuets instead of the 20 called for on most of those packages. Then I fluff the rice, dry off the condensation from the lid, let set for 5 or so minuets and then refluff before serving. If you want your rice to not stick to the pan always add a pat of butter. If you want more flavorful rice try cooking it in various broths i.e. veg. chick. or beef & adding different herbs. You really don't need a 'rice cooker' to cook perfect rice. I've always used a four quart cooking pot and it comes out perfect every time. For dryer rice place, as previously suggested here, drape a terrycloth kitchen towel over the pot place lid on top and fold towel over top of lid to reduce fire hazard.

                                              1. I think you have gotten some great cooking advice. My advice is to use a quality rice.

                                                Here's the one I use:


                                                1. Directions for a rice cooker: Use supplied plastic cup measure to fill up container w/ N cups. Rinse rice a few times w/ cold water. Fill up to line at the N indicator that matches however many cups you put in. Plug in rice cooker. Press button. Wait until it clicks to warm. Fluff with fork before serving and enjoy perfectly cooked rice.

                                                  Now compare this to all the other ways of cooking it.
                                                  Get the rice cooker (in case the choice isn't obvious ;-)

                                                  You can also substitute chicken stock and coconut milk for some of the water and make flavored rice.

                                                  1. I've always used Craig Claiborne's method: saute a little minced onion in melted butter. Use a heavy cooking vessel...I use my cast iron chicken fryer with a lid. Add your rice and stir to coat with the butter. Add liquid and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and place in a 375 degree oven for 20 min. Add chopped parsley and stir. Perfect every time....each grain separate and fluffy.

                                                    1. Absolute foolproof, nonsticky recipe for white long-grain rice: For each cup of uncooked rice, use 2 cups water, and one tbs. butter or margerine. Place water & butter in medium saucepan & bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and add rice and some salt (if you don't reduce heat, it may boil over as you add the rice), and then return to high heat. As soon as water returns to a boil, cover, and simmer at lowest possible heat for exactly 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit in pot, covered for 2 more minutes.

                                                      1. If you want rice to cook fluffy and shiny white, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to 2 cups of water, with a teaspoon of oil and salt, to 1 cup rice.
                                                        It works with almost every variety of rice.