One of my best friends recently moved over to the States and she is a self-proclaimed kitchen noob. Now that she has more time on her hands, she’s starting to spend more time in the kitchen, with my blog to keep her company (I have wonderful friends who put way too much faith in me). Just yesterday she asked me how to cook rice without a rice cooker and not burn it. Her question reminded me of a conversation I once had. Someone told me that he judges how good a cook someone is, by how well that person cooks rice – without a rice cooker. And although I don’t think that’s entirely fair, I do agree he has a good point. But I might be biased because I don’t own a rice cooker and I make perfect rice *wink*
It’s not difficult at all to cook rice in a regular pot but it does take some practice. The trick is to turn the heat off at just the right moment. Turn it off too soon and you’ll undercook the rice. Turn it off too late and you’ll burn the rice. God knows how many pots of rice I’ve burnt when I first started cooking. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon be a master at it.
That being said, there are many different types of rice and each variety is cooked differently to achieve different results. The technique described below is for Thai long grain rice, also known as Hom Mali rice or Jasmine rice. This method will work with pretty much any rice, e.g. glutinous, sushi or brown but you’ll need to adjust the rice to water ratio.
I’ll sign off now with a declaration of my love for rice. I loooooove rice. I need rice. I can do without bread or potatoes but I cannot live without rice. You’ve seen proof of that here, here and here. Most asian dishes are designed to go with rice. Eaten on their own, most dishes are too salty, spicy or overwhelming. But paired with rice, they become perfect and addictive. My hips will attest to that.
Steamed white rice
Serves 3 – 4
- 1¾ cup Thai Hom Mali rice (Jasmine rice)
- 2 cups water
- Wash the rice to remove excess starch and any impurities, drain and repeat. Do this 3-4 times until the water is almost clear. You can keep going till it actually turns clear if you like but that takes forever and way too much water. Three times is adequate.
- Place the rice and water in a pot, with a tight-fitting lid, and bring it to a boil on your stove’s highest setting.
- Allow it to boil for 1-2 minute then turn the heat down to the lowest setting. If the water boils over, lift the lid off for a second and put it back on. You may also leave the lid ajar until it settles down, at which point you must immediately put it back on proper again.
- Continue cooking until you don’t see anymore liquid bubbling, then turn the heat off and leave it to sit for 20 minutes. Once you’ve turned the heat off, DO NOT lift that lid again until it’s time.
- Fluff the rice with a spatula before serving.