How to: Cook Perfect Rice Every Time

How to: Cook Perfect Rice Every Time

There was a long period of my life where I was afraid to delve into Asian cuisines. It was not the strange ingredients or new flavors, no–it was simple ineptitude at cooking rice that kept me from exploring these amazing foods.

Whenever I tried to cook rice it would come out either crunchy or gummy. I simply could not get it right. I tried all sorts of different techniques, different ratios, and nothing worked. Eventually, my roommate bought a rice cooker and I was able to sweep that trouble under the rug and start learning about rice-focused cuisines.

Flash forward a few years, and we are getting ready to move into a bus. In our tiny kitchen, a rice cooker is not really something we can afford. We wouldn’t want to use the electricity to run it, and it takes up way too much space for an appliance with only one purpose. With no other options, it was time to face down my demons and learn to cook rice on the stovetop.

I went into it scared that I would be back to that place where I simply could not produce good rice, and all my hard-won cooking skills and delicious dishes would be wasted when paired with a wad of mushy (and somehow also crunchy) rice. I am very happy to say that I quickly learned the trick, and can now make perfect rice every time with hardly a thought about it. And now I get to share that with you as well.

Here’s how it works:


Bowl of Perfect Rice


Tips & Tricks:
-Use 50% more water than you do rice. 1 cup of rice should be cooked with 1.5 cups of water. 1.5 cups of rice should be cooked with 2.25 cups of water.
-Salt the water. I don’t like to give measurements for salt because of how widely personal preference varies, so you will need to figure out the specifics for yourself, but add some salt to the cooking water.
-Don’t worry about rinsing the rice. Just drop it in your saucepan and add the water and salt.

Cooking Directions:
-With the rice and salted water in the pot, give it a stir and start over medium-low heat with a lid on.
-When the water reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and keep covered. Try not to peek in, as this lets out some moisture. It is okay to peek a bit, but once you have the hang of it, you won’t need to look.
-Simmer on low for 10 minutes. If the lid is bouncing, feel free to let a little bit of steam out, but mostly just let it go.
-After it has simmered for 10 minutes, remove from heat and keep covered an additional 10 minutes at least. This steaming time is the big secret, the big mistake I used to always make. You can leave it in that pot for an hour if you need to, but leave it for at least 10 minutes. This time allows it to fully hydrate, so there is no water left and your rice is perfectly plump.
-Fluff with a fork and enjoy.

That’s all there is to it, folks. Bring the covered pot to a gentle boil, simmer for 10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to steam for 10 more, and voila: perfect rice every time.

Now you can focus on what you are going to serve it with (hint: there are lots of good options on this website).

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