6 different ways to cook rice
In this blog post I wanted to share with you 6 different ways to cook rice.
Growing up in an asian household meant that your lifeline revolved around rice. Yes, I am being dramatic, but you have to grow up in a household like mine to understand. To illustrate, let me tell you how we ask if someone has eaten in my family (and in most Vietnamese family, I believe) : ‘Con ăn cơm chưa? Which literally translates to: ‘child, have you eaten rice yet?’Instead of: Have you eaten yet? Rice is the grail for longevity, strength and vitality.
When getting married, or when moving out from their parents’ house, Asians usually get a rice cooker as a gift. However, having left very early, I didn’t get mine right away. Along my encounters in life and travel, I came to find that there are many types of rice, but also many ways to cook it
For example, when I went to South Korea, my host was horrified to see that I was adding salt to my rice. According to her, salt is already in the food so no need to add it. I have been cooking rice without adding salt ever since, I am sure it is best for my health anyway.
As to ways to cook it, yes we can cook it with or without a rice cooker! I can guarantee you that this type of info is news to someone who had always seen rice cooked in a rice cooker!
Anyways, I thought I would share with you 6 different ways to cook rice that I have come across.
Cooking rice using a rice cooker
The first and easiest one is of course to cook rice in a rice cooker. The rice cooker of my childhood looked similar to this one.
How to cook the rice step by step
1- Take one or two cup of rice
2- Rinse it several time to remove the starch and other dirt
3- Add a pinch of salt if you wish to
4- Measuring the level of water: My aunt taught me to use my index finger line.
Measure how high the rice comes on my finger line and double it. Or use the more practical ratio of 2 cup of water for one cup of rice.
The advantage of a rice cooker is that you don’t have to babysit your rice. The device turns off by itself or sets to keep-warm as soon as the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. The only thing you have to make sure to master is your water to rice ratio but that also depends on how you like your rice. There is nothing like al dente rice, but some people might like it with slightly more moisture and might add a little more water than the ratio explained above. You will have to give a try and see what is your preference
Cooking rice on the stove
This section has two ways
The advantage of cooking rice on the stove is that you do not have to buy extra appliances, so it is cheaper, and takes less space. The cons is that you need to babysit your rice if you don’t want it to burn.
I have two techniques I would like to share
One time cooking
- Repeat above 1 to 4 steps for the instruction
- Come back to it to make sure you off the stove when all the water has evaporated
- Cook it on medium heat so you have less chess to burn it
Two times cooking
I came across this method taught by a nigerian family friend, and I have to say I quite like it as it turns out beautifully
- Repeat instructions 1 to 3
- Place the pot of rice with plenty of water covering it (doesn’t matter how much of a ratio yet)
- Place on the stove
- Let it boil
- When you see white foam on the surface forming
- Take the rice out
- Drain it
- Wash the rice with cold water
- Wash the pot of rice in which you were cooking it
- Put the rice back
- Place your hand palm facing down and use the middle lines of your fingers on the back side of your hand (where your phalanges joint and allow you to bend your finger)
- Place your hand above the rice, the level of water has to be at the same level of these middle lines.
- Alternatively you can use one of the other method to measure the rice ratio
- Put medium to high heat, not need to cover
- Cook until the water has evaporated.
Cooking rice in a pressure cooker
On the journey to cooking I got more sophisticated and eventually got a pressure cooker.
The beauty of this type of machine is that you have a multi function option and button for all you want to cook, and of course most of them have a rice function.
All you have to do is follow steps 1to 4 and then hit the rice button and let the pressure cooker do the rest!
I came across two more interesting ways to cook rice that I wanted to share with you
Cooking rice in the microwave
In today’s busy and frantic world, a microwave is surely handy. Also, depending on what your situation is, if you are a student in a dorm room for example, you might only have access to a microwave for when you crave some good old white rice.
Here is what you need to make your rice.
- First, you need a microwave safe dish designed to cook rice or steaming vegetables.
- The lid needs to be able to let the steam out and have a vent. If not, let the lid lay on top of the dish without closing it completely.
- During the process, the starch foam water will bubble up and over, so to keep your microwave clean and free from the cleaning hassle, place a dish towel under the pot.
- You can use any type of white rice, and apply the 2 to 1 ratio of water to rice
- So one cup of rice and 2 cup of water
- Place the dish with the lid slightly open or with a lid with vent in the microwave then cook
- 5 minutes at full power, 15 mn at half power
- Wait 5 mn before taking the lid up
- Taste the rice
- Cook for a minute or two more if needed
Cooking rice in a frying pan
I tried this method before when I didn’t have the sauce pan. I wasn’t always successful and the rice has often turned out not so great. With part uncooked and part overcooked. A total disaster! Not great if you want to impress…
Anyway, the methodology is key here. You can find an illustrated process on this site, where the author got inspired by a Japanese show and adapted it slightly.
Here are the main recommendations to give this method a try.
- Do not try to cook more than 2 cup of rice
- Use a Glass tight fitting lid for the frying pan. It needs to fit well so that the steam can stay in and help cook the rice
- Follow steps 1 to 4
- Let it soak for 20 to 30 mn.
- Cook at high heat keeping the lid on.
- Let it boil, it is normal to see all this bubble, let it be for couple of minutes
- When you see (hence why the glass lid recommendation) the water is about to be all absorbed but not completely, immediately bring the heat down to low and strip from the bottom up with a spatula.
- Replace the lid on and let it cook on low heat for 5 more minutes or so. Make sure to keep an eye on it because the water will be absorbed quickly and you don’t want your rice to burn!
- Once you see steam holes appearing, you can turn the heat off. Do not take the lid up at this moment and let it sit for another 10 minutes or so.
Now you are all set! You have some options to cook that rice. Comment below and share your rice story! We would love to hear back from you. We also have some recipes on our blog which you could accompany with rice such as ‘Market Jelbana’ a beef stew originating from Tunisia (in North Africa), the recipe is here.