Everyone cooks rice differently with their own ways and methods. There are a million ways under the sun with little variations here and there. Indeed, how we cook differently is an indication of the variability of culture and the glory of human ingenuity.
We’ll cover both cooking rice in an electric rice cooker and with a normal pot over a stove top. There are a few differences between them. Regardless, the end result will be rice that is fluffy, never burnt, and never mushy. In other words, the perfect rice.
With only two ingredients, rice and water, how hard can this be? (famous last words) Jokes aside, the amount of water added is important. If you add too little water, then your rice will burn. If you add too much water, then it will boil over and create a lot of noise and mess. Neither of these are desirable, so let’s make sure this doesn’t happen!
Before getting started, the first step is to decide on how much rice you’ll need. Typically, one cup of uncooked rice will result in enough cooked rice for three people. Add your rice to your container, whether that be your electric rice cooker bowl or your pot.
Next, you’ll want to rinse the rice to help clean it. In terms of white rice, rinsing the rice will also help to remove some of the excess starch. This is as easy as filling your container with some water, mixing the rice and water together with your hand, and carefully pouring the cloudy water out. Many people do this step three or four times until the water is substantially clearer.
Alternatively, you can rinse your rice in a sieve as well as that may sometimes be easier.
If you’re working with brown rice, we highly recommend a pre-soak step before cooking. This helps to make the brown rice more tender and also helps to greatly reduce the actual cooking time. In many cases, the cooking time can be reduced by half. To pre-soak, just add your brown rice to a container with water and let it sit for at least 2 hours or overnight.
First, we’ll cover how to cook rice with an electric rice cooker. If you’re cooking a couple cups of short grain rice, there’s a special trick that is widely used in Asian households in measuring how much water to add. Add your rice into the rice cooker’s bowl and simply add enough water so that when you place your palm flat onto the rice, the water level rises just slightly above your knuckles. How much water does this end up being? It’s around 1 cup of water per 1 cup of uncooked rice. Keep in mind this trick doesn’t really work if you’re cooking very little rice or the bowl isn’t large enough to place your hand into. In such cases, just directly measure the 1:1 rice to water ratio.
Now, just switch the rice cooker into the cook mode and let it work its magic. This usually takes around 15 – 20 minutes. If this is your first time and you’re worried that you’ve added too much water, keep an eye on your rice cooker to make sure it doesn’t boil over and create a mess everywhere.
When the rice is ready, your rice cooker should automatically change from a high heat cook mode into a low heat warm mode. After this happens, it’s best to wait around 10 minutes for the rice to sit surrounded by steam. This helps result in fluffier rice.
When cooking rice in a pot over a stove top, you’ll usually need a little more water. For short and long grain rice, we recommend adding 1 and 1/4 cups of water for every 1 cup of uncooked rice. For brown rice, we recommend 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of uncooked rice. Brown rice needs more water because it needs to be boiled longer in order to become tender.
Bring your pot to a boil with high heat while stirring occasionally. Once the water is boiling, turn down the heat to the lowest setting and cover your pot. In contrast with the electric rice cooker, you’ll have to monitor and handle the timing yourself. The time it takes to cook depends on the amount and type of rice. Generally, you’ll wait until the water has almost all boiled off. With around 1 cup of rice, you should expect a cooking time of around 15 – 20 minutes. If you find that the water has boiled off and your rice isn’t ready, you can always pour more water in and continue cooking.
Brown rice may take 30 – 45 minutes to cook. If you followed the pre-soak step, your cook time should be around half of this.
When your rice is ready, shut off the stove and let sit for around 10 minutes to allow the rice to steam so that you’ll get fluffier rice.
Make sure to use a microwave safe bowl and add rice and water in a 1 to 1 and 3/4 ratio. This means 1 and 3/4 cups of water for every 1 cup of uncooked rice. Cooking times will vary based on the power of your microwave and how much rice you’re cooking. Our cook times are based on a 900 watt microwave. If your bowl has a lid, you need to make sure it has adequate ventilation holes. The water will turn into steam as it heats and if you don’t allow the steam to vent, the container will explode!
For 1 cup of rice, we recommend microwaving with full power for 5 minutes. For 2 cups, we recommend doubling the time to 10 minutes. After this first step at full power, microwave again at 50% power for 15 minutes regardless of if you’re cooking 1 or 2 cups of rice. When done, let the rice sit for 10 minutes to continue steaming for an extra fluffy result.