“How to cook rice” is a popular search query for Brits, as many don’t know how to get perfect rice every time. Too much water and you could end up with a mushy mess, and cooking too long can cause a layer of rice to burn at the bottom of your pan. Not to mention that there are different types of rice, each with slightly different cooking requirements. Luckily rice expert and chef Peter Sidwell out CookServeEnjoy shared his top tips for making beautiful, fluffy rice — and how there’s only one type of rice that needs cooking.
How to cook basmati rice
“Basmati is a flavorful long-grain rice that’s often used in Indian cooking,” says Peter. “It’s light and fragrant, making it the perfect accompaniment to savory dishes to soak up those incredible flavors.”
1. Use the right ratio – The right ratio of rice to water for basmati is 1:1½. So if you’re cooking enough for two people, use 1 cup (200 g) of rice to 1½ cups (375 ml) of water.
2. Use the absorption method – This involves adding water and rice to a saucepan and simmering over low heat until the rice absorbs all the liquid.
3. Use a Pan Lid – A tight-fitting lid helps retain all of the heat and steam in the pan and cooks the grain evenly and effectively.
4. Simmer for 12-15 minutes – Smaller batches are ready in 12 minutes, but if you’re cooking for guests it can take up to 15 minutes.
5. Don’t lift the lid – Don’t be tempted to peek and lift the lid, the vapor needs to stay trapped inside to work its magic.
6. Let it rest for 10 minutes – remove the pot from the heat and let it rest with the lid on for 10 minutes.
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How to cook brown rice
Peter explained, “Brown rice is a whole grain. It’s whole because it contains both the bran and germ parts of the grain, and those extra parts make it tougher and tougher than white rice.”
Use the right ratio – Use 8 cups (2 liters) of water for every cup (200g) of brown rice you cook. Brown rice requires a little more water to soak than other types of rice.
Try the cooking method – Brown rice can be cooked using the absorption method, but some find the cooking method works best. To do this, the grains are boiled in a pot with water until they are cooked and then drained. Think of it like boiling pasta.
Leave the pan uncovered – If using the boil method, skip the pan lid and leave it uncovered while it cooks.
Cook for 30 minutes – Keep the temperature constant so the pot doesn’t overcook and add more water if it looks like it’s going to be low.
Pass the grains through a sieve – After the grains have cooked, drain the pot using a fine mesh strainer or colander.
Let sit for 10 minutes – After draining, return the grains to the now empty pot, cover with a lid and let sit before serving.
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How to cook jasmine rice
“Jasmine rice is a long-grain white rice, a popular combination for many East Asian dishes,” commented Peter. “Often confused with regular white rice, you can recognize (or smell!) jasmine by its aroma.”
1. Use Proper Ratio – Use the 1:1¼ ratio of rice to water: one cup (200g) of rice to 1¼ cups (310mL) of water, to serve two people.
2. Use the absorption method – With the lid on, simmer the jasmine rice on low to allow the grains to absorb the water.
3. Use a pan lid – to keep the heat and steam inside the pot.
4. Simmer for 12 minutes – Jasmine rice is naturally softer than other types of rice, so you don’t have to cook it as long as other types of rice.
5. Don’t lift the lid – Keep all the heat and steam in the pan to cook the rice.
6. Leave for 10 minutes – Leave for 10 minutes with the lid closed and turn off.
How to cook pilau rice
“Pilau is a simple rice dish with a bright yellow color; The distinctive gold tone comes from natural spices that enrich the grains with a mild, spicy taste,” reveals the expert.
1. Choose Your Flavors一Pilau rice is made by cooking basmati rice with a choice of flavors. Every cook has their own preferences, but onions, cumin, cardamom pods, cloves, turmeric, and bay leaves are common.
2. Use the Right Ratio一 Use a 1:2 ratio of rice to water when preparing basmati for pilau rice.
3. Fry the Flavors First一 Always start by frying your flavorings in butter, oil, or ghee before stirring in your basmatic grains and boiling water.
4. Cover with a lid一 Cook the rice with a lid and the absorption method on low for 10-15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
5. Let it sit for five minutes 一 Let the pan sit off the stove for five minutes with the lid on.
How to cook sticky rice
“Sticky rice is also known as ‘Thai sticky rice,’ ‘sticky’ or ‘sweet’ rice,” said Peter. “And as you can probably guess, when cooked, it has a gooey, glue-like texture.
“That makes mixing dumplings and clinging to flavors in many sweet and savory dishes a dream.”
1. Soak Grains Before Cooking一 Sticky rice grains need to be soaked overnight or up to 24 hours before cooking. This helps soften the grain’s outer shell and give it a tender but distinctly chewy texture.
2. Use Proper Ratio – Use a 1:1¾ rice to water ratio with 1 cup (200g) of rice and 1¾ cups (425mL) of water.
3. Try the absorption method, but leave the pan lid at an angle – To cook sticky rice, place the lid on the pan at an angle so that the pot is partially covered. Steam should be able to escape through the small gap.
4. Simmer for 10 minutes – keep the temperature low until all the water is absorbed.
5. Leave for 10 minutes – Place the lid flat so it completely covers the pan and leave for 10 minutes.
Regarding the shelf life of rice after preparation, Peter said: “Cooked and safely refrigerated rice should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours.
“Longer and potential bacterial growth can pose a health risk — even if it’s been refrigerated.”
And for anyone wanting to reheat rice, Peter said: “There is nothing dangerous about reheating rice: it just needs to be cooled quickly after cooking.
“When reheating, be sure to spread out the rice; Don’t try to heat it up in a big bunch.
“It should be on a plate and in as thin a layer as possible. This allows it to be heated up quickly and efficiently.”