Even the most accomplished cooks have trouble preparing a perfect pot of Basic, Fluffy White Rice. However, it isn’t impossible if you know a few secrets: use the right amount of hot water, use a tight-fitting lid on the pot, and allow it to rest after cooking.
The resting step at the end is crucial; as the rice sits off the heat, the moisture redistributes itself for a more even texture throughout the pot. It seems simple, but steaming rice on the stovetop is surprisingly messy. Picking the right pot for rice is one of the most challenging tasks for new chefs. Here is a tip for you!
Stainless steel and aluminum rice cookers usually measure 3-5 quarts and are made for cooking rice. The materials help rice to distribute heating evenly, which reduces the likelihood of it sticking to the bottom. It’s also a good idea to use pots with thick bases, preventing uneven heat distribution. So, for better experience of your rice preparation, use stainless steel cookware.
Usually I rinse my rice in cold water a few times. Rinsing removes loose starch, making the rice less sticky.
Rice does not need to be soaked for most everyday meals. I soak older rice for 30 minutes to make it less brittle and breakable. Basmati rice is also traditionally soaked, which helps it grow to its maximum length. If you don’t drain your rice thoroughly, you will use more water in cooking than you intended.
Rice can be cooked in many different ways, but the simplest is the absorption method: the rice is cooked in a measured amount of water until all the water is absorbed by the time the rice is cooked. Cooking is completed when trapped steam is released from the water drop.
After about 12 minutes, the liquid should be absorbed, and the rice will be al dente. It would be dry and fluffy on top, while the bottom would be quite moist and fragile. You’ll need patience here: Let the rice sit off the heat, undisturbed with the lid on, for at least five minutes and up to 30. Because moisture is redistributed, the top and bottom layers are equally fluffy.
1 cup long-grain white rice
Unsalted butter or olive oil (optional)
Kosher salt (optional)
Rinse the rice in cold water a few times. In a sieve, drain the rice well.
Combine 1-3/4 cups water, the rice, and a bit of butter or oil, if you like, in a medium, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cook on high heat until boiling. Once the water is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover. (If you have an electric stove, use two burners: boil the rice on one burner and then put it on the low burner to continue cooking slowly.) Cook on a lower heat until the rice is tender, about 12 minutes (it’s okay to lift the lid to see if the rice is fully cooked and the water has been absorbed-replace the lid immediately).
Allow the pot to sit, covered, undisturbed for at least 5 minutes and up to 30 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the rice gently, and serve.
Rice is one of those foods where practice makes perfect.