Jasmine rice rests on its fragrance and flavor. It is important that we should understand how to retain these two attributes. Find out the 5 tips on how to cook jasmine rice to preserve its full flavor.
5 Tips on How to Cook Jasmine Rice to Preserve its Full Flavor
Cooking rice is not supposed to be a recipe, rather a technique. Most especially if you are cooking the aromatic jasmine rice.
It should not be a difficult process, you only need to get to know your grains and off you go.
Jasmine rice has a distinct fragrance and flavor as compared to basmati rice which is another aromatic grain.
To get a perfect bowl of jasmine rice, you need to consider a few tips to get it soft, flavorful, and fragrant.
After all, these are the qualities of jasmine rice that make it unique and well-loved.
Here are the 5 essential tips to preserve its full flavor:
Ensure Jasmine Freshness
The flowery scent of jasmine rice differs on the harvest time and the storage conditions.
Its strongest aroma comes from freshly harvested jasmine rice. And as this grain ages, its scent starts to diminish too.
You can enjoy an indefinite shelf life of jasmine rice as long as you have stored it properly. You may not get that strong scent anymore but at least you have preserved a few of what’s left.
To seal in its freshness, transfer the remaining uncooked grains in an airtight container and store it in a cool dry area or shelf.
You can also use the original package and put it in a re-sealable bag.
I suggest that you only buy enough jasmine rice for consumption to ensure freshness. Always check the label when purchasing rice at the groceries. Check for the dates and look for the freshest possible.
Wash and Rinse Thoroughly
Most rice needs to be washed and rinse a few time to get rid of dust, dirt, and excess starch.
However, some variants need to be soaked at least half an hour to minimize the cooking time. This includes brown rice, red rice, wild rice, and black rice.
They tend to be harder and require more water for cooking. Jasmine rice, on the other hand, only needs to be washed and rinsed at least three times.
It does not need to be soaked or else, you’ll get an almost “pudding-like,” mushy texture.
Most Thai cooking videos I watched rinse the jasmine rice under running water at least three times. They use their hand and mix the grains gently. Some prefer to wash it until the water becomes clear.
Water Ratio is Critical
Preparing jasmine rice is almost the same with white rice. Famous Thai brands have included English instructions on the packaging labels.
By default, rice requires a 1:1 water ratio. However, jasmine rice needs a bit more water than white rice.
A cup of jasmine rice needs 1 and 1/2 cup of water to cook a perfect, fragrant, and fluffy bowl of jasmine rice goodness.
If you grew up in an Asian household, I bet you are well-familiar with the knuckle method.
Our great grandmothers have trick is actually amazing and works with almost all rice variants. I found this YouTube tutorial helpful in showing the knuckle method.
Simply level your rice onto the pot after washing and add water enough to reach the first knuckle of your index finger. Make sure your finger is not submerged in the surface of the pot, it should only be touching the rice.
I find it puzzling how this method works, but hey, it is really working so why bother yourself? 😀
Steaming and not Boiling
Since we are talking about ways to preserve the full flavor of jasmine rice, I dug deeper into ancient Thai recipes, where by the way, jasmine rice came from.
I found out that steaming is way better than boiling or the absorption method. Traditional Thai cooking uses the bamboo steamer in preparing aromatic jasmine rice.
These baskets are invented to let the moist water vapor to diffuse and circulate. It will then cook the rice thoroughly for about 30 minutes.
I tried steaming jasmine rice this way:
- After washing the rice, I drained it completely. I took my bamboo steamer and lined it with cheesecloth or you can also use any thin kitchen cloth. This will hold the rice in place and seal in the moisture too.
- Spread out the rice inside the bamboo steamer and level evenly. If your cloth is quite big, you can place it on top of the lid. This will help trap the hot steam.
- Use a large pan or pot and fill it with enough water or at least 2 inches. Put a rack at the bottom of the pot/pan to keep the basket away from the water and then bring it to a boil.
- Place your bamboo steamer on top of the rack and let it steam for 30 minutes. Randomly add water if needed.
- After 30 minutes, check the rice and if it is cooked, remove from heat and let it rest for 5-10 minutes more.
- Fluff the jasmine rice with a fork and serve!
Salt or Season the Rice
A perfect bowl of jasmine rice has a soft, fluffy and flavorful taste. You can achieve the best jasmine rice flavor by seasoning it when cooking.
If you happen to notice in some rice recipes, they add optional ingredients such as oil and salt. These ingredients enhance the flavor of the rice.
Jasmine rice is fragrant and has a popcorn-like aroma and adding salt into your water will make the flavor even rich.
Just add a pinch of salt after you measured the water and placed it onto the pot or the rice cooker.
Now that I have given you 5 tips on how to cook jasmine rice to preserve its full flavor, I’ll give you one bonus tip too.
The secret to a foolproof and no-fail jasmine rice cooking is by using the rice cooker.
Rice cookers have practically evolved over time and modern cooking settings have been added to keep up with our daily routines.
To ensure that my rice is cooked perfectly all the time, I use a rice cooker.
It’s a plug-and-play kind of device that is an excellent kitchen partner.
To sum up, what we had for today, we talked about the different ways on how to keep the full flavor of jasmine rice. We learned that the freshness, washing, water ratio, steaming, and salting are the keys to having the best jasmine rice.
I hope you get the chance to try all these 5 tips at home and please don’t forget to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.