Jasmine rice rests on its fragrance and flavor. It is important that we should understand how to retain these two attributes regardless of the recipe we cook and the cooking technique we use. 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. It takes a lot of practice and proper knowledge to understand how each variety works. 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.
Don’t get intimidated with its aroma, cooking jasmine rice is super easy and when you get the hang of it, you will surely love to explore other recipes.
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 times 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. Just to remove the excess starch and dirt.
Because jasmine rice is already soft by nature, there is no need for you to soak the grains. Although some rice experts soak it at least like 5-10 minutes just to shorten the cooking time, if you are not familiar with this, 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. Never mix them with force or else the friction will cause the grains to rub against each other and produce more starch. Some prefer to wash it until the water becomes clear.
Water Ratio is Critical
Preparing jasmine rice is almost the same with white rice. It only has a few differences. In terms of cooking, they are both using a similar process but in terms of health benefits, some experts claim that jasmine is healthier than the regular white rice.
If you are buying jasmine rice, make sure that you are getting it from authentic brands or origin. Each package also includes a brief cooking instruction most especially the rice to water ratio.
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.
Standard way of cooking a cup of jasmine rice needs 1 and 1/2 cup of water for a perfect, fragrant, and fluffy bowl of jasmine rice goodness. However, this depends on the cooking technique you are using.
Rice cookers have mostly included a measuring cup which is smaller than the standard cup we use. Check the rice cooker label for the correct water to rice ratio for best results.
In another part of the globe, a lot of people are using a unique way of leveling the rice and water.
If you grew up in an Asian household, I bet you are well-familiar with the knuckle method.
Our great grandmothers have cooking tricks which are actually amazing and work with almost all rice variants. I found this YouTube tutorial helpful in showing the knuckle method.
How to Do 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 upper rice parts.
Brown rice and other colored rice need more water, you can use your middle finger to measure the water. It should be somewhere in between the first and second knuckle of your finger.
I find it puzzling how this method works, but hey, it is really working so why confuse 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, whereby the way, jasmine rice came from.
I found out that steaming is way better than boiling or the absorption method. Traditional Thai cooking uses 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 help enhance the flavor of the rice.
Adding seasonings will make the Jasmine rice more fragrant other than its popcorn-like aroma and adding salt into your water will make the flavor richer.
Just add a pinch of salt after you measured the water and placed it onto the pot or the rice cooker.
For more exciting flavor, you can opt to add other seasonings such as herbs and spices.
How to Preserve Jasmine Rice to Keep its Aroma
Storing rice actually depends on varying conditions. When you have stored it properly, then it will surely last longer, however, if left unsecured, bugs, and dirt will contaminate the grains leaving you with unhealthy rice to cook.
Jasmine Rice Storage
To make the most of the jasmine rice you bought, follow this guide on how to store and preserve its aroma.
Uncooked Jasmine Grains
Uncooked jasmine grains can last indefinitely or until your supply run over if stored correctly. You can utilize any of the following storage options:
- Sealed airtight container
- Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid
- Heavy-duty resealable bag
After you have securely placed the grains inside any of the containers mentioned above, store the container in the kitchen pantry or in a cool and dry area of your kitchen. You can also put the bag inside the fridge to avoid contaminants.
Cooked Jasmine Rice
On the other hand, cooked jasmine rice can only stay for about 4-6 days depending on the storage conditions. I suggest that you cook enough amount only to avoid leftovers.
- Simply place the cooked jasmine rice in a container and put it inside the fridge or the freezer.
The best time to make use of the leftover jasmine rice is within a day or two so you can still smell its aroma. Otherwise, it will become stiff and difficult to cook if left for longer days.
How to Tell if the Rice is Bad?
The number one indicator for having bad rice is the foul odor or off smell. Jasmine rice has a distinct smell so you will know that it isn’t good to eat when the fragrance turns awful.
Another factor to distinguish is the color. Rice discoloration is also highly visible from pearly white color to almost yellowish. Sometimes, mold presence is also apparent for bad rice.
Never leave the rice for a long time in room temperature. Spores can thrive and breed more bacteria and later on, release harmful toxins which are harmful to our bodies.
Consuming bad rice or contaminated rice can cause health problems such as food poisoning and indigestion.
How to Cook Jasmine Rice for Better Aroma
Now that I have given you 5 tips on how to cook jasmine rice to preserve its full flavor, I’ll tell you how to cook it!
Stovetop cooking is good an old and proven way to cook anything also rice. However, to cook jasmine rice the right way you need to know how to do it and you need some practice.
If you are comfortable in using a pot or pan in cooking rice then check out these steps:
- Measure a cup of rice and 1 and 3/4 cups of water, place them inside the pot or pan. At this point, you add your optional ingredients such as salt, butter or oil.
- Cook in medium high heat and cover the lid when it starts boiling or when bubbles start to appear on the corners
- Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes more
- Turn off the heat and fluff the rice with a fork or spatula and cover it for about 5 minutes. This will allow the steam to cook the rice well after fluffing
Rice Cooker Method
Cooking rice on the stovetop is more challenging because it demands more time for you to check the heat and adjust the temperature.
It all depends on your convenience but of course, nothing beats the comfort and ease that a rice cooker brings.
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 jasmine rice is cooked perfectly all the time, I use a rice cooker. But it’s not just any other rice cooker.
It’s a plug-and-play kind of device with special cooking features and thinks on its own; now that is an excellent kitchen partner!
So if you got this appliance ready, here are the steps:
- Place a cup of rice into the cooker inner pot and rinse well. Add in 2 cups of water. You can also add oil and salt for optional taste but if you are watching your salt intake, you may leave it as is.
- Put the inner pot into the rice cooker, cover and turn it on. Press cook and wait until it turns to automatic keep warm mode. If you are using modern rice cookers with fuzzy logic technology or induction heating, they do provide specific cooking settings including white rice or jasmine rice.
- When it switches to automatic keep warm function, you may fluff the rice with fork or spatula to make sure each grain is cooked evenly by allowing the steam to seep in.
What Rice Cooker to Use?
But, what rice cooker especially preserves the jasmine rice aroma I’m talking about.
In my opinion the best rice cooker that can compete with a busy lifestyle is Zojirushi NS-ZCC10 .
With Zojirushi NS-ZCC10, you can cook any kinds of rice more particularly the jasmine rice expertly.
It makes the rice soft and keeps its aroma so once you are ready to serve, the entire room is enveloped with jasmine fragrance.
This rice cooker is equipped with neuro-fuzzy logic computer technology that cooks your grains by adjusting the heat and temperature accordingly to give you perfect bowl of rice all the time.
There is no fail cooking with this rice cooker, you simply have to follow the rice and water ratio, choose the cooking setting of your choice and leave it cooking.
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 very important to having great jasmine rice.
Apart from these 5 tips, another thing you have to consider is the preparation. If it’s convenient for you then you can use stovetop to cook rice. If you care about time and want to cook rice in the best possible way, I recommend rice cooker. Cooking jasmine rice in a rice cooker, most especially if you have Zojirushi NS-ZCC10, will make it very easy.
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.