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How to make stovetop rice?

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  • bshee Oct 24, 2010 05:28 PM
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Hey,

I don't have a rice cooker, and to save some money I decided to to cook the rice on stovetop. However, I'm only one person. How do you make small amounts of rice on stovetop? I tried boiling water and then placing a bowl of rice in the pot, but it doesn't seem to work. Any ideas?

Brian

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  1. Whatever package you bought should have directions printed on it, but if not, here ya go.

    1 cup rice
    1.5 cups water
    rinse the rice a few times, and then add the water. Bring it to a boil uncovered on the stove. Once it boils, give it a quick stir, cover, and turn the heat to the lowest setting possible. Set a timer for 20 minutes and walk away. When the timer dings, turn off the heat and leave the pot alone for another 5 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve.

    If this is too much rice, refrigerate the unused portion, covered, and use it within a week.

    14 Replies
    1. re: tzurriz

      Exactly right, at least to my mind. Perhaps a pinch of salt, too.

      1. re: tzurriz

        tsurriz: 20 minutes for 1 cup or rice? What kind of rice, and what does the end product look like?

        I cook rice at least 2-3 times a week for my family, and for 2 cups basmati rice (=4 cups water) on the stovetop, I need maximum 10 minutes after it comes to a boil and I turn it down.

        I get perfect fluffy separate fully cooked grains each time. If I cook for longer it becomes mushy.

        1. re: Rasam

          What do you do with your rice after the 10 minutes to prevent further cooking?

          There is nothing unusual about tzurriz's 20 minutes. One possibility is that it takes longer to bring your 4c of water to a boil, and thus more cooking has occurred by the time you turn the heat down. In my experience, mushiness is more the result of too much water, not too much time at low heat. With the exception of a rissotto type of preparation (which leaves the rice wet, even soupy), letting rice sit longer at low heat or just covered off the heat, does not adversely affect the texture.

          1. re: paulj

            What do I do with the rice? We eat it :) The only "resting" that happens is while everyone gets to the table.

            I use a pot with a vented lid so that even at the lowest heat setting I don't have steam and starchy water climbing out of the pot and running down the side.

            I've never had undercooked rice, but your explanations all sound plausible.

            I never salt or butter my rice, because it's used to mix with the other dishes (dal, Thai curry, whatever) which have plenty of salt in them anyway. The only time I salt the rice if I am making pulao or similar.

          2. re: Rasam

            20 minutes no matter how much rice. I make rice regularly also, 3 times a week is not uncommon. mine is fluffy separate grains and I've never once had mushy. If I'm short even a minute, I get undercooked, crunchy rice. My pot, my stove. /shrug. YMMV.

            1. re: Rasam

              20 minutes plus a 5 minute rest is the standard recipe you find on every bag fo rice out there. Perhaps basmati takes less time to cook?

              I concur with spot. you need a little salt in rice. I suspect tzurriz just forgot to mention it.

              I use 2 cups water but I don't rinse. If you rinse 4 or 5 times, you need to reduce the water down to 1.5 cups.

              I have considered a rice cooker but the stovetop method is so easy, I have never gotten around to it. Besides, the rice cookers I have seen are for pretty large quantites of rice.

              1. re: Hank Hanover

                I find the salt is optional based on how I'm serving the rice. If it is a side dish by itself, then salt and even a bit of butter or oil. If it's an ingredient in something else, or a base (like for gumbo or curry) then no salt is required.

                I just went and looked at my bag of rice. I'm cooking basmati these days.

                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  I make basmati all the time -- I don't set a timer, but I let it simmer until the water is gone (I have glass lids for my pots and pans) -- and it's usually about 20 minutes, and the rice is light and fluffy.

              2. re: tzurriz

                This [tzurriz's first reply] is the method I use, except that I only cook the rice on low for 12-13 minutes instead of 20. Then I turn the heat completely off and let the rice rest for 20 minutes.

                The water should be just absorbed at the 12-13 in. mark. The turning off of the heat during the last part means it never gets overcooked or burned.

                1 to 1.5 rice/water ratio
                Bring to boil; turn heat to lowest possible and cook 12 minutes.
                Turn off heat and let rest 20 minutes.

                I have found this to work with pretty much all kinds of white rice.

                1. re: tzurriz

                  I think you mean 2 cups of water? 1.5 is not enough....

                  . I just did your method and the water was not enough....Microwave rice is much easier..have you tried it...? Since our microwave broke, we now have to do stove top rice..and our rice ends up getting mushy... what could we be doing wrong.. ? we put 1 cup of rice by using a regular cup...and we put two cups of water. the rice and water look like they meet so it could make it make it nice and good to eat.

                  1. re: shirleyod111

                    The water to rice ratio depends on the type of rice (and whether you rinse or not). American long grain, unwashed, usually requires a 2;1 ratio.

                    My latest rice purchase was broken jasmine. The package specified a 1.2: 1 ratio after rinsing.

                    In any case, adjust the water to suit your rice and cooking method. Depth of the pot, seal of the lid, and heat also affect the needed water ratio.

                    1. re: shirleyod111

                      Mushy rice tells me that you are probably using too much water. Like paulj said, YMMV depending on your elevation, the type or rice, the water, the pot, the lid, etc.

                      1. re: shirleyod111

                        If it's a white rice and not brown rice I used Lidia's ratio of 1 rice: 1.5 H20. Bring to boil and when the water is near the top of the rice, stir, cover and simmer for 15 min. Never failed me yet.

                        1. re: shirleyod111

                          I have always found the 1:1.5 ratio sufficient for:
                          --American long grain white rice
                          --Italian short grain converted rice (Riso Flora which is something like Uncle Ben's)
                          --Generic Asian white rice bought at an ethnic market
                          --"Perfumed" Thai rice bought both at a supermarket and in bulk
                          --Italian medium-grain white rice sold as "Riso Drago" (cultivar Ariete)

                          This is using a stovetop boil-then-simmer method for 10-12 minutes plus a 15-20 min. rest period.

                          The only place I use a 1:2 rice/water ratio is when I do pressure-cooker risotto with Arborio rice, which needs to be slightly soupy.

                          Of course YMMV and cook as you like!

                          When I use Arborio rice outside of the pressure cooker context, I don't really pay attention to the water/broth ratios and just go by the seat of the pants.

                          --
                          Scubadoo, I get it to a boil, then simmer very low, covered, for 10-15 minutes (usually I time 12), then I turn off the heat for 15-20 minutes and let everything "meld". This is in a pan with a heavy bottom, N.B.

                      2. I cook small amounts of rice on the stove (I've never had a rice cooker) -- you just need to use a fairly small pot so the water doesn't evaporate too quickly. Use the smallest covered pot you have. Bring one cup water to a boil, add a pinch of salt and half a cup of rice. When the water starts to boil again, put the lid on, lower the heat as far as you can and leave it for 15 minutes. Then turn the heat off and let it sit a few more minutes (it reabsorbs the steam).

                        You can also cook rice in the oven, and you can cook rice by throwing in a pot with lots of water and then draining it.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          That small amount cooks very well for one, yields approximately 11/2 cups of cooked rice. I've cooked less amounts in small shallow saute pans, 1/3 cup rice to 2/3 cup water, pinch of salt, covered, low heat until done. I usualy add a little butter to my rice while it's cooking.

                          Since there's just two of us, I use a full cup of rice to two cups water, 1 tsp salt, with leftovers good for a few days to a week.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            I guess I could use my really small pot. I just saw a video of people steaming their rice in a cup, seemed like it would be easier to do that way. I hate cleaning up the rice stuck to the pot. Anyway around this?

                            Brian

                            1. re: bshee

                              Soak the pot for a bit; the rice will come off, it's just carbs that loosen their grip on the pan. Ain't no biggie, unless you burn the rice, then you're really in a ricely mess. Besides, you have to wash the bowl you steamed the rice in, right?

                              I've never had much success with that steaming rice in a separate bowl in a pot method, but I have seen it done by using a strainer with the rice in it, suspended over the boiling water, with a strip of aluminum foil around the edge of the pot to seal it tightly. A tight seal is very important. It takes significantly longer time to cook rice by this method, than by boiling it, which is sometimes referred to as steamed rice also. The cooking time vs having to wash the pot is the trade off.

                              1. re: bshee

                                Cold water dissolves starch. Just soak the rice pot in cold water and all the stuck on will come loose.

                                1. re: bshee

                                  Also, I find that if I let rice sit for a few minutes after I turn the heat off the way I described the rice sticks much less to the pot. But yeah, a quick soak with warm water and a drop of dish soap will take it right off.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    I would second this. If you let the pot sit, covered, after turning off the heat, the grains on the bottom that might have gotten a little crunchy because they were closest to the heat source will have a chance to steam a bit and let go.

                              2. As an alternative to the steam method (which doesn't work well for single servings) you could try simply boiling the rice, like you would pasta.

                                Bring salted water to a boil, toss in your loose rice, cook until tender and drain. Depending on the rice you may want to rinse it first.

                                This won't work for sticky rice (Chinese or Japanese) but for Indian style it works pretty well, and you can make as little as you want.

                                For the stovetop steaming method, I do find it doesn't work well for amounts less than about a cup of rice, which is multiple servings for me. However, cooked rice freezes well, so you could cook several servings and freeze the extra for later.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                  I cook smaller amounts (1/2 cup, or even slightly less) on the stove, but you really need a small pot: if the surface area of the water is too big, it will boil away before the rice is cooked. Thrift stores are full of small non-stick pots you can pick up for a couple of dollars that work perfectly for small amounts of rice.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    Though for paella style rice, 1/2c of rice in a 10" diameter pot works fine. Yes there is more evaporation, but that can be handled by using more water (or broth). Of course this dish has a lot of other ingredients besides rice.

                                    But I agree that a smaller pot is nice to have when making modest amounts of rice. 1 1/2 qt is a good size, handling 1/2 to 1 c of rice.

                                    If I use the boil-like-pasta method, I drain the rice when still a bit firm, and then return it to the pot with some seasoning (like butter), and let if finish, steaming with the retained water.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      Also easy to find at your local Ross, TJ Maxx for probably $6-9...I have the best luck with the a nonstick interior and a tight fitting glass lid so I can keep an eye on the cooking rice. I have had several friends ask me what rice cooker I use and I always get one of these little pots for them.

                                      Does anyone use the finger method with the white Asian rice? I grew up putting my middle finger lightly on top of the rice, adding to just under the line of my first knuckle. I have never measured the amount of water to add to rice. By trial and error, I've also taught my friends to do this and they are all amazed.

                                      1. re: IndigoOnTheGo

                                        THANK YOU!!!! I have just realized why I always burn or under-do rice and can never seem to cook it properly. My Colombian stepmother told me to put rice in the pot and then fill with water to my first knuckle, but I never knew you were supposed to put your finger *on top* of the rice and then fill. I always put my finger on the bottom of the pot and then filled. Eureka!

                                        1. re: IndigoOnTheGo

                                          Can you explain? I don't quite understand how to do it.

                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                            This isn't my go to method, but Daisy Martinez's method does work - she does what she calls the "one inch- or two finger method" - same idea as IndigoOnTHeGo's first knuckle principle.

                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9mvvt...

                                            It also works without the oil and salt.

                                            1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                              My elderly Puerto Rican neighbor showed me the knuckle technique years ago. She used her thumb, and also an inch up a wooden spoon handle. I initally thought it was kind of wacky but I tried it and after I figured out just exactly where on my thumb the make or break line was, which was about an inch, it resulted in perfect rice. I only use it for white long grain, like Canilla or other Latino brands, seems to work best, along with salt and oil or butter for the sabor auténtico.

                                              Let the rice brown a bit on the bottom of the pot while steaming it, scrap off the "pegao" and eat, it's a special treat. Since the OP doesn't like cleaning rice stuck to the pot, which this really will be, I can't recommend he try this.;-)

                                              1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                Ah-- I see. I think my pointer and middle finger together are about an inch.

                                                1. re: jvanderh

                                                  Ok, well, I'd say mine are also, as is my thumb to the first knuckle, so try it out next time you prepare rice. It may take some trial and error, as IndigoOnTheGo stated, but it's easier than dragging out the scale or the measuring cups every time.

                                    2. For Asian steamed rice, use a narrow saucepan (no wider than it is tall). Add whatever quantity of rice you want but no less than a couple of inches worth and no more than half a pan full. Rinse the rice well (I rinse until the runoff is only slightly cloudy). Level the rice in the pan and cover by 1/2 to 3/4 inch of cold water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling until the water and the bubbles rising through the rice are no longer visible. Turn the heat to its lowest setting, cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff and serve. Any leftover rice keeps for days in the fridge and can be recycled into fried rice.

                                      For white Basmati rice, I usually cook it like pasta, dropping it into a copious amount of boiling salted water, boiling until just al dente and then draining in a strainer. I then transfer it to a fairly deep ovenproof dish, stir in a little butter or ghee, sometimes add a pinch of saffron threads and/or crushed sweet spices and/or dried fruits and nuts, and bake covered in a 325ºF for about 15 minutes.

                                      1. I have an old pressure cooker that doesn't get much use other than for beans and rice. For the rice, I have a round rack in the bottom, and a scant inch of water. The rice goes into a pyrex bowl with half again as much volume of water as there is rice. Pressure cook it for 15-20 minutes plus a natural release for brown rice that would normally take 40 minutes of simmering. A plus to this method is that the pressure cooker needs no washing, and the pyrex bowl does double duty, being used for serving and for refrigerating what's left over. I always make more than I need, while I'm at it, so that I can make fried rice in the coming days.

                                        1. I have just kind of mastered cooking rice on the top of the stove.
                                          One cup of rice (I don't rinse), 11/2 cup(s) water. Add a pat of butter and a pinch of salt.
                                          I also add 1 teaspoon of Better than Boullion. Bring to a boil. Stir and turn down stove to
                                          low. Take two paper towels and lay over top of pan. Cover pan tightly. Let cook on low for
                                          15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with fork and let sit for another 5 minutes.
                                          Excellent rice every tme. BTW, I learned everything about cooking great rice from here and
                                          ATK.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: mcel215

                                            cool, found a small pot and
                                            1. boiled water + rice (not covered)
                                            2. set it on low for 15 min (covered)
                                            3. turned off burner and let sit for 15 min (covered)

                                            golden. A little water left over though, maybe need to cook for longer for brown rice? Or less water. Tasted pretty good

                                            1. re: bshee

                                              Yeah, you need to cook brown rice a little longer.

                                          2. Hmmm.

                                            Well here's my method though I don't recall where it came from:

                                            One cup of rice in a mesh strainer. While rinsing the rice, I put one-half tbs of butter into my smallest saucepan. Turn the burner to medium, (actually, a little less) and let the butter melt whilst rinsing the rice.

                                            When rinsed and adequately drained, put the rice in the butter and stir to coat well and lightly toast. When done, it will be slightly crispy and each grain will be distinct. (Poor description, but the best I can do.)

                                            Cover with water to about twice the level of the rice. Let simmer uncovered until just after the little steam volcanoes disappear. (Again, best I can do, but you'll see what I mean.) This is really the only part you have to pay a lot of attention to. If it burns "you hafta start over".

                                            Anyway, once the little volcanoes are gone, slap the lid on and turn the burner to the lowest setting. Turn off burner after five minutes and let sit another ten.

                                            Looking at this typed, it sounds complicated, but it's really not.

                                            And you can personalize your rice by saute'ing a bit of green onion while heating the butter, (I often use turmeric while frying the rice), or use stock instead of H2O, chopped pecans...whatever.

                                            Try it once. If you hate it, you're only out $0.05 worth of rice!

                                            1. This is how you make rice on the stovetop. A real nice way! trust me on this one. I grew up in a house where this was how rice was made for years and learned from masters :D I make the following assumptions:

                                              1. The rice you're using is polished, meaning rinsing is unnecessary. If it was purchased in the United States you can be 99.9% sure you really shouldn't have to rinse, and that rinsing may in fact mess things up if the rinse is too light. I don't see why so many people rinse in the US.

                                              2. You're using white rice and NOT whole grain rice.

                                              Ok, here we go! The Definitive Guide to Making Stovetop Rice! It's a good algorithm.

                                              1. Get a saucepan/pan (one with a heavy-ish bottom (or tri-ply) is preferred to prevent burning) and put it on the stovetop.

                                              2. Add your rice, along with some (liquid) fat. Olive oil, canola oil, corn oil, veg oil, melted butter, it's all good. Mix to coat all kernels. You shouldn't need more than 1/2 teaspoon per cup of rice unless you're making jeera rice. This improves taste and prevents sticking.

                                              3. Add some salt. Adding salt and fat is crucial to having good rice IMO, especially if it is a less flavorful variety. Sea salt or kosher is best, but it really doesn't matter so long as you don't add too much.

                                              4. Add the appropriate amount of water, maybe mix once but don't mess with it after that until it's done. Doing so will likely mess things up. See notes below for water if the bag didn't come with directions.

                                              5. Turn on the heat to med/high until the water starts to boil with the lid off. Once it starts boiling, replace the lid and turn the flame/heat down to a low simmer. Then wait until the rice is done. Larger amounts of rice will naturally take longer, but check in maybe 10 min or so.

                                              Note: Now you know that something may be amiss if someone says always add a certain amount or ratio (for water). These differ for Basmati rice vs Jasmine vs Arborio vs Whole Grain, etc. I'd check the packaging. For basmati a 1.33 cup water/1 cup rice works for me, but for jasmine I go 2cups water/1 cup rice.

                                              This will yield tasty rice. Make adjustments if necessary. Sometimes when I get a new kind of rice my old "formula" didn't have enough water or had too much water, so I have to make an adjustment for the next batch. I'm kinda picky though.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: DukeOfSuffolk

                                                If the OP lives in the U.S., rinsing most white rice is not only unnecessary, but removes some of the nutritional value. If the package says the rice is "enriched" it has been coated with some of the vitamins lost when the bran was removed. Rinsing removes this coating.

                                                I don't know what other countries sell enriched rice.

                                              2. Lets be wary of making things too complicated. The OP is probably using the common (US) long grain rice. At least there's no indication of ethnic affinities that point to short grains, or extra long ones. Typical instructions for that rice are 2c water, 1c rice, no soak or rinse, 15-20 minutes at low heat.

                                                Ways of adapting include:
                                                - make that amount, and keep the leftovers in the fridge. Rice rewarms fine (stove top or micro), possibly with a little added water.
                                                - make smaller batches, e.g. 1/2c rice or even 1/4c. The water ratio may need tweaking.
                                                - if the rice isn't done when all the water has been absorbed, you can add some more water, and cook it some more (say 5min).

                                                A basic point on the water ratio. Most of the water is absorbed by the rice, but some is lost to evaporation. Relatively more is lost to evaporation is the surface to depth ratio is higher.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  Yeah, even if you're only cooking for one, there are so many things you can do with leftover rice. I use mine for stir fry but I have seen people add butter and sugar or maple syrup and eat it like porridge.

                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                    My favorite way to eat leftover rice (for breakfast) is with milk, coconut and some sugar, maybe a little vanilla. That's for white rice. Leftover brown rice is most delicious with buttermilk, honey and cinnamon.

                                                    1. re: csdiego

                                                      We have another use for leftover rice. Unfortunately our dog is on a special diet - but he is almost 14 years old. He has to eat a special kind of dog food for his liver and it gets mixed with rice and chicken broth and then microwaved for about 45 seconds for his dinner. So in our house, there is always rice in the fridge! We usually make 3-4 cups of rice at a time so it can last a little while.

                                                      1. re: boyzoma

                                                        Rice is also good for cat's diets.

                                                        1. re: boyzoma

                                                          Rice is great anytime a dog has an upset stomach, definitely.

                                                  2. Wow, I had no idea there was so much variation in the way people make rice!

                                                    One point that I don't think has been mentioned - I find that rice turns out better when it's been soaked for a while, so if you have time to do that before you cook it, I recommend it.

                                                    1. My basic method which is common to many Middle Eastern methods as well as Latin methods is to first fry the raw rice in a little oil. Just enough to coat the rice lightly. Basic ratio is 1 cup long grain rice to 1 1/2 cup water. The water is added to the rice and enough salt is added to make the water taste like seawater. The rice is cooked uncovered until the water level is just at the surface of the rice and then it is given one stir and covered and the heat lowered to a simmer. It is then simmered for 13-15 min and is removed from the heat. The rice is fluffed and then recovered with a tea towel or paper towel added between the lid and the pot to absorb steam and the rice is left to rest another 5-10 min.

                                                      1. My experience on stovetop cooking of long grain white rices:
                                                        - A rinse or two and a short soak are good insurance, but mandatory for me since I use mostly imported basmati.
                                                        - Two cups water to one of rice is a good start. I can get away with less water since I know my pot and small gas flame.
                                                        - 13 minutes after reaching simmer is my mantra. Once you reach temp, don't remove the lid. Get a reliable and Noisy electronic timer in case you get distracted.

                                                        However, I haven't cooked plain rice on the stovetop since I got my Microwave Rice Cooker.
                                                        One cup long grain rice, 1 3/4 cup water, 1/2 tsp salt, 12 minutes on high. Done!
                                                        Never, ever scorches! Easy to clean! Did I say Cheap?
                                                        Search for 'Progressive Microwave Rice Cooker', about $10 US.

                                                        8 Replies
                                                        1. re: DiveFan

                                                          Wow, so much information. I use brown, medium? grain rice I bought from the asian market. I soak the rice beforehand, and then sprout it for like a day or two. Gives it a nutty flavor. Is the coking of this that much different?

                                                          Brian

                                                          1. re: bshee

                                                            If you had mentioned brown rice at the start, you would have gotten a whole different set of responses.

                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                              Sorry,

                                                              Didn't know it was such a big deal. Duly noted.

                                                              Brian

                                                              1. re: bshee

                                                                Yup. 1.5 water:rice works great for one cup of white rice. For smaller amounts, you need 2:1 water:rice, and you have to keep an eye on it in case it needs more water, especially if you're not watching and it boils for more than a second. (The amount you lose to evaporation when it boils is a larger percentage with such a small amount). Brown rice is completely different. When I try to cook it the same way, it's still crunchy in the middle after 45 minutes on low. Adding water doesn't seem to help. Maybe someone can help us both out.

                                                                1. re: jvanderh

                                                                  Brown rice should be toothy but not crunchy. I go 2:1 on the water:rice ratio and 45 min is standard timing. I have never had to go over that

                                                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                    Maybe that's my issue. I have absolutely no interest in anything al dente.

                                                            2. re: bshee

                                                              brown rice takes at least twice as long to cook. Very different beastie than white rice.

                                                              1. re: bshee

                                                                It will depend on the variety of 'brown' rice.
                                                                If the hull is still intact like, say, 'California brown', it will take at least 45 minutes to cook.
                                                                I've had various 'brownish' Thai rices that require less time.
                                                                At any rate consult the instructions on the packaging.
                                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_rice

                                                                For such long cooking times, I'm hesitant to use the microwave. Electricity is getting expensive!

                                                            3. Place aluminum foil over the pot and cover it. It will turn out perfect.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: essense

                                                                wouldn't the foil act the same as the reflective metal lid of a pot? I've been taught to use something that absorbs the steam which will drip back onto the rice

                                                              2. This is how I would make just one and a half cups of Carolina brand rice (the smallest amount on the directions is for 3 cups)

                                                                BOIL one cup of water.

                                                                Add 1/2 cup of rice.

                                                                Stir

                                                                Turn the heat to the lowest and put on the lid

                                                                set a timer for 20 minutes

                                                                when the timer goes off take off the lid and remove from heat both asap

                                                                you now have perfect white rice

                                                                adjust the amounts f rice and water as desired

                                                                1. 1 c rice to 2 c water is what I do.

                                                                  Rinsing isn't necessary anymore. Just pour the rice in the pan, add the water, and on a low or low-medium heat, it should just be simmering with the lid on. Cook until it's done. That means if you bite a grain of rice there's no crunchiness left. Usually the first clue that it's done is the fact that it's absorbed all the water. I'm not sure how long it takes, I haven't timed rice in years. I usually actually shut the stove off before it's finished absorbing the water, when there's just a little bit left, and let it sit on the stovetop and finish cooking from the residual heat. You probably need to get a feel for cooking it before you try that.

                                                                  I do not salt my rice. If you're eating your rice "au natural" - that is, by itself with nothing like a curry or stir-fry to go with it - a pinch of salt would be ok. I don't bother though because I never eat it plain.

                                                                  I never soak the rice either and it comes out perfectly every time. I've been cooking it nearly every day for like 35 years though.

                                                                  1. What I would add to all the other advice (a variation on the paper towel thing already mentioned) is that I had the best results when I would tie a tea towel around the pot lid (like a little turban) when I got to the "cover the pot" stage.

                                                                    1. Found this linked on another thread:

                                                                      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

                                                                      I might have to try it.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jvanderh

                                                                        Baking rice works, aboslutely. Try it out, it tends to be easier and fluffs nicely, although with a longer cooking time than the stove top method. You can ramp up his recipe as well with add-ins.

                                                                        Rice PIlaf, anyone?

                                                                        A non brown rice variation:

                                                                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/go...

                                                                        1. re: jvanderh

                                                                          I was going to say alton brown claimed to have a good method for brown rice, there it is. If I were making brown rice I'd either go alton's way or follow package directions - brown basmati may cook differently then brown jasmine, etc.

                                                                        2. couldn't be easier.
                                                                          I had to cook for just myself for 14 months when I had to move away from the family for work. I cooked for me all the time and often times did rice for one. it's double water to rice. that's the norm. but I like a little less water cause I do not like mushy rice.
                                                                          you can use a 1/2 cup rice with a cup of water put lid on let steam on slow heat for 17 minutes and it'll work.
                                                                          have you ever thought of using a parboiled rice [I think it's called that] like Uncle Bens converted rice?
                                                                          There's a better chance of getting each rice piece be separate, so not mushy.

                                                                          put water in sauce pan that has a nice good fitting lid, add the rice, pinch salt and bring to boil. when it boils, put lid on, turn fire way down and cook for about 17 minutes, take lid off, fluff the rice, done..........or water in, rice in, salt, lid on, simmer on low about 20 minutes.

                                                                          1. Try adding aromatics to the water for excellent flavour. My favourites are bay leaves, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, fresh lemon or lime juice. I also sometimes cook my rice in carrot juice instead of water - tastes very good and offers something a bit different.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: chefathome

                                                                              also crushed garlic clove you can pick out after (or not). and/or tsp. tomato paste. or use bouillon instead of water. or sub half of water with coconut milk.

                                                                              my ratio has always been 1 c. rice, scant 2-1/3 cups liquid.

                                                                            2. funny how everyone has their own ratios -- I always have 2 water: 1 rice...it turns out every time, so I'm of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mindset.

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                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                Ratios also depend on the quantity and pot. A large amount of rice in a deep pot will have (relatively) less evaporation, and thus require a lower ratio of water, than smaller amount of rice cooked in shallow layer. The extreme case of a shallow layer is paella, where it should only be about 1/2" thick, and is (traditionally) cooked without a lid.

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  Try lifting the lid off during cooking and be amazed that nothing happens. Ha.

                                                                                  1. re: Grosso

                                                                                    I've done it many times -- the rice still turns out fluffy and tender every time. (I've even been complimented on my fluffy rice by the mother of a Colombian pal of mine -- I counted that as high praise)

                                                                                2. I grew up before there were rice cookers, which I still consider non-essential. We made rice every day in Louisiana, like most people did (and probably still do). Pick the method you like from the ones here, but know that every stove and every pot is different. A common saying of my mother when making rice, was "...and an extra half cup of water for the pot." My Aunt's stove/pot only needed an extra "slurp" of water. So if the method you choose is underdone the first time, try extra water next time. If the rice is watery, try less. If you stick with one brand of rice, you'll soon know exactly how much water works. BTW, I think the most important aspect is to leave the lid on that pan. Oh, we got in such trouble if we lifted the lid of the rice pot. Resist the impulse to peek before the timer goes off.

                                                                                  1. Try microwave rice.....it's so much easier......

                                                                                    1. Leftover rice is also a good addition to many many kinds of soups. You can stash it in the freezer and dump it straight into your soup. Leftover rice is also good for fried rice - better than fresh, in fact. (If frozen you have to thaw before using in fried rice.)

                                                                                      1. Sometimes I cook rice in the oven like alton brown (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...) but when I do it on the stove, I put the rice in the pot first, toast it up a little bit, add salt and olive oil/butter and shake it around, and then add water (1:1 ratio). Let it boil, turn the heat down, cover and simmer until done.

                                                                                        1. Forgive me-- I haven't read through the whole thread-- but someone recently recommended to me boiling in a lot of water for like half an hour (until almost cooked) then draining, covering, and steaming on low. It sounded like a good option to me.

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                                                                                          1. re: jvanderh

                                                                                            In the method you described you are cooking rice like you would pasta. It works fine. I find it lacks some flavor that is lost in the large volume of water but otherwise it does work.

                                                                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                              sorta, but you drain it and put it back on low heat. I guess you'd have to oversalt the water, but I wouldn't care about losing 'rice flavor.'

                                                                                            2. re: jvanderh

                                                                                              With basmatti rice, I find that 10 minutes of boiling is enough. I like to drain before the rice is completely tender, and let it steam to perfection. In India flavorings are added at this second stage, whether simple ones like salt and butter (ghee), or fancy ones like well flavored cooked meat (biryani).

                                                                                            3. When using jasmine I use 2-1 ratio
                                                                                              I bring the water to a rolling boil, so the water evaporates a bit, add the rice let it cook on low for about 10 minutes, turn it off and its ready in another 10.

                                                                                              With long graing rice, less water and a spoonful of butter to the water. 1/34 cup water- 1 c of rice. I find the rices cook differently, and it depends if you like moist rice or dryer.