how to cook rice

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about how to cook rice

Rice is a dish which has become a staple of many nations all across the globe over the last few thousand years. It originated in Asia, and rice as we know it is the seed of a grass species called Oryza sativa.

It is truly one of the oldest foods as it dates all the way back to 8000 BC. In the modern day and age, Asia still produces and consumes about 90% of the world’s rice. Here are a couple more fun facts about rice: 

  • African rice is the seed of the grass species Oryza glaberrima;
  • Rice is the oldest food;
  • There are 3 types: short, medium and long;
  • Asia alone produces and consume 90% of world’s rice
  • National rice month is September

Now that we covered some of the basic historical information, let’s talk a bit about how to cook rice, and different ways you can cook it.

how to cook rice

Types of rice 

There are a lot of different types of rice, but let’s focus on 3 basic types of rice: short-grain, medium-grain and long grain rice.

Short-grain rice is chubby, round and starchy, and that is typically the sort of rice that you can eat with hand or chopsticks. A lot of this type of rice is used as a dessert, for example in Southeast Asian or Spain.

Medium-grain rice is fluffy after it is cooked but it can clump up as it cools. It is usually table rice in China, Korea and Japan, and in Italy is used to make risotto.

Long-grain rice is slim with an elegant curve, and can triple their size. If you don’t want the rice to be sticky this is your perfect choice. It goes well with pilaf, biryani, mujadara and tachin.

Rice can be cooked in 3 different methods and the difference is only with how much water you boil rice. First, when you use 12 times as much water as rice, then when you use 5 times as much water as rice, and the last when you use 2-½ times as much water as rice.

Rice is one of those meals that is easy to make but just as easy to mess up. I will give you a few guidance that you should pay attention to:

  • First, you should know what type of rice you are making. 
  • Most common ratio (2 parts of water and 1 part of rice) doesn’t work perfectly every time. 
  • Always rinse your rice before cooking it. Don’t stir it at all while it’s cooking, and if you are using a stove, use a heavy-bottomed pot.
  • Add a splash of oil in the water, and don’t forget to season it with salt (you can season it before or after cooking). 
  • And the last, let it rest for 15min after it is cooked.

Which rice is best?

types of rice

Red rice – Both very pigmented and full of nutrients are Himalayan and Thai red cargo rice. Those two are very high in fiber and antioxidants. Some research shows that red rice has significantly better chances of fighting free radicals than brown rice.

Wild rice – Wild rice, also known as the seeds of aquatic grasses, is commonly used in the kitchen. It has three times more fiber than white rice. This type of rice is an amazing source of minerals and vitamins, including magnesium and vitamin B. 

Black rice – Black rice or forbidden rice is a type of Indonesian and Thai rice that has a deep black color that often turns purple while cooking. It is sometimes referred to as forbidden rice because it is believed this rice was reserved for royalty in ancient China. The black rice is very rich in anthocyanins that have been shown to have anticancer properties. 

If you’re still having a hard time choosing the perfect rice for yourself, check out more information about rice types.

Which rice for fried rice?

The best option for fried rice is the long-grain type of rice. It doesn’t become mushy while cooking, and it’s never sticky. All grains are individual and firm. You could also prepare fried Thai jasmine rice but be aware that this type of rice has less amylose than regular long-grain rice so it can become sticky.

Which rice for risotto? 

risotto

Choosing the right type of rice for risotto is mandatory. The secret of well-made risotto hides in its starch ingredients. Risotto is usually cooked in broth, and during the preparation, stirring is practically constant. 

This process enables rubbing the starch from the rice surface, and then dissolves and thickens the liquid. The most famous risotto rice is Carnaroli rice. It is also called the “king” of risotto rice. This type of rice maintains its shape through cooking and gives really creamy risotto in the end.

Which rice for sushi?

sushi

When it comes to sushi, everyone may think it’s all about the right type of fish, but many forget that the sushi rolls need perfect rice. If you choose good rice for your sushi rolls, chances are you won’t end up with rolls fallen apart which happens in a lot of cases. 

So, what’s the best type of rice for sushi?

If you can find the Japanese rice, that would be the best option. They have a longstanding tradition in rice making. 

Choose rice like Koshihikari, Akitakomachi, and Sasanishiki.

  • Koshihikari rice is flavored rice, and it is well-known in Japan. 
  • Akitakomachi comes from Akita, and it has a strong flavor and natural sweetness. The taste and aroma may differ depending on the location the rice came from. Akitakomachi is full of moisture and tastes even better when cold.
  • Sasanishiki type of rice is popular because it keeps the same taste even when cooled. 

Cooking rice in the pot or a rice cooker? 

If you want to make perfectly cooked rice ask yourself why buy a rice cooker? Simply, it is easy to use. The main reason most people decide to buy a rice cooker is that it makes a regular cooking task easier. 

The rice cooked in the electric cooker is healthier than the normal boiled rice. It is rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals and other vitamins. 

Rice cookers can be used for cooking more than just rice. They can be used to make meals, like ribs, chili, or pizza. You can also use a rice cooker to cook barley, quinoa or other grains.

How to cook rice in rice cooker

The basic ratio of water and white rice should in principle be 2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice. You can also double or even triple the portion, just make sure you use a pot big enough to hold the rice while it cooks so the rice doesn’t boil over. 

What is the optimal time for cooking rice? Different types of rice will require different amounts of water and time to cook it thoroughly. A rice cooker will turn off automatically when your rice is cooked. Typically, cooking a large quantity of rice in a rice cooker usually  takes between 25 and 35 minutes. 

Here are all the steps:

  • First of all, measure the correct amount of rice and place it in a bowl.
  • May or may not: Rinse the rice until the water turns clear.
  • Put your rice from the bowl to the inner pan of your rice cooker. 
  • Add some water to the rice cooker pan.
  • Place the pan inside your rice cooker, then close the top.

Pro tip: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring water to a boil. Add rice, butter, and some sea salt. Once it starts to simmer lower the heat and cook for 18 minutes covered, or until rice is soft and there is no liquid. Remove the pan from the stove and let it rest, still covered for 5 minutes.

How to choose the perfect rice cooker? 

First, you have to know how many cups of rice you will cook on a daily basis, not on occasions. 

Second, what type of rice cooker fits your needs ? There are three types of rice cookers: traditional, micro-computerized and jar-o-mat.

Best rice cooker

A good rice cooker will help you do it the right way every time. Whether you’re a chef (or not a techie) or have owned rice cookers in the past, we have options for everyone, thanks to reviewers on Amazon.

Of course, the price is important, the more you pay, the more it is worth. However, the following are among the best sellers on the market

How to cook rice on a stovetop

If you don’t have a rice cooker and you need to cook it on the stovetop, it’s ok! You can still make it perfect. Here are basic steps for cooking rice on a stove:

  1. Rinse the rice
  2. Use proper rice to water ratio
  3. Boil water
  4. Add rice and salt
  5. Let it simmer
  6. Cover the pan
  7. Check if it is done
  8. Remove from the stove and let it sit for two minutes
  9. Mix it with a fork

You should never forget to rinse the rice, except removing dirt, this process also affects the texture of cooked rice. If you don’t rinse it, it is more likely that you will get gummy rice after cooking.

Simmering means cooking at a very low temperature, you will see bubbles but the water won’t come out from the pot. It is good for the rice to simmer because this way it is being cooked slowly and gently and you get whole grains, otherwise they can fall into pieces.

How to cook rice in instant pot

 There is a much easier, quicker and cleaner way to cook your rice than in a regular pot. Cooking rice in an instant pot can be tricky, but here are some tips to get your rice perfectly cooked.

  • First step is to measure your dry rice and put it aside .
  • Then put the same amount of water in an Instant Pot’s inner pot. 
  • Wash away rice then add it to the inner pot. When you place the inner pot into a cooker, you can plug in your Instant Pot. 
  • Close the lid
  • Select your cooking time, then release pressure from the cooker by lifting the lid.
  • Opet your instant pot, when the float valve has dropped. 
  • Serve and enjoy your perfect rice

 These are tips for 1:1 ratio and it works for every kind of rice. So, in Instant Pot,  brown rice and white rice need the same amount of water, because Instant Pot is a sealed pressure cooker. 

If your rice is uncooked or hard, that means the next time it needs more time, not water. But if you genuinely like your rice a little softer you can add more water. 

Different types of rice take different amounts of time for cooking under the pressure.  So which is the best time for cooking rice in an Instant pot? 

Brown rice should be cooked for 20 minutes on higher pressure for firm rice. But, if you want softer rice, you can leave it for 22 minutes. For white rice, you will need less time. 15 minutes on low pressure is enough for firm grains, and softer grains need 17 minutes.

Best instant pot for rice

How to pick the perfect Instant pot for rice  with your needs and budget? Well, an instant pot is an insanely fast, intelligent electric cooker so make sure you pick a model with low power requirements, otherwise it will spend a huge amount of electricity.

They are multipractic and time saver. They use 70% less energy than many other cookers. Instant pot cookers are very easy to clean and very safe to use.

Rice to water ratio

Even though most people know how to cook rice, not all of them know how to cook it properly. Rice is a very popular side dish for many meals but some people avoid preparing it because there are too many things to go wrong. 

Even if it looks well cooked it can turn out to be gummy when we try it. Also, what we want are separate grains but sometimes they just stick to one another. 

If you want to know if there are some certain rules for cooking rice, the answer would be “Sure”! First of all, you need to use proper rice to water ratio. Believe it or not, it matters a lot!

There is a basic, universal rice-to-water ratio and according to it, you should use 2 cups of water for cooking 1 cup of rice. But, considering that there are different types of rice, we got to mention that this rule needs to be upgraded. Different types of rice need different amounts of water for cooking. 

Previously mentioned 1:2 rice to water ratio applies to white long-grain rice which is mostly used in dishes that contain a lot of sauce. 

If you are cooking white short-grain rice then you should reduce the amount of water. For cooking 1 cup of this type of rice, you will need 1 ¼ cup of water because it cooks faster. This type of rice is usually used for rice pudding and sushi.

For cooking 1 cup of brown long-grain rice use 1 ¾ cup of water. And if you choose brown short-grain rice use the same ratio as for white long-grain rice (1:2).

Can rice be reheated? 

One fact that not many people know is that reheated rice can be dangerous, it may cause food poisoning, because reheated  or cooked rice contains bacteria called Bacillus cereus, which can survive some cooking processes. 

Most common symptoms of this bacteria is diarrhea and vomiting, or even some other worst complication in people with other health issues. So yes, you can reheat rice, but you must do it properly to prevent food poisoning. 

how to cook rice

Is rice gluten free?

If you ever asked yourself if rice is gluten free, here is the answer – rice is gluten free, BUT only in its natural form. That includes white rice, brown rice and even wild rice. When in natural form, rice is good for those people who have celiac disease or are allergic to gluten. 

As long as you eat unprocessed rice you don’t have reason to worry about gluten, but when it is mixed with other ingredients, rice can contain gluten. For example, if you add different sauces and spices that contain gluten, rice is no more gluten free. For that you can check the label of the ingredients, and if you still are not sure just avoid adding that ingredient to rice. 

Also, you can replace regular flour with rice flour. You can get rice flour from white or even brown rice, but when cooking you will need to add more water, because rice absorbs more water. Here is a recipe on how you can make rice flour at home.

If it is possible, when choosing rice, make sure you choose the one that has “gluten free” marked on the package. That way you will be 100% sure you have the right thing. 

Still, you need to be careful when eating rice, because of the arsenic in it that can cause some symptoms to celiac disease patients and it is very unhealthy when consumed in large quantities.

Can rice make you fat? 

There is a question: can rice make you gain or lose weight? Actually it depends on what type of rice you are consuming. 

Eating brown rice can help you lose weight, it can stabilize blood fat level and help you lower high cholesterol. 

However, when it comes to white rice, the studies showed the opposite. There are highly more chances that including white rice in your dietary plan will lead to weight gain. If you try a recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls with rice, you will definitely gain weight, so be careful when portioning!

Here are some other cereals that definitely will make you gain weight:

  1. wheat,
  2. barley,
  3. oats and much more.

But also there are studies that showed there is no connection between eating white rice and getting fat. In fact, studies showed that eating white rice will lead to reduced risk of gaining weight. 

Is rice a carb?

Yes, rice is a carb and depending on the type of rice, it has more or less benefits for your health. We will talk about 2 most common used rice, white rice and brown rice.

White rice for instance isn’t the best option for you cause it may contain empty calories and has a high  glycemic index of 89. This is not a good option for people with diabetes or people with insulin resistance.

It causes a fast spike of energy as your sugar levels rise rapidly and a fast spike down as your sugar levels go down so you end up with that feeling of fatigue and overall tiredness. 

White rice has been associated with other health risks like high blood pressure, heart risks, bigger waistline etc.It is a part of those white carbs that you should definitely avoid or find a substitute for because in the long run it can harm your health and metabolic system. 

Brown rice is a much better option since it has a lower glycemic index of 50 so it won’t disrupt your sugar levels as much. It’s considered a whole grain cause it was not being processed as much as white rice. 

Brown rice contains all of the nutritional values that it originally had because its grains stayed intact during the food processing. It makes it a lot easier to digest because it’s all natural, it’s overall a lot healthier and better for you. 

To conclude rice is a carb that you should consume moderately. If you do consume it, stick to a healthier version of rice as much as possible. Also watch out how you combine other foods while eating rice, make sure they contain a higher level of protein.

Which rice has the most protein?

After talking up brown rice as a whole grain miracle it’s time to see how much protein it contains and is there a type of rice that has more protein? Let’s look at the chart:

per 100 gramsprotein %carbs %
white rice2.728
brown rice2.623

That isn’t much protein knowing that we can find a lot more protein in meat or even plant based proteins like quinoa or chia seeds

But let’s not take rice out of the competition yet cause it still has a great competitor in the form of Wild rice

protein per 100 gramsprotein %carbs %
wild rice1521
chicken270
chia seeds1742.1 (fiber based)

This magical grain has the highest percent of protein out of all rice types, very impressive! But that is not all! It contains a great amount of minerals and it’s very healthy and beneficial. 

Even though technically wild rice isn’t even rice, it’s a type of grass made out of 4 different plants that are actually based on wheat. That raises a question: is wild rice gluten free, since it is based on wheat grass? Yes, it is absolutely gluten free and safe to eat.

But there is a catch, wild rice is very hard to grow. This is why it is more costly and producers often mix it with white or brown rice. So for a bigger price you will get a mixture you didn’t ask for, that is why you should consider buying wild rice only from a well known or trusted brand.

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