Rice can turn any food into something festive when you have delicious dishes cooked alongside. Here are the 3 simple methods for perfect rice and be the star on your next meal!
#1 Know Your Rice Grain Well
There are over a hundred types of rice varieties available worldwide. We may know a handful of these rice variants but hey, they got plenty.
And with each variety, you need to understand it’s cooking characteristics and features.
Apart from that, it’s also important to consider the nutrients you can get from each variety.
But, we’ll keep it short, there are just about few popular rice grains that are readily available:
- White Rice -short, medium, long grain
- Brown Rice – short and long grain
- Red Rice
- Black Rice or Forbidden Rice
- Wild Rice
Apart from these types, sticky rice is also another popular choice when making rice desserts such as pudding or even famous sushi. It is also available in different colors depending on where it came from. Risotto rice is another variety of popularly Arborio rice or Carnaroli rice.
For health-conscious people, they tend to choose from the whole grain varieties like brown, red, and black rice. They’re known to give the more since they still got the bran and hull, unlike the white rice where it’s been polished already.
It is best to consult your dietician on what kind of rice you can consume as well as the amount you can eat. Eating rice is addictive because it gives you a ‘fuller’ feeling. That’s why you need to consume it on a balanced level.
Now that you are aware of the most common rice types, let’s get to know more on the fundamentals of rice cooking.
#2 Wash and Rinse
After you understood the different rice varieties available, it’s time to get deeper.
Whatever rice grain you tend to use, you need to wash and rinse it before cooking. Unless of course, you purchased a “no-rinse” variety which usually comes from Japan.
In this example, we’ll be using the white grain. If you are trying to achieve a bowl of perfect, fluffy white rice, then follow this next step carefully.
Why Wash and Rinse?
Rice grains are harvested from the fields, dried, and then undergo milling process.
During this process, the grains will accumulate dirt and dust before they’re even packed and exported.
Although facilities are clean and regulated, sacks and packs of rice are still transported worldwide and the grains inside are rubbing against each other, giving out more starch.
Regardless of the rice variety, washing and rinsing are highly critical during the cooking process. This is to eliminate dust, dirt, and extra starch.
How to Do it
- Measure the exact amount of rice you wish to cook. You only need to wash and rinse the amount of rice you are planning to cook.
- Next is to put it in a strainer or colander and place it under cold running water until the water runs clear.
Is there a rice variety that doesn’t need washing and rinsing? Yes. Like what I mentioned earlier, you can see this type of rice labeled as “no-rinse” rice.
Not really a rice type but a rice technology developed in Japan, called Musenmai. Musenmai means ‘no-wash-rice’.
This technology was introduced over 10 years ago with the aim to remove excess starch from the grains before even cooking.
You can find a lot of Musenmai rice available at any Japanese or Asian store, and even online.
#3 Rice to Water Ratio
Lastly, this third simple trick is the most important of all. The perfection and fluffiness of your rice depend on the amount of water added to your rice.
Rice absorbs all the water you put in it resulting to either mushy or super dry.
Since you have already washed and rinse your rice, the next and final thing you need to bear in mind is the correct water ratio.
Some say that you can follow the general rule of 1:1 ratio. But, a lot of rice experts have proven that this general rule does not apply to all kinds of white rice.
The reason why you need to understand the different kinds of rice grains is that each of the variety has different water needs.
You also need to consider the cooking technique you will be using so you can balance the water ratio. The rice cooker has its own measuring cup which is quite smaller than the standard size.
This makes all the difference in the amount of water you can add. To make sure you got the correct water level, here’s a list of the correct rice to water ratio:
Water Ratio on Stovetop Method:
The amount of water needed while cooking on a stovetop is different for each rice variety. Here is a complete list:
- Long-grain White Rice – You need 2 cups of water to a cup of white rice
- Short-grain White Rice – The general rule of 1:1 applies to this rice type
- Short-grain Brown Rice – A cup of rice is good for 1 and 1/2 cup of water
- Long-grain Brown Rice – You need 1 and 1/4 cup of water over a cup of rice
- Black Rice – 2 cups of water is needed over a cup of rice
- Red Rice – You can use the same ratio as the black rice
- Wild Rice – A cup of rice needs 3 cups of water
Rice Cooker Water Ratio:
Most rice cookers include a measuring cup and a label which contains all the cooking instructions.
Again, there are a hundred brands of rice cooker in the market and the most popular ones today have more specific functions.
There are rice cookers that cater to the needs for different rice grains, such as brown rice, sushi rice, and even pudding. All you ever need is to read the labels carefully.
Usually, a cup of rice (using the rice cooker cup) equals to 3/4 cup of standard measurement.
For most parts, here is a guide on how much water is needed when cooking in a rice cooker:
- White Rice – Short grains need a 1:1 ratio, while long grains need 1 and 3/4 cup of water
- Brown Rice – 1 and 1/2 cup of water is needed for a cup of brown rice
- Red Rice – A cup of rice needs 1 and 3/4 cups of water
- Wild Rice – You can add 2 cups of water over a cup of wild rice
- Black Rice – 1 and 3/4 cup of water is needed for a cup of black rice
Again, if the rice packaging suggests a different amount of water, you can follow it to be on the safer side! 😀
Now that you have learned the 3 simple methods for perfect rice, here are extra tips you can ponder on to make your rice even more delicious.
Plain white rice might be ordinary so why not add some fusion to it!
Season to Fusion!
To make your rice extra enticing, you can add oil or butter plus a pinch of salt.
If you are more adventurous, you can add some herbs and spices to your rice so you can taste and sense all the aromatics.
If you have been to Mediterranean restaurants serving rice, they got the most aromatic and flavorful rice ever!
This is because they add special herbs and spices.
Fluff it Good
After your rice has finally absorbed all the water is already cooked, there is one final thing to do to achieve perfection.
And that is to fluff it good. Fluffing means, gently folding the rice after it’s been cooked.
You can use a fork or a rice cooker spatula to gently mix the rice together.
This process will allow the extra heat to be absorbed by the rice and let the steam do the final touches.
Rice Cooking Techniques
Rice is perhaps considered to be plain yet very versatile. Its flavor depends on the other ingredients you will use based on what your recipe calls for.
Cooking rice is not as intimidating as it seems, in fact, you only need to rely on basic principles.
Apart from getting to know the different cooking techniques, understanding each rice type also matters.
Not all rice grains taste the same, whole grain rice has a more distinct taste rather than regular white rice. It’s more nutty and chewy while white rice is soft and fluffy.
In order to achieve the perfect bowl of rice, you need to be familiar with the basics- How to Cook. There are two most common rice cooking techniques we all know, and that is to cook on the stovetop and on a rice cooker.
What I have noticed with these methods is the different approach in handling rice but the processes are the same.
Long before rice cookers were invented, stovetop has been there to provide us ease and comfort. One of the most cooked dishes over a stovetop is rice.
You can cook rice in a saucepan or pot, over three different flame settings: low, medium, and high.
However, the most critical part is when you don’t check on your rice cooking and you used the wrong flame setting.
Cooking on stovetop requires patience to randomly monitor your dish until you achieve the right consistency and preparation.
Advantages of Stovetop Rice Cooking
- Heat Control
- Versatile (You can use a different pot or pan sizes)
- Cost-effective compared to electric stoves
- Gas is eco-friendly
Rice Cooker Strengths
Investing in a rice cooker is a wise decision when you are eating rice on a regular basis. Perhaps, I need not explain why you need a dedicated rice cooker because it’s simple- it’s foolproof cooking!
There is no need to rush and run around the kitchen and check on your rice; your rice cooker will perfectly do the job for you.
Here are the strengths of using a rice cooker:
- You can cook rice automatically
- It’s easier to clean (some are designed to be dishwasher safe too)
- Rice cookers keep your rice warm
- Cook a lot of other recipes
What are some recipes you can cook with Rice Cooker?
If you think rice cookers are just for rice, well, here’s a secret- it’s way more than its name! You can turn this wonderful appliance into a multi-cooker.
- Hardboiled eggs
- Fried/sunny-side-up eggs
- Steamed meat, fish, and vegetables
- Stir-fry dishes
- Japanese or Chinese fried rice
- No-bake cakes!
- And many more
The list just goes on and on! You can use a standard rice cooker or if you have an upgraded version, it’s better.
Which Cooking Technique is Better?
Rice cooker is handier as compared to using the stovetop. It also has a lot of advantages in so many ways, especially in terms of convenience.
You don’t have to go back to an old-fashioned way of cooking, but of course, it totally depends on your time and convenience.
If you prefer stovetop cooking, well, it’s absolutely no problem. I only like rice cooker because it matches the pacing of modern life.
What I like best is that cooking in the rice cooker is not just limited to rice (although its name suggests so); you can do a lot of recipes too! There are other cooking techniques too like using a slow cooker and pressure cooker, but these two we discussed, make the most flavorful rice.
Why Rice Cooker is the Best Solution
A rice cooker has way too many advantages than the stovetop method especially if you are fond of eating rice and even cooking different recipes.
In my search for the best rice cooker model, I came across Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 rice cooker which is powered with advanced neuro-fuzzy logic technology.
To simply put, this technology does all the automatic adjustment needed just like a real person dedicated to cooking to perfection. And yes, you don’t have to do it yourself; all you need is wait until it’s cooked.
Apart from this modern technology, this specific model is also a great alternative to most of your kitchen gadgets. It can be a slow cooker, where you can make soup, porridges, and stews. You can also prepare a lot of other dishes you wish to.
When it comes to the physical design, Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 is quite unique since it does not have the common rice cooker build.
It is spherical in shape around 14 X 8 X 9 inches in dimensions, with LCD display complete with menu settings.
You can select from the options: white rice (regular/sushi, softer or harder), porridge, brown, semi-brown, mixed, rinse-free, and even quick-cooking.
This has a retractable cord for easy carrying and transport plus a non-stick inner pan to avoid cooking burnt rice and dishes.
Like any other rice cookers, it also has an automatic keep-warm function where it keeps your rice warm but not dried.
How to Maintain Zojirushi NS-ZCC10
Usual reviews reported that their most common problem with this specific model is the internal battery.
Standard life is about 4 years, which is already quite long compared to other models.
However, you can further extend its battery life by unplugging it after every use. Apart from that, make sure that the entire unit is well-cleaned.
With all this information shared about rice cookers, I bet by now, you are convinced that it has more benefits than the regular cooking technique.
If you are still considering to get one, try the Zojirushi NS-ZCC10, and for sure, it will be worth it!
So there you have it guys, I am glad to share with you these 3 simple methods for perfect rice. I hope you get the chance to apply them the next time you will cook rice at home.
If you notice, every tip is simple and achievable. It’s not intimidating nor challenging. You just simply need to make a connection with your rice and everything will flow smoothly.
There are so many ways you can cook rice, and the processes become more sophisticated depending on your preparation. But as long as you ideally understand how each grain or variety works, you are still on track.
If you want to practice your cooking, you can check out some of our rice recipes in this blog!