In different regions of the world, rice is a staple food item that should always be present at the table when a person, a family, or a group of friends is eating. Besides being an important food item, rice is also one of the most nutritious foods that you can consume, as it contains more nutrients compared to other types of grains, and it is also one of the few grains that are gluten-free.
While many people eat rice, not a lot of them actually know how to cook or prepare it. Surprisingly, cooking rice is relatively easy, although you need to know a little bit more about measurements in order to cook the fluffiest and tastiest rice. If you want to know how to prepare the best rice for you and your loved ones, here are some tips for cooking the perfect rice at home.
Cooking with a Rice Cooker
The easiest way to cook and prepare rice is by having a rice cooker, an appliance that steams rice and keeps it warm automatically. Here are the steps to cook rice with a rice cooker.
- Measure correctly how many cups of rice to cook. For four people, three cups of rice would suffice, but for one to two persons, you can just add one cup to the rice cooker bowl.
- Take out the rice cooker bowl from the appliance, and then rinse the rice inside the bowl using cold water. Once the water turns white (rice water), drain it until no water is left inside the bowl.
- Next, add four cups of water if you have three cups of rice or two cups of water if you have one cup of rice. The rule of adding water to the rice is to add one more for every cup of rice. So, if you are going to cook two cups of rice, you should add two cups of water and one more.
- Turn on the rice cooker, and it will automatically cook the rice for you for about 15 minutes.
The well-known advantage of using a rice cooker is that it can cook rice with consistency, so you won’t see any burnt grains of rice or uncooked rice in the middle. Also, if you want to use the rice for various recipes, like the rice pudding showcased in this related article, you will need to use rice with consistency and balanced texture. In addition, a rice cooker will also keep the rice warm, as long as the appliance is still connected to a power source. So, even if you eat rice late at night, it is guaranteed that it will still be warm if it is inside the rice cooker.
Unfortunately, using a rice cooker also has some disadvantages, with one of the most prominent being that it has a non-stick surface that can get scratched easily while you are cleaning it or scooping rice out using a metal utensil. However, if you are careful, this isn’t really a downside that you need to worry about.
Another disadvantage of a rice cooker is that it won’t work if there isn’t any electrical power source, so you have no way to cook rice if your house or apartment is experiencing a power outage. But, if you know how to cook proper rice using a stove, which we will get to in a while, then you will have an alternative if there is no electricity in the place you are staying in.
Cooking Rice on a Stove
Cooking and preparing rice on a stove is a much more complicated method compared to using a rice cooker, as it involves manually stirring and fluffing rice using different utensils. To get started in cooking rice using a stove, here are the things that you need to prepare besides the rice:
- Saucepan (w/ Lid)
- Measuring Cup
- Wooden Spoon (for Stirring)
- Fork (for Fluffing)
Once you have all of those items prepared, then you are ready to cook the best rice on the stove. Here are the simple steps that you can follow for cooking rice on the said appliance.
- Turn on the stove to medium heat and pour fresh water into the saucepan. Once the water boils, add at least one teaspoon of salt into the water. The salt provides extra flavor to the rice. Remember to add one extra cup of water for every cup of rice you cook, much like what you will do when you cook rice on a rice cooker.
- Pour the rice into the boiling water, and then stir it using a wooden spoon so that each grain will separate. But, don’t over-stir as this can result in rice that is too sticky.
- Once the rice grains are separated, cover the pan and decrease the heat of the stove to its lowest setting. You will then have to let the rice simmer for 15 to 18 minutes while the saucepan is closed.
- Next, open the lid and let the rice steam in the saucepan for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Turn off the stove and use a fork to fluff the rice so that it can have a better texture. To fluff the rice, use the fork to cut a cross in the rice, and then flip, turn, and mix each section of the rice to make its texture fluffier.
- After fluffing the rice, transfer it to a large plate for serving.
The benefit of cooking rice on a stove is that you will have better control over the appearance and texture of the rice since you will be able to monitor its cooking process. However, if you let the rice heat up too much on the stove, there is a chance that the rice grains at the bottom will get burnt, which will result in a bitter taste. But, with practice, you can make the perfect rice using a stove.
And, those are the two methods of cooking the best rice, as well as the steps on how to cook rice using those two methods. If you don’t have the time to prepare rice, you can just get and use a rice cooker easily for convenience. But, if you don’t want to spend money on a new appliance or if you are saving space in the kitchen, you can practice cooking rice using a stove instead.