If you have ever made white rice and it turned out sticky/soggy or undercooked; you don’t have to panic yet. Everyone must have made a similar mistake before and it is easy to correct it. The amount of water added and the cooking time usually makes it hard to get a bowl of perfect white rice. After reading this article, I’m so sure you will learn how to cook white rice perfectly without any challenge.
There are many varieties of rice: Basmati rice, white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, short-grain rice, long-grain rice. So also, there are different ways to cook rice: on the stovetop, rice cooker, Instant pot, oven-baked, and microwave. Whatever method we use to cook our rice is not what really matters, but all we aim to achieve at the end is a perfect rice dish every time.
White rice is a type of parboiled rice that has been milled and had its outer husk, bran, and germ removed. The result is a grain with a bright, white, shiny appearance after milling and polishing of rice. Just like any other rice, the process alters the original flavor, texture, and appearance of the rice. This helps to prevent spoilage, extend its longevity, and make it cook faster.
White rice is one of the simplest rice recipes that a novice will want to start with; the steps or procedures required are not many. I have been making white rice right from when I started cooking food. There are many tricks you can apply to make white rice come out perfectly. The timing, quantity of water, and simple ingredients added to determine a bowl of perfect white rice. These simple tricks are what you are going to learn in this post.
Simple facts for making a perfect white rice
However, I came out with this method of cooking white rice, with these tips, the rice came out in strands and without it turning soggy or sticky. What I did was this: I cooked the rice with the right ratio of water for about 15-20 minutes. After that, I placed a foil paper over the rice to trap in heat. Why I did this was because I noticed over time that too much moisture usually escapes while cooking rice, leaving it too dry at the end. The moisture is trapped inside to allow the steaming process rather than cooking too quickly when a foil paper is placed over the rice. With this method, the rice tends to cook evenly instead of the water escaping out quickly before it is cooked. This works well if you want your rice not to be sticky but in strands.
How to make white rice better
In addition, making white rice on stove-top is not that difficult, all you need to take into consideration are:
- The ratio of water to the quantity of rice and the type of rice- some rice requires very little water, moderately, and while others require much water to cook properly. Knowing the right quantity of water to add to a particular quantity and type of rice is very important. For example, when making long-grain white rice, I usually use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of uncooked rice.
- Temperature- if the temperature is too high, the rice might start cooking at the bottom while the top appears under-cooked. Once you have brought the water to a boil and the rice has been added, immediately reduce the heat so it simmers for the rest of the cooking time.
- Timing- the time it takes your rice to cook perfectly depends on your stove type. in fact, a type of pot also affects how long it takes rice to cook. However, you can always use a timer to ensure you’re cooking the rice for the exact time needed.
How to flavor white rice with spices and seasonings
- Add simple spice and ingredients: Even though it is called white rice, most people love flavored rice. In this case, they add a few spices or ingredients to make the rice taste better. Some spices that give white rice a unique and nutty flavor are garlic, parsley, thyme, and ginger powder; others are onion powder, oregano, and cinnamon. All these spices can be added to plain white rice to give the finished dish an extra flavor.
- Use olive oil or margarine: you can achieve a flavored bowl of rice by toasting the uncooked rice with butter or olive oil on the heat; then adding water to cook it. This will allow the flavors to be absorbed during the cooking process. Some other times, the oil can be drizzled over the white rice while it cooks; this also helps to keep all the grains separated and prevent them from sticking together.
- Make use of bay leaves. Bay leaves are good options too, they add slightly woodsy-herbal flavor which compliments the taste of the white rice.
- Toasted peanuts or cashews: Toasted peanuts and cashew nuts are simple stir-ins that give plain rice a texture boost. You can always add nuts and seeds to your rice to make it unique and tasty plus the unexpected bite you get in every forkful.
- Chicken stock: chicken stock or vegetable stock is a good seasoning for making white rice instead of filling your pot with plain water. However, you don’t have to go overboard when adding this otherwise, you will end up with clumpy rice. The best way to add this is to use an equal amount of water to chicken or vegetable stock. Maggi, Chicken bouillon cubes can be used in place of liquid stock, they all enhance the flavor of the rice.
What ratio of water to rice?
The ratio of water needed for white rice depends on the type of rice one is using. Some rice is sticky while some are tough; that may require much water to cook properly. For long-grain white rice which is tougher; I always double the amount of water to the quantity of rice I’m cooking. For instance, if I’m making 2 cups of rice, I use 4 cups of water to cook it. Or I use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of uncooked rice, this will result in 3 cups of cooked rice depending on the nature of rice. In this case, the rice will be able to cook properly and become soft.
How long to cook white rice?
The exact time it takes rice to cook depends on your source of heat whether stove, microwave, or electric cooker. Different pots can affect how long it takes to cook rice. It also depends on how you want the rice to be at the end. If you like your rice sticky, you may have to cook it a bit longer with more water especially if you are making it on a stovetop. I personally don’t like sticky rice especially when I want to serve the rice with some tasty chicken stew I prefer the rice in strands and not sticky.
How do you know when the rice is cooked?
When you pick one or two grains of rice and press against your fingertips and it feels chewy or melts easily; you now have cooked rice. When the water has dried and rice is still hard in the center, it is not cooked yet. Add about 1/4- 1/2 cup of water to it; place a lid over it and cook it for another 5- 10 minutes on very low heat until it turns out tender.
What goes with white rice?
White rice is a very versatile side dish to many meals, it pairs well different kinds of stews and sauces such as this shredded chicken sauce, coconut curry sauce, assorted meat stew. it is a good accompaniment to any type of beans. See this rice and bean recipe. I sometimes enjoy my white rice with fish stew.
Steps on how to make white rice on the stove
- Measure the amount of rice you desire into a bowl and rinse up to 3 times or until the water turns out clear, set aside.
- Place the water on the stove then add salt to taste and bring to a boil. The water should double the size of the rice you are cooking.
- Once the water has boiled; add the washed rice and stir with a fork to break up the clumps of rice and place a tight-fitting lid over it.
- Reduce the heat, let the rice cook on medium heat for 15 minutes. This will help it cook evenly. High heat can cause scorching at the bottom of the pot; even when the top of the pot is still undercooked.
- Now, the water must have reduced; you can press a grain of rice against the tip of your fingers to check if the rice is tender. If it is not, add 1/2 cup of water to it and continue cooking.
- Place a foil paper over the pot of rice to trap the heat; The foil paper will keep the rice moist after it is cooked. Too much moisture escapes while the rice is cooking leaving the rice dry at the end. Put the lid back and let rice use the trapped heat to cook slowly for the remaining 10 minutes until it is soft and moist.
- Open the rice and check if it is soft, once it is tender, use a fork or spoon to fluff it to separate each grain.
- Place the lid over it again to cook for another 3 minutes on low heat for the water to dry up completely.
- The rice is ready once it is tender and the water has dried up. Take it off the heat and serve with your favorite sauce.