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Preparing the perfect cooked rice is one of this world’s greatest challenges for a lot of people. Whether you are cooking white rice, long grain brown rice, wild rice or rice for your rice pudding, cooking rice can be a tricky task to get accurate.
Despite this, rice is a staple food in almost all cuisines, and many people do know how to prepare the perfect cup of rice. So, I have had a little look into this, with plenty of trial and method, and come to the conclusion that there are many factors that contribute to how to cook rice perfectly.
So, if turning your dry rice into the perfect, sticky yet grainy, flavorful yet moist rice is something you desire, then look no further than this article. I am going to take you on a journey through using the materials, the correct process and the ideal list of ingredients to create a cup of rice better than any rice you have ever tasted before!
Table of Contents
- How to Prep the Perfect Rice
- Cooking the Rice
- Let the Rice Rest
- Using a Microwave
- Storing Your Rice
- Reheating Your Rice
- Final Thoughts
How to Prep the Perfect Rice
For the purpose of keeping numbers simple, the following recipe will help you to make 1 cup of rice, but for a quarter cup, simply divide by 4 or use this recipe to serve 4 people. It will also be for plain, white rice, but it is a similar process for just about any kind of rice.
- 1 cup white rice, long grain
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon butter or your choice of oil
- Pinch of salt
- Heavy-bottomed, medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid
- Medium frying pan
- Metal strainer (optional)
Begin by rinsing your uncooked rice in cold water and then heat up half of your butter or oil in a frying pan. add your uncooked rice and let it toast. This allows the starch to begin to cook and releases a nutty aroma that gives your rice a really tasty and unique flavor.
This also means your rice will be less sticky and helps to separate the grains as the starch is cooked from the surface. This gives a more even cook throughout the rice so that you have an even texture and don’t end up left with any chewy bits. You can find out more about this process here.
Cooking the Rice
If you do not own a rice cooker, these steps will help you achieve a result that is just as good, if not better!
Empty the rice into a medium saucepan and add your two cups of water and the rest of your butter or oil. Over a medium to high heat, bring it all to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Once it is all boiling, lower the heat to a medium heat and pop the lid on top to allow it to simmer for around 15 minutes.
Depending on the meal, you can use basic water or you can use stock in place of the water with the same rice to water ratio. This adds extra flavor as the rice absorbs it as it cooks. You can use any stock, from vegetable to beef, but try to go with a flavor that will match the rest of the meal.
If cooking with stock instead of cups of water, you may not need to add salt as stock can often taste quite salty already.
Let the Rice Rest
The cooking time may vary depending on how much rice you cook, but if you keep the water to rice ratio correct then it should be around 15 minutes before you let the rice rest.
Once you have cooked rice but it is still a little wet, turn off the heat and move the pot of rice from the stove top onto a cool surface or an unused stove top. keep the rice covered with a lid and allow it to sit for around five minutes. This part of the cooking method allows the rice to absorb the remaining water without it evaporating and the rice water will evenly distribute in the rice so that the bottom layer is just as fluffy as the top.
Fluff up the rice using a fork and then use the fork to place rice onto a serving dish. You should have a light, delicious and tasty rice that is ready to eat!
If you do have any excess water, you can strain the rice at the point of resting. Add about an inch of water to the pot and sit the strainer of rice on top. Cover this with the lid. Allow this to steam for about 15 to 20 minutes. The steam from the water will heat through the rice, and similar to when the rice is resting in the step above, this will evenly distribute moisture throughout the rice to give it a nice, fluffy finish.
If you are cooking brown rice you may need to add slightly more water and cook for about 10 more minutes.
Using a Microwave
If you would rather use a microwave to cook rice, it isn’t too dissimilar to the steps above. Again, use the list of ingredients to make one cup of rice. If you need more than 1 cup of rice or less, simply alter the ratio of water to ensure the rice to water ratio remains the same.
Start by washing and lightly toasting the rice the same as above. Then combine all of the ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl or container- add one cup of rice, your cups of water or stock, the butter or oil and a pinch of salt. cover this with the lid for the bowl or container and cook on a high temperature (based on 1200 watts) until the rice starts to boil. This should take approximately 5 minutes, but again it will depend on how much you are making.
Give this a mix and then cook at a medium heat for 15 minutes if you are cooking regular long-grain rice. allow slightly longer for brown rice as this could take up to 30 minutes.
Allow this to rest for 5 minutes whilst the rice absorbs the rest of the water. Keep the lid on for this so that the steam doesn’t escape. This will also help to keep the cooked rice hot.
Make sure you are careful when handling the bowl, as it will be hot. remove the lid and your rice is ready to serve!
Storing Your Rice
1 cup of rice is probably enough to serve around 4 people, depending on how hungry you are. If you only need to make two servings then you can save the remaining rice in a covered, air-tight container or bowl for 2 to 3 days.
Reheating Your Rice
To reheat the rice, add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover your rice and heat on the stove for about 5 minutes, or alternatively play the rice back in the microwave dish and cook on high for about one minute.
Make sure you only reheat the rice one and make sure you are reheating it until it is piping hot throughout to ensure it is safe to eat.
To make 1/4 cup of rice, you are better to work with a recipe or one cup and to save the leftovers for the next day.
Begin by toasting your rice to release some extra, unique flavors. Then go on to boiling your rice with the correct rice to water ratio, or alternatively you can add some extra flavor by using stock in place of the water.
Make sure you include a resting time to make your rice extra fluffy and once it has reached this point you are ready to serve!
You can cook rice in a microwave or on a stove top, but the method will slightly differ.
Finally, make sure to store your rice safely and when reheating it, ensure it is piping hot throughout.
For such a basic but difficult to cook food, you now have the perfect method to get it exactly how you love it!
How long do I cook 1/4 cup of rice?
Once boiling you will need to cook the rice for about 15 minutes if using regular long grain rice. Then you will need to allow around 5 minutes for the rice to rest.
How much water do you need to cook 1/2 a cup of rice?
For 1/2 cup of rice you will need around 1.5 cups water.
How do I cook 1/4 cup of rice in the microwave?
You need to add all of the ingredients into a microwavable container and cook on a high heat for five minutes and then on a medium heat for a further 15 minutes. This will may longer depending on the type of rice you are using. Once done, allow the rice to rest for 5 minutes before removing and serving.
What is the correct ratio of water to rice?
You need around 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of uncooked rice. This will vary depending on the type of rice you use.