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How to cook white rice

3rd May 2022

So many times I'm asked how we get our rice to be fluffy. Generally the question is quickly followed by 'I can never get mine right, it's either crunchy or a soggy blob, what am I doing wrong?'. Actually rice is fickle, the amount of water you need to get fluffy rice varies depending on the variety and how old the rice is. When you buy rice in a supermarket there's no information on the age of the rice, incidentally most rice sold in the west is 2 years old. This is the traditional method used in millions of asian homes.

Method

This method works for most white rice varieties but not for sticky, paella for arborio types of rice.

Place the rice in a steep sided saucepan, choose the size of saucepan according to the quantity of rice you're cooking, use the instructions on the packet to judge the quantity of rice you need. The uncooked rice should be between 2 cm | 1 inch and 5 cm | 2 inches deep. You can put more if you have to, but the rice on the bottom tends to get a bit mushy the more you add. Fill the pan with cold water and gently wash the rice to remove any excess starch strain the rice and cover it with 2cm | 1 inch of water.

Place the pan on a high heat and bring the water to a fast boil but don't be tempted to stir the rice! Allow the rice to keep boiling fast until all the water has evaporated from the surface of the rice, you will have craters in the rice where the water was bubbling. Put a lid on the pan and turn the heat down as low as possible for 5 minutes before turning the heat off. The rice needs to stand and steam so don't be tempted to lift the lid before at least 15 minutes. Once you are ready to eat you can fluff the rice either by simply spooning it in to your serving dish using a large spoon or gently separating the grans with a fork, it's ready to serve. If you want your rice to stand a bit longer, leave the lid on and cover the pan with a tea towel to hold the heat in until you are ready to serve.

At home we generally leave our rice to stand for 30 minutes as we like the temperature.