I have heard it said too often to cook rice the right way is all about the rice to water ratios. That is absolutely true. However, nothing is as simple as it looks or seems.
The problem with the rice to water ratio is that these ratios are all over the place. I’ve seen ratios starting from 1:1 to 1:1.5 up to ratios of 1:2 of rice to water. The problem is all these ratios work depending on the variety of the rice you choose to cook. The general consensus is that the ideal ratio is 1:1.5 and to some extent a ratio of 1:2.
Long grain rice would generally need lower ratios as compared to short grain rice. In all cases whatever the variety of rice they will all need the same amount of water to cook well. To cook rice well is relative.
When preparing rice for Sushi you generally want the sticky variety. When you need rice for that hearty dinner, you want the grains to be separate and fluffy.
This guide will give you some tips for general purpose rice cooking. We will assume that we are just boiling plain white rice. The tips shared here apply across the board. We will also not be explaining how to cook rice with specialized equipment for the sake of brevity.
How to Cook Rice
There are two general methods you could use to boil rice. The first is to pre-boil the water while the second one you cook the rice from a cold pot.
- Step 1: In both cases, you need to wash the rice to remove any excess starch. If you buy your rice from sources that do not completely clean it you may have to pick out the stones and other particles in the rice.
- Step 2: For one part rice, measure one and a half parts water in a pot. add the rice, salt to taste, a little oil and optional seasonings like nutmeg, rosemary or whatever fancies you.
- Step 3: Cover the pot, place on a fire and bring to boil. reduce the heat and let it cook for about 10 minutes until the rice dries, expands and appears fluffy.
- Step 4: Turn off the heat and leave to rest for about 3 minutes before serving.
- Step 2: Add two parts water, oil, salt and optionally any other seasoning of choice and bring to a rapid boil.
- Step 3: Add one part rice to the boiling water and let it boil vigorously initially stirring with a fork to prevent the rice grains from clinging to each other.
- Step 4: When the water reduces to the same level as the rice cover and reduce heat and let simmer for about another 10 minutes. This will dry out the rice and complete the cooking.
- Step 5: Turn off the heat and leave to rest for about 3 minutes before serving.
- When starting to cook with cold water, you may use the 1:1.5 ratio. When you start to cook with hot water you may use a ratio of 1:2. These ratios are not cast in stone though.
- Use a higher ratio to achieve more fluffy rice
- When using high volumes of rice, use a ratio of 1:1.5
A lot of the water used to cook rice is lost through evaporation. When cooking large amounts of rice a high ratio will not afford the water enough time to evaporate and you will end up with mushy rice. Therefore a 1:2 ratio is only ideal for small amounts of rice such as 1 – 4 cups of rice or somewhere about there.