Rice is dead easy to cook, right? Maybe, but we’ve all experienced badly cooked rice. Here’s the perfect serving of rice according to PAT PILCHER.
Ask anyone who has spent any time in Southeast Asia, and they’ll know how good rice can be. Fluffy, light, fragrant and tasty rice is just part of the everyday eating experience there. Sadly, so few of us Kiwis (me included) know how to cook rice so its light and tasty.
Here’s the thing. Rice might look easy to cook, but getting it right isn’t as simple as you’d think. Fed up with my own bland, starchy efforts, I put in the hard yards, and did the research. After trying several different ways of cooking rice, I stumbled upon this method which stands head and shoulders above the others. It is both simple and consistently produces excellent results. Best of all, it doesn’t need a fancy pants rice cooker.
Here’s my step-by-step guide for cooking a perfect serve of rice.
The rice cooking trick I’m hooked on is called the absorption method. It works with most rice and produces perfectly fluffy rice.
- 200g Basmati, Jasmine, short-grained or Brown rice (the cook times for each different type of rice will vary in step 3)
- Water (use twice the amount of water to the rice. e.g. 1 cup of rice needs 2 cups of water)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 rinse: Tip the rice into a sieve. Rinse it under cold water, moving the rice about with your hands, so it gets a good wash. This step gets rid of extra starch and can stop your rice from becoming a gluey gooey mess. As the starch washes off the rice, the water will look cloudy. Keep washing until the water runs clear (this should take 2-4 minutes). Once this step is complete, set the rice aside for 5 minutes to Drain.
- Cook: Add the rice into a heavy-based pot, making sure you have a tight-fitting lid. Using a heavy-based pot helps stop the rice from sticking and/or burning. A tight-fitting lid keeps moisture/steam in the pot where it can be absorbed by the rice. Pour in the water. Use twice as much water as you’ve used rice (e.g. 1 cup rice, will require 2 cups water). Don’t season the water with salt – salt can limit the amount of water that the rice can absorb and prevent it from cooking properly.
- Simmer: Bring the water to a boil. Once the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to your stove’s lowest setting and simmer. Using the pot lid, cover the rice. If cooking basmati or jasmine rice, simmer the rice for 12-15 minutes. For brown rice simmer for 25 minutes. For short-grain rice simmer for 15-18 minutes. (while it is cooking, do not lift the lid or stir the rice). After the specified time, the rice will have absorbed most of the water and should look cooked.
- Stand: Take the pot off the stove. Leave it to stand and keep the lid on the pot. Leave for 5–10 minutes (both brown and short-grained rice will need closer to 10 minutes). This allows all the moisture to be absorbed, so the rice has a consistent texture.
- Fluff: Removing the lid, Season with salt to taste. Gently give it a stir with a fork or chopstick to fluff the starch on the outside of the rice.
Serve and enjoy!