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Making Perfect Rice
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  • Making Perfect Rice

    Post #1 - March 30th, 2011, 4:05 pm
    Post #1 - March 30th, 2011, 4:05 pm Post #1 - March 30th, 2011, 4:05 pm
    I recently bought a rice cooker hoping it would magically improve my rice making efforts. It didn't, and according to some folks who own the same model, it won't. I'm looking for some tips for making perfect rice; where the individual grains are separate (like the rice you find in middle eastern or Greek restaurants). I don't really care if it's a rice cooker or a pan method. Does anyone have some tips for me?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #2 - March 30th, 2011, 4:24 pm
    Post #2 - March 30th, 2011, 4:24 pm Post #2 - March 30th, 2011, 4:24 pm
    Add more butter/oil. Tends to help a lot.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #3 - March 30th, 2011, 4:26 pm
    Post #3 - March 30th, 2011, 4:26 pm Post #3 - March 30th, 2011, 4:26 pm
    I think many Greek restaurants (can't really speak to Middle Eastern, where I've seen all different kinds of rice) use a converted rice like Uncle Ben's (or look for the word "converted" or "parboiled" on the package.) Converted rice usually doesn't have a split down the middle of the grain and when cooked has the texture you describe. It's all we ever ate growing up - my Mother also preferred the very separate rice grains. Method for cooking is identical to normal rice, and it will probably work just fine in your rice cooker.

    Converted rice is really a kind of rice-based orzo - here's a description of the process: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-converted-rice.htm
  • Post #4 - March 30th, 2011, 5:25 pm
    Post #4 - March 30th, 2011, 5:25 pm Post #4 - March 30th, 2011, 5:25 pm
    Mhays wrote:I think many Greek restaurants (can't really speak to Middle Eastern, where I've seen all different kinds of rice) use a converted rice like Uncle Ben's (or look for the word "converted" or "parboiled" on the package.) Converted rice usually doesn't have a split down the middle of the grain and when cooked has the texture you describe. It's all we ever ate growing up - my Mother also preferred the very separate rice grains. Method for cooking is identical to normal rice, and it will probably work just fine in your rice cooker.

    Converted rice is really a kind of rice-based orzo - here's a description of the process: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-converted-rice.htm


    I'm trying an absorption method tonight with regular long grain rice. I'm sure that will work better than the rice cooker. That's a very interesting article. I never really know what converted rice is. I always just assumed it was something that was processed and adulterated in some way. According to that article, it actually has the nutrients of brown rice with the fluffiness of white rice. Who knew it was actually good for you? I'll give converted rice a try if this method doesn't work out.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - March 30th, 2011, 5:37 pm
    Post #5 - March 30th, 2011, 5:37 pm Post #5 - March 30th, 2011, 5:37 pm
    You could try cooking rice the Indian way:
    1. Rinse rice and then soak in water for about ten minutes
    2. Boil the rice in a pot of boiling salted water ( just like pasta)
    3. When rice grains are tender, drain water. Return rice to pot. Cover and steam for a few minutes.
    Jyoti
    A meal, with bread and wine, shared with friends and family is among the most essential and important of all human rituals.
    Ruhlman
  • Post #6 - March 30th, 2011, 6:07 pm
    Post #6 - March 30th, 2011, 6:07 pm Post #6 - March 30th, 2011, 6:07 pm
    I have variable results with rice depending upon the type of rice, and how attentive I want to be with it. (Some nights, I just don't give a crap if it's not perfect.) If I'm making basmati or jasmine rice, I always rinse it before cooking to take off any loose starch that lends to gumminess. If it's long or medium grain, one of the most successful methods I've tried is to steam the rice in a steamer. It takes away the pot of water/too much water/not enough time/too much time problem.
  • Post #7 - March 30th, 2011, 6:27 pm
    Post #7 - March 30th, 2011, 6:27 pm Post #7 - March 30th, 2011, 6:27 pm
    Steve,

    I'm a fan of CI's recipe. I've had great results with it. I don't like rice as cereal and also prefer separate grains.

    You can get the recipe online. If you don't have a membership you can register, and view recipes, for free for 14 days.

    It may also be in CI's New Best Recipe book but I can't remember.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #8 - March 30th, 2011, 7:46 pm
    Post #8 - March 30th, 2011, 7:46 pm Post #8 - March 30th, 2011, 7:46 pm
    Steve,

    There are so many variables in rice cooking. To rinse or not? Soaking? Boiling in large quantity of water or not? Ratio of liquid to rice? Type of pan? Length of cooking time? Type of rice?

    I recently had the "Spanish rice" at Bandera which was like cream of wheat. Totally wet, gummy, broken grains...a disaster with my $20 very dry half chicken. I should send my pot washer over there to teach them how to cook rice! Too much liquid and cooked too long.

    Try starting your pilaf on the stove top. The heavier your pan the better. After adding your liquid and bringing up to a simmer, then cover the pan tightly and finish in a moderate oven for 30 or so minutes (or longer) rather than on the stove top works like a charm for me. I was taught this by an old navy aircraft carrier cook.

    I think 1.75 to 1.5 parts liquid to 1 part rice works just about perfectly, or as he showed me: 1" of liquid or 1 finger digit of liquid above the level of the rice.

    Evil
    "Bass Trombone is the Lead Trumpet of the Deep."
    Rick Hammett
  • Post #9 - March 30th, 2011, 8:12 pm
    Post #9 - March 30th, 2011, 8:12 pm Post #9 - March 30th, 2011, 8:12 pm
    Evil Ronnie wrote:Try starting your pilaf on the stove top. The heavier your pan the better. After adding your liquid and bringing up to a simmer, then cover the pan tightly and finish in a moderate oven for 30 or so minutes (or longer) rather than on the stove top works like a charm for me. I was taught this by an old navy aircraft carrier cook.

    I think 1.75 to 1.5 parts liquid to 1 part rice works just about perfectly, or as he showed me: 1" of liquid or 1 finger digit of liquid above the level of the rice.

    Evil


    Only thing this old war horse would add is that I'd saute the rice in scant oil prior to adding the liquid, which I'd use stock (chix or veg depending) and a bay leaf. Be careful. When you add the liquid, it will boil back up @ you.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #10 - March 30th, 2011, 8:39 pm
    Post #10 - March 30th, 2011, 8:39 pm Post #10 - March 30th, 2011, 8:39 pm
    2 cups Uncle Ben's, 3 1/3 cups water, 1 tsp salt, 1tbl butter, in covered casserole, heat to boiling in microwave (about 12 minutes) then stir, cover, cook at 30% (defrost) for 20 minutes. Perfect, every time.
    "Good stuff, Maynard." Dobie Gillis
  • Post #11 - March 31st, 2011, 11:30 am
    Post #11 - March 31st, 2011, 11:30 am Post #11 - March 31st, 2011, 11:30 am
    As already Posted, there are so many types of rice and individual brands within the type that one method and device will/may not suffice for all.
    What specific type and brand are you cooking?
    We usually use a Kitchenaid microwave that has a 'Rice Setting' and works extremely well with a number of varieties. The amount of water is the biggest variable and depends on the type of rice, brand, and usage. Each is slightly different.
    Risotto's and arborio's are never cooked in the microwave but by other methods.
    I haven't used nor do i own a Rice Cooker but I would think that the specific brand would be geared toward the country of origin. i.e Japan, short grained rice. But even within this category, there is short grained prepared for eating and short grained for Sushi and they are slightly different in results. We make the rice for sushi slightly stickier to absorb the seasoning and to be a little more firmer.-Dick
  • Post #12 - April 26th, 2011, 7:05 pm
    Post #12 - April 26th, 2011, 7:05 pm Post #12 - April 26th, 2011, 7:05 pm
    I made rice tonight and it was a disaster.
    For the first time I can remember I made long grain rice. We always eat short grain rice and just use our Zojirushi fuzzy logic cooker - perfect every time.
    But tonight I was grilling chicken marinaded in Goya Mojo Criollo and thought fluffy yellow rice would be nice. I followed the instructions on the package of Riceland long grain enriched rice but substituted chicken stock with a few saffron threads for water. It was a gummy mess on the outside, crunchy and undercooked on the inside. About as bad as could be. What did I do wrong?
  • Post #13 - April 26th, 2011, 7:20 pm
    Post #13 - April 26th, 2011, 7:20 pm Post #13 - April 26th, 2011, 7:20 pm
    Well, first of all - what were the instructions?
  • Post #14 - April 26th, 2011, 7:37 pm
    Post #14 - April 26th, 2011, 7:37 pm Post #14 - April 26th, 2011, 7:37 pm
    I've been making a jambalaya recipe from the Times Picayune Cookbook for over 25 years. The recipe calls for converted rice. I've always used it and had very good results but in the back of mind, I sort of felt like using converted rice was cheating. So, a few months ago I made it and decided that this time, I'd use regular, long grain rice. It was a disaster and it ended up with a consistency like porridge. I didn't do anything else differently but the result was completely different. Huge party, embarrassingly crappy jambaylaya, lesson learned.

    But for cooking rice by itself, I've found that so much of the result depends on the type of rice you use. I own a rice cooker and it actually does a really great job but even then, there are very noticeable variations in my results depending on what I put in it. Jasmine, brown jasmine, basmati, texmati, sushi...they all turn out differently and pre-rinsing also has a significant effect on the final result. I'm definitely going to try some of the suggestions posted above (I'm fascinated by the par-boil method) but I do love my rice cooker. The results are always very good and it's supremely easy to use. It's the one element in the kitchen where 'set it and forget it' is ok with me.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

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  • Post #15 - April 26th, 2011, 7:40 pm
    Post #15 - April 26th, 2011, 7:40 pm Post #15 - April 26th, 2011, 7:40 pm
    zoid wrote:I made rice tonight and it was a disaster.
    For the first time I can remember I made long grain rice. We always eat short grain rice and just use our Zojirushi fuzzy logic cooker - perfect every time.
    But tonight I was grilling chicken marinaded in Goya Mojo Criollo and thought fluffy yellow rice would be nice. I followed the instructions on the package of Riceland long grain enriched rice but substituted chicken stock with a few saffron threads for water. It was a gummy mess on the outside, crunchy and undercooked on the inside. About as bad as could be. What did I do wrong?



    Most likely one or both of the following: not a tight enough lid, too high heat leading to rapid boil instead of low simmer. It sounds like too much of your liquid evaporated before the rice could cook.
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

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  • Post #16 - April 26th, 2011, 8:05 pm
    Post #16 - April 26th, 2011, 8:05 pm Post #16 - April 26th, 2011, 8:05 pm
    Mhays wrote:Well, first of all - what were the instructions?


    1.
    Combine in a 2 quare saucepan:
    1 cup rice
    2 cups water
    1 tsp salt, optional
    1 Tbsp oil or margarine, optional

    2.
    Stir lightly; bring to a rolling boil and reduce heat to simmer (low boil).
    Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 15 minutes.

    3.
    Remove from heat and allow to stand uncovered for 5 minutes.
  • Post #17 - April 26th, 2011, 8:07 pm
    Post #17 - April 26th, 2011, 8:07 pm Post #17 - April 26th, 2011, 8:07 pm
    Kennyz wrote:
    zoid wrote:I made rice tonight and it was a disaster.
    For the first time I can remember I made long grain rice. We always eat short grain rice and just use our Zojirushi fuzzy logic cooker - perfect every time.
    But tonight I was grilling chicken marinaded in Goya Mojo Criollo and thought fluffy yellow rice would be nice. I followed the instructions on the package of Riceland long grain enriched rice but substituted chicken stock with a few saffron threads for water. It was a gummy mess on the outside, crunchy and undercooked on the inside. About as bad as could be. What did I do wrong?



    Most likely one or both of the following: not a tight enough lid, too high heat leading to rapid boil instead of low simmer. It sounds like too much of your liquid evaporated before the rice could cook.


    I think your on to something - maybe a tighter lid and off the heat for the last 5-10 will work better.
  • Post #18 - April 27th, 2011, 5:26 am
    Post #18 - April 27th, 2011, 5:26 am Post #18 - April 27th, 2011, 5:26 am
    zoid wrote:3. Remove from heat and allow to stand uncovered for 5 minutes.


    I think that might be your problem. Next time, let it sit off heat covered for 15 minutes or so. The Cook's illustrated method that I settled on has you put a kitchen towel between the lid and the pan for this 15 minute cool down period. I'm not sure if that's completely necessary, but I've been doing it and my rice has been turning out perfectly. I made a huge batch on Easter and it worked like a chap. My Aroma rice cooker, as convenient as it is, has been benched.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #19 - April 27th, 2011, 7:00 am
    Post #19 - April 27th, 2011, 7:00 am Post #19 - April 27th, 2011, 7:00 am
    I'll third...the proportions seem right to me but it sounds like too little water; so evaporation is probably your culprit. I sometimes start with even less water (a 1.5 to 1 ratio) and it turns out OK. If you are suspicious of your lid, just cover your pot with tightly crimped aluminum foil instead. The other issue might be the "simmer" - if water is evaporating, the heat is too high. Too much movement in the pot (from boiling) can lead to the rice becoming gummy as well.

    One of my methods for cooking rice (which I use for sushi rice) isn't that dissimilar to cooking hardboiled eggs: bring to a boil, cover tightly, remove from heat and wait 20 minutes. (Of course, the whole rice-washing thing makes a difference, too)
  • Post #20 - April 28th, 2011, 5:33 am
    Post #20 - April 28th, 2011, 5:33 am Post #20 - April 28th, 2011, 5:33 am
    My 2 cents.

    While converted will usually give excellent texture, it has very little flavor, in my opinion. I almost always use long grain Basmati or Jasmine.

    Choose a pot of a size that the amount of rice you want to use will cover the bottom and come up the sides several grains thickness ( about 1/8" deep ). The key to my mind is the rinse. You need to rinse it gently so that in the process of rinsing you don't break the grains. The purpose of the rinse is to remove the surface starch. Breaking the grains simply exposes more starch. Cover the rice with water and very gently swirl. Then drain most of that water. Repeat this 8-10 times until the water you are draining is pretty clear. Again, you need to gently swirl to avoid breaking the grains.

    THen fill the pot with water until the water above the rice in an even layer reaches the first knuckle of your index finger. Under medium heat bring to a boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and without lifting the lid, let steam for 15 minutes. It is then ready, but can sit like this for another hour. When ready to serve, take off the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.
  • Post #21 - December 22nd, 2011, 10:32 am
    Post #21 - December 22nd, 2011, 10:32 am Post #21 - December 22nd, 2011, 10:32 am
    Is there a trick to cooking forbidden rice? I bought it from the bulk section of Whole Foods, so there were no instructions, and the web has been very vague. Do I soak it? Cook it like brown rice, with 2:1 water? I'm just making it plain, because I'm making duck marinated in a hoisin-pomegranate glaze, so I figured the glaze would also flavor the rice.

    Thanks!
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

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  • Post #22 - December 22nd, 2011, 10:58 am
    Post #22 - December 22nd, 2011, 10:58 am Post #22 - December 22nd, 2011, 10:58 am
    Pie Lady wrote:Is there a trick to cooking forbidden rice? I bought it from the bulk section of Whole Foods, so there were no instructions, and the web has been very vague. Do I soak it? Cook it like brown rice, with 2:1 water? I'm just making it plain, because I'm making duck marinated in a hoisin-pomegranate glaze, so I figured the glaze would also flavor the rice.

    Thanks!

    I chucked it in the rice cooker with 2:1 water, only because I didn't know what else to do with it - it came out perfectly fine. So I think your "cook it like brown rice" instinct is right on.
  • Post #23 - December 22nd, 2011, 2:36 pm
    Post #23 - December 22nd, 2011, 2:36 pm Post #23 - December 22nd, 2011, 2:36 pm
    We only make short grain brown rice typically.

    I like to cook the dry grains (1&1/2 cups) on high heat for about 5 minutes until you hear them start to crackle and smell a bit nutty.

    At the same time I boil just over 2 cups of water. Once I smell that nutty smell coming off of the rice for a minute of so I turn it down to a simmer, pour the water in, cover it and let it simmer for 40 minutes. Then I let it sit with the lid on for at least 10 minutes. It always seems to come out pretty good this way but I haven't tried this with white rice.
  • Post #24 - December 22nd, 2011, 2:53 pm
    Post #24 - December 22nd, 2011, 2:53 pm Post #24 - December 22nd, 2011, 2:53 pm
    i've found that if you toast your rice in some fat on the stove, add liquid, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and add to a 350 oven to finish, the rice comes out real nicer.....also, like a piece of meat let it rest about 10 minutes and fluff with a fork.......
  • Post #25 - December 22nd, 2011, 4:22 pm
    Post #25 - December 22nd, 2011, 4:22 pm Post #25 - December 22nd, 2011, 4:22 pm
    this chinese dude i used to work with swore by cooking rice in the pressure cooker. its more of a sticky rice though. put the rice and water (1:1 or 1:1.5 rice to water) in there clamp it down and put on the heat (without the weight) until it starts to make noise (steam shooting out of the hole) and then turn off the heat. in 15-20 minutes you're ready to go.
  • Post #26 - December 22nd, 2011, 4:27 pm
    Post #26 - December 22nd, 2011, 4:27 pm Post #26 - December 22nd, 2011, 4:27 pm
    jdchurchill wrote:this chinese dude i used to work with swore by cooking rice in the pressure cooker. its more of a sticky rice though. put the rice and water (1:1 or 1:1.5 rice to water) in there clamp it down and put on the heat (without the weight) until it starts to make noise (steam shooting out of the hole) and then turn off the heat. in 15-20 minutes you're ready to go.


    That same method works in a regular covered pot, though I keep the fire on low instead of turning it off.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #27 - December 22nd, 2011, 5:59 pm
    Post #27 - December 22nd, 2011, 5:59 pm Post #27 - December 22nd, 2011, 5:59 pm
    Long ago there was a tremendous thread on this very issue with a ton of good advice. To my mind, if you want to understand good rice with very seperate grains, you should be talking to Cubans, Indians, and Filipinos. Zim had some good things to say. The type of rice is obviously very important, but in terms of basic technique Jazzfood (no surprise) is right. My Cuban inlaws are rice masters as some here can attest. There's an alarming amount of lard (and/or olive oil) at the beginning of the process, however. You really need to coat and slightly toast the rice before adding just enough water and covering very tightly for a long, slow simmer. I believe Filipino technique is similar or the same.
  • Post #28 - December 22nd, 2011, 6:57 pm
    Post #28 - December 22nd, 2011, 6:57 pm Post #28 - December 22nd, 2011, 6:57 pm
    oh..........don't forget to add hot stock/water to rice..seriously makes a difference imo
  • Post #29 - March 13th, 2017, 9:38 pm
    Post #29 - March 13th, 2017, 9:38 pm Post #29 - March 13th, 2017, 9:38 pm
    Hi,

    I was half listening to the tv, when I heard discussion about America's Test Kitchen recipe for rice. They indicated the package recipe for rice often fell short of perfection with often a mushy result. A casual recitation of the ingredients included oil, which really caught my attention.

    I found this open article on Cook's Illustrated site.

    Their testing indicated 1 cup rice :1 cup water absorbed by the rice, though they added 3/4 cup water for evaporation. If you doubled the rice: 2 cups rice and 3-1/2 cups water, you ended up with mushy rice due to the extra water. If you doubled the rice by using 2 cups rice and 2-3/4 cups, then you had perfect rice.

    In the discussion, they added 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon oil. I have always added salt to rice and years ago my Mom would add butter. I've never added oil or butter when making rice.

    This evening, I made rice in my rice cooker measuring out 2 cups rice, 2-3/4 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cooking oil. This rice was not crunchy or mushy, it was just right. The metal lid was clean and not caked with starchy crust. I believe the oil kept the bubbling down.

    I have one of those Japanese rice cookers with a specific rice measuring cup and a removable cooking vessel with numbers and Japanese script. I had been using 1 or 2 cups rice and filling to the corresponding number, but the rice was crunchy. I did my default 1 part rice to 2 parts water with a mushy result. This article from CI put my rice cooking efforts back on track.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #30 - March 13th, 2017, 9:53 pm
    Post #30 - March 13th, 2017, 9:53 pm Post #30 - March 13th, 2017, 9:53 pm
    I make rice frequently and use the ATK vegetarian cookbook method of boiling the rice and draining.
    Now I do this with a rice I use for the dog but it looks fine and works faster.

    I use 4 quarts of boiling water ( I ski oil and salt since it is for the dog) and add 2 c long grain white rice. Return to a boil. Decrease heat and set timer for 17 minutes. They give a range with 17 minutes being the high end. Drain over a collander and go.

    Interestingly, I listened to Chris Kimball's Milk Street Podcast today, #103 Taste of Persia and Sarah Moulton also confessed she boiled her rice like pasta.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening

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