Rice preparation on the stove –
- 1 cup rice basmati per serving
- 2 cups of water (or 150 ml)
- Measure the rice into a cup and level the top, or weigh the desired number of servings into a jug and record the liquid level.
- Cover the rice with cold water in a bowl containing the rice. To remove the starch from the rice, jostle and move it in the water.
- Drain thoroughly using a sieve, and repeat the rinsing process until the water is clear. If you have time, soak the rice for at least 30 minutes in cold water. This will ensure that the grains cook evenly.
- Place the rice in a saucepan over low heat.
- Add double the amount of water (2 cups, or 150ml water for a 75g serving) and salt to the rice, if desired.
- Bring the liquid to a boil. To ensure that the rice is evenly distributed, swirl it in the pan or stir it once.
- Cover the pot and reduce the heat as much as possible. If you cook rice over a temperature that is too high, it will cook too quickly and may become chalky in the center.
- Do not remove the lid during the 10-minute simmer. Verify that the rice is cooked by tasting a grain
- this should also be indicated by the appearance of small holes on the surface and the absorption of all the water. If the food is not quite ready, cook it for a few more minutes before turning off the heat.
- If desired, fluff the rice with a fork and serve it immediately in a bowl. However, if you cover the rice with a tea towel for 10 minutes, any remaining water will be absorbed. The grains can then be fluffed for an even better texture.
If the stovetop is unavailable, or if you prefer to use the oven or microwave, it is also possible to prepare rice in these ways. Large quantities of rice are best cooked in the oven, while the microwave method is the quickest.
What is the rice finger rule?
– Contrary to popular belief, cooking techniques for a staple food are not as widely shared as you might think. Every day, billions of people around the world consume rice, and with so many people comes an almost equal number of rice-cooking techniques.
- The majority of methods involve bringing rice and water to a boil in a pot, then simmering them over low heat; the confusion arises from determining the appropriate amount of water for a given quantity of rice.
- Numerous individuals use predetermined ratios of water to rice.
- The popular “knuckle method” in East Asia, however, does not use a fixed ratio (or measuring cups!) and instead employs a tiny portion of the human body to ensure perfectly hydrated rice, regardless of the quantity being prepared.
How does it function, and why does it produce delicious rice in any quantity? Let’s find out. First, let’s assume we’re talking about a medium-grain, starchy rice, such as jasmine, and save the discussion of rice varieties for another time. To use the knuckle method, thoroughly rinse the rice with water, then add water until it reaches the depth of the knuckle closest to your fingertip (AKA the distal interphalangeal joint).
You can determine the appropriate depth by placing the tip of your index finger on the rice and measuring from there (see photo below). The water level should reach your first knuckle when you touch the rice with the tip of your finger. In the knuckle method, regardless of the amount of rice being cooked, one knuckle’s worth of water is added.
Currently, you likely have two questions: 1) How can this function, given that individuals have different hands? 2) Shouldn’t the amount of rice you’re cooking determine how much water you use? First, let’s look at finger variation. The distance from the tip of the finger to the first knuckle varies from person to person, but the differences are relatively minor.
- You can see in the image below that the length of the first segments of the pointer fingers of two people with different-sized hands is nearly identical.
- The length of the first segment of the pointer fingers on two different-sized hands is identical.
- Do not rely on our word alone.
- Compare your hands to those of the people in your vicinity (ask them first), and judge for yourself.
There is a certain amount of human variation, but on average, we’ve discovered that individuals are within 10% of one another. The real question is how the knuckle method can be applied to any quantity of rice. The answer depends on two processes involving the water added to the rice pot: absorption and evaporation.
- The water that is absorbed enters each rice grain and aids in cooking its starches.
- Because each rice grain requires roughly the same amount of water, doubling the amount of rice requires doubling the amount of water absorbed.
- As rice cooks, the evaporated water escapes in the form of steam.
- The precise amount of liquid lost due to evaporation is dependent on the pot’s surface area, the tightness of the lid, and the total cooking time.
These variables are not dependent on the amount of rice, but rather on the cooking equipment used. If you use the same pot, the total amount of water that evaporates will be roughly the same regardless of the quantity of rice you are cooking. Therefore, this quantity should not change when cooking twice as much rice.
So why is the knuckle method effective? Assume you are using your preferred rice cooker. There is always the same amount of water between the top of the rice and your first knuckle. This is approximately the amount that evaporates during cooking if your pot has an 8-inch diameter (20 cm). As shown in the graph below, water also fills the spaces between rice grains, and this amount increases linearly with rice quantity.
These two graphs illustrate the relationship between rice and water for two distinct cooking techniques. Consider the possibility of utilizing a fixed ratio of water to rice, such as 2 parts water to 1 part rice. Increasing the amount of water would result in a doubling of both absorption and evaporation.
The rice requires absorption to cook, but excess water will not evaporate and will instead be absorbed, leaving you with a sticky mess. The graph above demonstrates that for larger quantities of rice, the ratio method requires significantly more water than the knuckle method. Therefore, the fixed water-to-rice ratio that works for your family will not be appropriate for a large group.
Your finger segment is not only convenient, but it also remains comfortable.
What happens if rice is not rinsed prior to cooking?
Why Do We Wash Rice? When you open a container or bag of rice, you will find that its grains have traveled quite a distance. Throughout this period of processing, packing, travel, and storage, they are in constant contact. This friction produces starch dust that coats the rice grains.
- If the grains are not washed prior to cooking, the residual starch will gelatinize in the hot cooking water, causing the cooked rice grains to stick together.
- In certain instances, such as with glutinous rice and arborio rice, this can result in a very sticky texture.
- In the case of biryanis and pilafs/pulaos made with long-grain rice such as basmati, whose quality is determined by the separation of the cooked rice grains, it is crucial to remove the dust.
The rice is ready to be soaked if the runoff water is clear, indicating that most of the starch dust has been removed. In kanji/congee, short-grain rice, such as short-grain sushi rice (occasionally I use arborio), is cooked in water or stock to produce a thick, soupy liquid.
- Even though the starch dust may help thicken your soup, you should still wash the rice prior to cooking to remove any dirt, chemicals, or insects that may be present.
- Sticky rice’s inherent properties (low percentage of amylose, high amount of amylopectin) thicken the liquid without difficulty, so starch dust loss during washing is not a concern.
Acids and excessive mechanical force can reduce the viscosity of amylopectin; therefore, acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice, should be added last, and whisking or stirring should be done gently. Several studies indicate that washing rice can significantly reduce the accumulation of heavy metals in the plant (toxic heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and cadmium, if present in soil, can collect in plants).
- Some rice brands are labeled “enriched” and come with a warning not to rinse before cooking.
- This rice is pre-cleaned and fortified with various vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
- I seldom purchase this type of rice.
- After the grains have been dehusked and polished, they are fortified, and washing the rice removes these nutrients.
In another type of enrichment, genes are modified or introduced to increase the nutrient content of rice and even address health problems.