Rice is one of the most versatile side dishes, popular in most cultures and cuisines. Because the exquisite taste of rice pairs well with most food, many people want to master cooking it at home to serve restaurant-quality dinners to their loved ones. To improve your culinary skills, here are the top hacks to cook rice at home perfectly every time.
Rinse off the Surface Starch
Rinsing your rice before boiling is one of the best ways to ensure it does not come out sticky or clumpy. Rice contains some extra, surface starch that causes it to clump together; therefore, rinsing your rice is a better and more effective alternative to putting oil in the pot as you let your rice boil. To remove the excess starch and prevent your rice grains from gluing together, use a strainer to observe the water go from cloudy to clear once you’re done rinsing.
Know Your Rice
There are various types of rice to choose from depending on your preferences. However, some complement more meals than others, so be wary of that before substituting one type for another. White rice comes in short, medium, and long grains and brown rice also offers varieties such as basmati, short or long grain, and jasmine. Brown rice is the healthier choice if you’re on a diet. The reason you need to know the various types of rice is that you’ll need to cook them accordingly.
Know Your Rice to Water Ratio
You may have heard the 1:2 ratio and became frustrated when that ratio did not provide you with fluffy rice. This is because not all rice types follow the same ratio. Typically, less water is used for white rice. Therefore, you should always check the packaging for specific instructions. Some white rice only requires 11/4 cup of water for 1 cup of rice, whereas brown rice needs at least 2 cups of water for 1 cup of rice.
Use a Rice Cooker
If you have trouble ensuring your rice turns out perfectly each time, don’t fret. Some of the best chefs took a while to get the hang of it. However, for the less patient, a microwavable rice cooker may be the solution. Aside from being the best alternative to boiling rice in a pot on the stove, rice cookers are also extremely convenient, easy to use, and energy-efficient. You’ll serve delicious, fluffy rice and it will only take you a few minutes.
There are many different types of rice cookers, so you get to take your pick among the bunch. When looking for the best microwave rice cookers for home use, it’s best to compare and review the different types to ensure you get one that’s suitable for your budget without compromising all the smart and safety features. You can decide which features appeal to you from lockable lids and cool to touch exteriors or larger capacity if you tend to cook big portions all at once and easy-to-grip handles to make life easier.
Use a Heavy-Bottomed Pot
If you are determined to master stovetop rice, use a heavy-bottomed pot to ensure your rice does not burn at the bottom. Using a thin, metal pot can heat up quite quickly and burn the bottom of your pot as it struggles to distribute heat evenly.
Don’t Forget Seasoning
If your rice is coming out great but rather bland, you can consider seasoning it before rather than after. While many people salt their rice to taste after it’s cooked, there are many options to make your rice taste better. Consider cooking your rice in vegetable or chicken broth instead of water for added flavor or you can add curry powder, turmeric, and salt to enhance the taste.
Avoid Over Stirring
Stirring your rice before it boils in the pot a couple of times is a good idea to ensure the seasoning will distribute evenly. However, over stirring causes the rice to become starchy and dense. You only want to do this if you’re cooking risotto; otherwise, avoid stirring your rice at all once it begins to cook.
Avoid Peaking Under the Lid
Once you have reduced the heat to low and your rice is on a gentle simmer, you will place the lid on the pot and leave it for 15 to 18 minutes. During this time, avoid peaking under the lid. This will only mess with the steam and affect the quality.
One of the most important tips is to leave your rice alone once you have taken it off the stove. Avoid lifting the lid or touching the rice. Let it rest for 5 minutes in the steamy pot. A great hack is to place a kitchen towel under the lid to absorb the steam. Once the 5 minutes are up, your rice will be fluffy and ready to serve.