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Help!!! Perfect rice, please

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I love rice and would make it more often if I could get it right. I have NEVER made fluffy rice, no matter what I do. I am talking about plain, white rice and I just can't get it right.
Can someone please give me explicit directions such as brand I should use( if you think that matters), ratio of water to rice (I usually use 2:1 water to rice ratio),cooking directions(such as just let it cook, or stir halfway through) and time. Also, does salt make a difference? I do usually add salt, but perhaps I shouldn't.
I would be so happy if I could make such a simple thing as rice, well.
Thanks

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  1. Here are two threads that might help you:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/545701
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/570412

    My method is here - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5457... - I use 1.75 cups of water to 1 cup of rice, and now check the rice after 10 minutes, rather than 15, and then let it rest for five minutes. Good luck.

    1. Normal long-grain rice (1.5 water :1 rice). Japanese rice 1:1. In both cases, bring to a boil, turn down to low simmer for 20 minutes, lest sit for 10. Do not remove lid, do not salt or oil, do not stir - until after the boil, simmer, and resting period.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

        Put rice in pot. Rinse 3 or 4 times. Touch the top of the rice with the tip of your middle finger and cover with water up to the first knuckle. Cover and bring to the boil. Vent the cover and simmer until cooked. Fluff with a fork and serve.

        1. re: JungMann

          JungMann has described the one, perfect everytime, foolproof method for making rice. I think I learned it originally from Buwei Yang Chow's great classic book "How To Cook And Eat In Chinese" around 30 years ago. I have never made rice any other way since then, and have never has a bad batch.
          Just stay away from "converted" rice... that stuff is useless and tasteless.

          1. re: The Professor

            Parboiled rice is more nutritious than plain white rice. The rice is parboiled prior to husking and milling, is then dried, husked, and milled. The parboiling drives nutrients in the bran into the rice. It is an age-old practice in Bangladersh, parts of India, and parts of Pakistan.

            1. re: The Professor

              A Japanese friend of mine taught me the same method..except she used her thumb and not the middle finger. But then again, Japanese (usually short grain) rice does take less water, as Sam points out above...so maybe that's why she used her thumb (its shorter and therefore you would use less water ...). I find the method foolproof as well, but I do admit I add a little extra water when cooking my favorite basmati (a very long-grained) rice. Maybe I should try the middle finger with the the basmati.....

          2. re: Sam Fujisaka

            why do you say not to salt? Persian way is to soak the rice in salted water and also to salt the cooking water as well

            1. re: susabella

              Personal & cultural preference. We've always eaten rice without salt or oil. Others prefer salt and/or oil.

          3. I cook white rice alot(3-4X a week).

            I use a little over 2 cups of water(or chicken stock), and one cup of rice. I add 1 tbsp of butter to the water/stock mixture, bring to a boil, and then add the rice. I stir the rice only once, then cover, reduce heat, and cook for 15 minutes. I turn off the heat and let it sit until I am ready to use it. I then fluff/stir it with a fork, and serve. Turns out good every time.

            22 Replies
            1. re: swsidejim

              save yourself the trouble and headache. get a small rice cooker. makes perfect rice everytime! white or brown, jasmine or short grain...it has a brain and knows when it is done to perfection and shuts itself off. fantastic appliance that I think anyone should have. I think it is faster too!

              1. re: cleopatra999

                I have been considering buying a rice cooker for a few years now, but have never gotten around to it.

                can you use chicken stock as the liquid in a rice cooker?

                1. re: swsidejim

                  Most of the modern rice cookers will handle stock and similar liquids with no problem.

                  1. re: hannaone

                    thanks, that was always one of my concerns, and caused part of the delay in buying one.

                    1. re: swsidejim

                      If you are getting serious about a rice cooker, take a look at the Pressure Rice Cookers and compare them with the non pressure types.
                      Some advantages:
                      Less liquid needed
                      MUCH shorter cooking time
                      Larger variety of foods can be cooked
                      Disadvantage
                      Usually MUCH higher priced.

                  2. re: swsidejim

                    Yes, you can use chicken stock. And it makes perfect potatoes for mashed potatoes and keeps them warm until you're ready to mash. My husband said he used to make rice and put sausages on top and it all cooked perfectly.

                    1. re: chowser

                      I have not had success with stock personally, do you change the ratio at all? I don't have success with coconut rice either. this has never been a problem with me b/c I cook with water not stock. one thing I love is that I cook brown rice all the time and it takes about 30mins instead of 45-50.

                      but I do have great success with quinoa in it and all rices (with water).

                      1. re: cleopatra999

                        No, I use the same ratio. I use a thinned stock, though. I've never made coconut rice before. What is it?

                        I make brown rice all the time, too. What I like is that I make it and the rice cooker keeps it warm so I don't have to watch it. I have no idea how long it takes, even.

                        1. re: chowser

                          coconut rice is what they serve in Thai restaurants. It is rice cooked in coconut milk and sometimes sweetened a bit as well....it is amazing!! but just like most Thai restaurant food I cannot duplicate it, hmmmm....maybe time for a new thread!

                          1. re: cleopatra999

                            Oh, I thought you meant it was a rice like basmati, jasmine, coconut. I wouldn't try Thai coconut rice in a rice cooker.

                            1. re: chowser

                              Just curious...why wouldn't you try Thai coconut rice in a rice cooker?

                              1. re: Jane917

                                I have to disagree with Cleopatra on this one. I have never heard of coconut rice being the standard in any Thai restaurant. Invariably it is one brand or another of Jasmine rice. Coconut rice is used only for sweets.

                                1. re: ThaiNut

                                  I don't know if it is the standard, but every restaurant up here (Canada) serves it as an option along with plain jasmine rice to go with your main dishes. I honestly cannot remember what was served in Thailand when I went.

                                  1. re: cleopatra999

                                    I lived in Bangkok for 12 years and it was strictly Jasmine rice there. I've never seen coconut rice in the dozens of Thai places I have been to along the U.S. east coast, and a few out west, but maybe it is a standard in some population pockets such as yours.

                                2. re: Jane917

                                  Coconut milk might be different but milk boils over and doesn't seem to work well in a rice cooker. It seems thick to cook the rice in. I'd probably cook the rice and then add coconut milk. I do have an old rice cooker, though. Maybe the new ones with fuzzy logic would handle it better.

                    2. re: cleopatra999

                      I use a rice pot that comes from my father's side from pre-WWII Japan. It never fails as well and cannot be replaced by a rice cooker (no matter how good they are).

                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                        I also have a 1920's rice pot from Japan.Flawless,easy and in my opinion better rice.The envy of two friends/Japanese Chefs.Both agree yields superior rice.About the salt and oil,I was raised "never" until recipe by my French mother. Salt has a corrosive power,will be sticky instead of fluffy.It took years for the lesson to sink in with my sister in law,tennis balls instead of rice ruled for years.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          Wow Sam. How about a photo of that? I'd love to see. I use an old rice cooker...missing one foot, propped up by a pot holder each time. It belonged to my Great Grandmother. It's really ugly but it's got the good "juju" as my kids like to say. The kids are already fighting over who gets it. I don't think it'll live out my lifetime. I got it when she died...I was just 18...years ago!!!

                          1. re: mrsmegawatt

                            Trying to attach photo but may be over the size limit

                            1. re: mrsmegawatt

                              Another try using my daughter's camera with lower resolution.

                               
                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                Wow! I've seen something just like that before....at my great grandma's house. I ended up with her electric rice cooker but that certainly looks familiar. Of course, being the youngest of the entire family when she passed...there would be no way I'd end up with it. I was lucky to get the rice cooker and the tin measuring cup that I still use to this day to measure out the rice. Memories!

                                1. re: mrsmegawatt

                                  Except for the rice pot which I wanted, my brother got everything, including the Samurai sword!!

                      2. Interesting bit of trivia recently heard on the Food Network: Adding salt to water increases the water's temp by a couple of degrees, therefore, foods (point in case - pasta) cook a little more quickly.

                        As formy "everyday" rice, I only use Mahatma extra long grain and I cook it in much the same method as I do pasta, but a smaller pot - 3 qt sauce pan, up to 1 cup uncooked rice, lots of boiling water.

                        Once water boils, I add the rice, stir, set timer for 20 min, keep water at a roiling boil, stir once or twice during the 20 min., taste a couple of grains for doneness at the end of 20 min, pour the water and rice into METAL colander, add tap water to hot pot and pour over rice - this knocks off a little of the sticky starch, but leaves enough for a sauce to adhere.

                        I then like to let it "dry" out a bit so I put about 1" of water in the pot, place colander w/cooked rice in the pot and put back on the heat to "steam".

                        The only problem that has occurred is that sometimes, toward the end of the 20 min., cook time, the starch may cause water may boil over the top of the pot - so toward the end of cooking, you may want to stay close and if you see the water rising either turn the heat down or just move the pot off the heat.

                        A while back, a friend of mine was over while I was cooking rice. She said "Oh, you make rice the hard way". Funny, I've never thought to do it any other way. I've since tried to do the "lid on" method and I wreck it everytime.

                        1. I use a programmable rice cooker so that I don't have to watch the rice on the stove. I have a Sanyo cooker I got from Uwajimaya. It also makes great oatmeal that we can put in the cooker the night before. I think we now use it more for oatmeal than rice. We have made some wonderful rice pudding too. It is a very versatile appliance and takes the guess work and the messy pot out of rice cooking.

                          1. Different rices (is that the right word?) seem to need different handling. The short grain Hinode I'm cooking now specifies 1C plus 3 liquid oz for each C of rice, 25 min. boiling, and 15 min. rest. So I've learned to only buy rice with clear instructions on the bag and then follow the instructions to the letter. That is what works for me!

                            1. Lots of good advice above.

                              If you want fluffy - really fluffy - try using an extra-long grain rice. A premium basmati (I like Tilda) will cook up to grains that are many times longer than they are wide. After cooking, toss the rice gently with a fork to fluff it up.

                              1. Three words: Zojirushi ... rice ... cooker

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  My daughters college roommate is from Hong Kong and she loves her Zojirushi. It isn't cheap but she uses it once a day.

                                  I use a heavy sauce pan and guesstimate when I make rice.

                                2. Thanks you so much!!! There were way more responses than I could ever have imagined, and some very good ideas. I think I'll try JungMann's method, as it seems pretty easy, and was "seconded" by others.
                                  I am not sure, though, how to "rinse the rice 3 or 4 times", when it's in the pot.
                                  Do I put it in a colander? I would think some of the rice will spill out of the pot, as I am pouring the water out to change it.
                                  Also, thank you, MMRuth for the links. If I don't have success with JungMann's method, I will try yours.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: bxgirl

                                    Put the amount of rice you want in the pot, run the tap over it and swirl it around. When the water becomes cloudy, tip the pot at an acute angle and swirl the water out. Run the tap over the rice again and repeat the process. If you keep your motions fast, you shouldn't lose more than a few grains of rice. When you become advanced, the washings or "rice water" come in handy for many Asian recipes.

                                    1. re: JungMann

                                      Graham Kerr's (the Galloping Gourmet) method of cooking rice is the best I have ever heard of, and with it you do not need to be mindful of the amount of water used. This works best with Thai Jasmine rice. Basmati might take a tad longer. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Also have a second pot with about a cup of water in it coming to a boil. Add the rice to the main pot and stir while it returns to the boil. At the boil start a timer and cook for exactly 10 mins. Then dump the rice into a colander. Put the boiling water from the second pot into the main pot and set the colander on top and cover it. Put back on the stove and when the water comes back to a boil set a timer for 8 mins and steam the rice. Done, and it comes out fluffy.

                                  2. In Italy, they cook it like pasta: lots of water, then dump it all out. Perfect rice, but may be more suited for Italian rices.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jaykayen

                                      That's one technique among several. Italians also make risotto and steamed rice. And for what it's worth, I find rice cooked like pasta to be useful on occasion (pesto, I'm looking at you), but generally inferior to cooking in oil then steaming. Less flavor.

                                    2. What kind of rice are you cooking? Long grain rice, just follow the instructions on the package. Short grain (japanese) rice, soak for at least a couple of hours, drain, add cold water so there's 3/4" of water above the top of the rice, bring to a boil (covered) and stir (uncovered) until almost all of the excess water is gone, lower to a simmer (covered again) and leave for about 20 mins. Perfect rice every time. Of course you could get a rice cooker and save yourself the hassle.

                                      1. We use a pressure cooker (for our brown rice) which makes it easy. 2:1 water to rice, 10 minutes at high pressure, natural pressure release.

                                        1. I just discovered Uncle Ben's 10-minute brown rice, which is great! I put it in a pot with the water (I cook the whole thing) --well, a tiny bit less water than called for -- add a pat of butter and a large pinch of salt, put the lid on, start it boiling and then turn it down to simmer, and ten minutes later take off the lid, fluff it with a fork, and it's great. Plus about 40 minutes quicker than regular brown rice, with no reduction in quality!