On a mailing list the other day, someone was asking about cooking rice. As I've done a fair amount of that in my life, I dashed together the following instructions. Seems like it oughta be on the website.
Selecting a Rice Cooker
- Go to oriental grocery store. If more than one person working in the store speaks english, you might be in the wrong store.
- Stare intently at the rice cookers on the shelf. Wait for someone to come over and see if you need help, or possibly ask for help.
- Get the cheapest rice cooker with a stainless-steel pot that doesn't make the person helping you frown.
I do just fine cooking rice in a cheap (~$20) ToastMaster rice cooker, which was recommended to me above some more expensive units. It's just got an on switch, and goes to “warm-mode” automatically when it's done cooking. Pull the plug to shut it off entirely.
I should also mention that another method works fine without a cooker, and is the preferred rice-cooking method over a campfire:
- Put 2 cups of cold water in a saucepan for each level cup of rice.
- Put the lid on the saucepan and turn on medium heat.
- When it starts to simmer (this is obvious since it will boil over a little which you will hear) turn heat to low and set a timer for 10 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, you turn the heat off and let it stand for at least 5 minutes.
Note there is no rinsing, salt or draining. The lid stays on the whole time, except maybe for a second or two when you are rescuing the pan from boiling over.
The two things I do when cooking rice in my rice cooker are to rinse white rice (takes 2 or 3 rinses, minimum), and adjust the quantity of water for various other types of rice. It took a while to get the water quantities right for some brown rice, but for most white rice (including jasmine and basmati), I just put in the rice, and then put in water until it's about a fingernail's length (roughly ½″) above the rice. More water for brown rice, and no rinsing for sushi rice.
Sticky-rice wants a conical cooker and steam. I generally don't make sticky rice for myself, but I've been told that a steamer similar to this one is the best non-traditional bet.
Sushi rice gets made by adding rice wine vinegar and sugar after the rice is cooked. These directions for sushi rice are pretty typical. Cal-Rose rice has worked very well for me.
I do Arborio/risotto in a frying pan, as with that you want to add liquid (water, chicken-stock, or white-wine) continuously and keep stirring to give it the right creamy texture.
Wild rice gets cooked as follows: Soak for 15 minutes in water, then rinse with cold water three or four times. Pre-cook by boiling in a saucepan for 30 minutes, 3 parts water/1 part rice, then put in foil bag with portabello mushrooms, garlic, onions, etc., sprinkle with water (maybe half a part) and seal the foil bag. 5-10 minutes on the hot part of the grill, 10-15 @ 250 in the oven, or 15-20 on the coolest part of the grill if you've got a big grill with all the charcoal on one side. Add a little butter, ghee, or olive-oil and loosen before serving. Goes especially well with trout and walleye.
I guess I should mention the other trick for getting good rice that a friend of mine used.
Warning: not terribly politically correct.
- Go to Viet Nam.
- Meet cute gal.
- Make multiple trips there to meet family, make sure she can cook, etc.
- Marry her, and bring her back to the states.
- Perfect rice, every time.