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How to cook rice for 20-30 people?

loraxc Aug 7, 2011 09:03 AM

I am making beans and rice as part of the menu for a party. How do I make rice for this many? I usually cook rice on the stove (no rice cooker)--can I multiply amounts and have it turn out okay? Also, thoughts on keeping it warm? Maybe I shouldn't bother--this is a casual party from 5-8 and people will arrive at different times....

I have this ISSUE with rice, as well...I tend to mess it up. I am a really experienced cook, so I don't know why rice is an enemy of mine, but it is. I like to blame my electric stove as well as the fact that I usually buy whatever rice is cheapest in the bulk bins at the natural food store. I do find I have better luck if I buy bagged rice.

  1. c
    calliope_nh Aug 16, 2011 03:42 PM

    I think Taylor Rental will lease hotel pans you can use in the oven.

    1. a
      acgold7 Aug 16, 2011 03:38 PM

      Rice cookers are great but a good one big enough to make rice for 30 people will set you back 2-300 bucks, which is a lot for a one-time use. Stick with the oven method and use Uncle Ben's, which is designed for buffet use and to be held at serving temperature for long periods of time and not to stick together. Just follow the package instructions and it will come out fine. Go to the Uncle Ben's Foodservice website for large quantity oven method instructions.

      1. t
        threetix Aug 7, 2011 09:45 PM

        Hi loraxc.Cooking rice was always a problem for us until we bought a rice cooker.Foolproof to say the least.Equal amounts of rinsed quality rice (Jasmine or Basmati for example) and water or broth.Put the lid on,flick the switch & perfect rice every time.We are a family of 3 so we bought a small Panasonic from a local Asian supermarket but larger ones (Crockpot size) are also available.The cooked rice also stays warm for quite some time & clean up is a breeze.Certainly worth the small investment for good rice every time.Check out this link for more info:www.rice-cooker-guide.com/
        Hope this helps with your party & in the future.

        1. greygarious Aug 7, 2011 12:10 PM

          You can make rice as you would pasta, in a big pot with copious amounts of salted water. Bring water to a boil, add rice, lower to an active simmer, and stir occasionally until just about as tender as you like. Then pour through a strainer. Unless you have a very large one, as the strainer fills up, empty the strained rice into a big bowl and repeat until pot is empty. Then put a little water into the pot, over low heat, and keep the bowl in it to keep rice hot until you need it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: greygarious
            loraxc Aug 7, 2011 05:41 PM

            I've read about this technique but it seems so weird to me! Have you tried it?

            1. re: loraxc
              greygarious Aug 7, 2011 06:20 PM

              It is the standard way to cook rice in some cultures, and is particularly good if you want the grains to be separate. I don't usually do it that way because I generally make rice with stock and that would be a waste.

              1. re: loraxc
                biondanonima Aug 8, 2011 11:20 AM

                My mother occasionally makes rice this way and it does work, but you have to be somewhat careful. If you boil the rice at a hard boil (the way you would pasta) for too long, it will make the grains burst, resulting in an awful texture. My mother is not the most careful cook and I've eaten many a plate of rice at her house that had been ruined this way, because she was in a hurry or forgot to lower the heat. If you're careful, though, it works great.

            2. Berheenia Aug 7, 2011 11:36 AM

              I would buy Uncle Ben's and follow the package directions. Maybe make 2 batches. I have an electric stove too which I hate so you have my sympathy with that issue. You have to re-learn cooking!

              1. n
                Nyleve Aug 7, 2011 09:38 AM

                I often have to cook large quantities of rice for a soup kitchen. The best way to do this is in the oven. Buy good rice - don't get the cheapest stuff - decent basmati or jasmine rice will produce a better textured product. For the soup kitchen I use whatever they happen to have, which is usually converted rice (almost foolproof but a sort of funny texture). Use your usual proportion of liquid to rice (I like 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups liquid). Preheat the oven to 350. Place the rice in a large baking pan. Bring liquid to a boil and add to rice. Cover pan tightly with foil and place in the oven to bake. This should take between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on the rice. Check after 30 minutes - if the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed, it's done.

                As for keeping it warm, what you can do is leave the main pan in the oven, covered and with the oven turned down to 150o. Refill a serving bowl from time to time with warm rice. Or use a crock pot for serving.

                Note: instead of water, you can use broth or a mixture of canned coconut milk and water. Also can add a bit of butter or some sauteed vegetables for flavour.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Nyleve
                  shanagain Aug 7, 2011 09:56 AM

                  You can also skip boiling the water and just bake. Don't forget to salt your water, btw.

                  1. re: shanagain
                    Nyleve Aug 7, 2011 10:02 AM

                    I know that's true, but heating the water before putting the whole business into the oven will speed the cooking. And yes, you're right about the salt. Forgot to mention.

                    1. re: Nyleve
                      loraxc Aug 7, 2011 05:42 PM

                      I seem to remember trying the oven method once and having it take forever. I don't think I boiled the water first, so maybe that was why. Thanks!

                    2. re: shanagain
                      pdxgastro Aug 7, 2011 08:14 PM

                      Not everyone puts salt in their rice.

                      1. re: pdxgastro
                        dmjordan Aug 17, 2011 01:16 PM

                        And not everyone omits it either.

                    3. re: Nyleve
                      loraxc Aug 16, 2011 01:31 PM

                      Post-party, I have to thank you for this--it worked just perfectly, though it took more like 40 minutes.

                      1. re: loraxc
                        Nyleve Aug 16, 2011 01:51 PM

                        Oh great to hear. And - yes, as I said it might take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, so you were definitely in the ballpark. Thanks for reporting back.

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