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  • Tanisha Phanbuh

The rice thing to do

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

#tinytips Did your rice turn to mush or was it undercooked? Common cooking mistakes - how to cook rice right

We have all had initial trouble with measurements with cooking rice. We've also seen the viral video of Uncle Roger reacting to the cooking of rice. Jokes aside, coming from a region that is majorly a rice eating populace, here is how I get it right every time.

No measurement tools required

Yup, you heard that right! Don't get me wrong, I am a stickler when it comes to measuring and measurements in baking and patisserie because it is a science and needs precision. I also do believe in instinctive cooking which is also very me. In this case, rice is part of my everyday instinctive cooking and hence, no tools!

What are you using to cook rice?

The vessel you use can make all the difference apart from the obvious which is water & timing. So first things first, let's begin with the utensil then we move to the amount of water and the cooking time.

Starting with the oldest way, rice being cooked in an open pot or utensil over fire/the stove requires some attention; keeping check on the water level or the degree of doneness or having to drain excess water. This sounds like quite some effort but it is a healthier way as you drain off excess starch released during the cook. Most people controlling their #diet can swear by this.

Next, the pressure cooker, an invention that speeds up cooking time by half. It is a blessing when you need to cook red meat in a hurry to break down the protein but in the case of rice, the timing has to be precise or else you could land up with overly browned or burnt rice at the bottom and no, not in a nice way like a #tahdig

Type 3 - the rice cooker - used by most Asian households, this device is great because it cooks rice perfectly every time and also works as a veggie steamer amongst others. The most basic models come with a single tab/button for hot & warm. When the rice is done it flicks automatically to the warm mode which keeps the cooked rice warm for as long as you leave the power on.

Lastly, the microwave. Yes, I am aware there are many arguments about the pros & cons of using a microwave to cook food or using one at all! Though, in my personal experience the microwave has helped when I wanted to stay away from standing in the kitchen frozen during 2-4° winters or when I stayed in a tiny 200 sq.ft space or when I was ill and alone; I'll elaborate on those stories later.

Just put it in and it will be done - perfectly every time

How much water does rice need? How long does rice take to cook?

Okay, I can actually go on and on talking about rice diverging into different branches but, since I have promised to #KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid, I will hold myself back from blabbering on.

Now to answer the big question, how much water to add? simple, use your fingers. No tools, just your hand, let me say it in caps - YOUR FINGERS !

Just keep reading or check the pictures above.

#Note the instructions I am about to share is on the assumption that everyone reading this want to cook regular steamed rice with regular grain, short grain or basmati.

#pointtoremember Always wash the rice before cooking. Just because it comes in a packet doesn't mean you should not wash it. If you drink water straight from the tap, wash the rice (the amount you wish to cook) about 3-4 times until it runs almost clear water. If you use a water purifier for drinking water, you can first wash it with tap water twice then give it two more washes with clean water

Open Pot/Open Fire :

Again, no measurement needed. Make sure you use a deep heavy bottomed pot as it will cook on simmer and also, rice expands double it's raw form so there should be space else there will be an overflow. Bring water to a rolling boil (the water should be double the quantity of rice if not more) then add the washed rice and lower the heat to a simmer. you will see that the grains roll along with the bubbles. Give it a stir every few minutes to make sure none of it sticks to the bottom. Check every 10 minutes, pulling out a grain or two with a spoon and squishing it between your fingers. Once done, drain out any excess water with the help of a colander. Give it a stir to fluff it up.

Pressure Cooker :

Add the washed rice into the cooker. Now, slowly pour in drinking water till it reaches the first line of your middle finger (as shown in the picture) the rice should be levelled out and same with the water. Gently rest your fingers at the bed of rice and add the water slowly till it reaches the first mark, which is roughly an inch of water. Close the lid, put it on medium heat. When it has whistled 3 times, switch off the gas.

Rice Cooker :

Again, add the washed rice to the pot of the cooker and add in the water using the first line of your finger as the guide just like the pictures above. Simply push the tab to hot/cook and it goes off on it's own fixed timing.

Microwave :

Use a microwave safe bowl that is big enough to make space for the rice to swell. Borosil bowls are ideal for this. Exactly as mentioned for the rice cooker, follow the steps of adding washed rice and level of water. Microwave on high for 20 mins

#protip In order to keep the rice fluffy and grains separated, the moment the rice is cooked and taken off it's heat source I quickly run a fork through to separate the grains. The rice moisture left vapourises almost instantly, it is empirical to do it quickly before that happens else, the grains clump together when cooled

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