Let me start by saying how difficult it is to take pretty pictures of rice. It’s just…… rice, you know?
I feel a bit odd sharing this “recipe” as it’s hardly a recipe so much as it is a method.
Rice was one of those things that took me a while to really “nail.” I tried following recipes on the bags of rice themselves or following the advice of friends and family but I always seemed to end up with a huge pot of mess.
Sometimes the rice would still be crunch, other times it was total mush. Sometimes I’d find a pool of water in the bottom of the rice pot, other times the bottom half-inch of rice was a blackened burnt mess.
This method produces tender, fluffy rice like the kind they serve in Thai restaurants. You know what I’m talking about, right? When you can see each individual grain of rice, rather than just a glob of white mush? Yeah, that’s the good stuff.
Now that I cook rice about 17 times per week, I’ve got the whole thing figured out and figured I’d share it with you!
This method will work with long-grain white rice, Jasmine rice, and basmati rice. Don’t try to use brown rice!
The recipe below will make about 5 cups of cooked white rice – enough for a side dish at a family meal. Since it’s just the husband and me at my house, I like to make this rice and then save the leftovers in the fridge to make Thai-style fried rice.
OKAY. Take a breath.
Here’s the looooong explanation for what is really a SIMPLE process. I promise.
I also think it’s an absolute MUST to rinse your rice properly before you put it over heat. I’ve tried rinsing mine in a strainer with running water, but I’ve found the most effective way is to measure the rice, put it into your cooking pan, then add about an inch of water over the top and use your fingers to swirl the water around. You’ll be able to see the starch coming off of the rice as the water turns murky.
Then, pour the contents of the pot (both rice and water) into a fine strainer to let the water drain off. Return the wet rice to the pan, add another inch of water, swirl again, and drain again. Repeat that process one more time and you’re good to go.
I’m really not kidding about doing it 3 times. It’s essential!
Once you’ve drained the rice for the final time, return the rice to the pan and add the measured amount of water. Stir. Set it on your stove and set turn the burner on to medium heat. Wait patiently as it comes to a boil.
Don’t make a rookie mistake and turn the heat up to get it to boil faster. That will turn your rice into a mess of mushy nasty grossness. No one likes mushy nasty grossness.
Oh, and another thing. Don’t stir the rice EVER except for the one time you did it when you added the measured water.
Once it comes to a boil, keep an eye on it and wait until the water level dips below the level of the rice. Once you can see a few mounds of rice peeking out above the water you’re ready to use your…
SECRET RICE WEAPON.
Well don’t get too excited, because it’s just a regular old kitchen towel.
Lay the kitchen towel over the top of the pot, then put the lid on the pot and ensure the whole thing is as sealed up as it can be. Lift the hanging edges of the towel up off of the burner so you don’t burn your house down, and fold them up onto the top of the pot lid.
What’s with the towel, you ask? Well, it absorbs the condensation coming off of the rice as it steams so it doesn’t “rain” back down onto the top of the rice, which makes it soggy. SCIENCE!
Turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Set a timer for 15 minutes and walk away. Have a beer and peruse my latest pins on Pinterest in the meantime.
When the timer goes off, turn the heat off and set another timer for 10 minutes. Finish your beer (or, you know, open another one). Leave the lid on the pot. Do not peek.
When that second timer goes off, remove the lid and the towel and use a fork to fluff the rice into those perfect individual grains.
Phew! That was kind of a long post to write all about plain old rice. But hey, there’s no point in you making a delicious Panang curry or a fragrant Indian Chicken Korma if you completely botch the rice, right?
Then your food is just sad and lonely and all of that yummy sauce goes to waste because there’s nothing to soak it all up! Tragic, I tell you.
OK friends, so you don’t have to try to extract the “recipe” out of the above instructions, here’s a handy printable for you to keep in your kitchen (might I suggest the awkward cabinet above your stove?) until you have it memorized.
- 1½ c. long-grain white rice, jasmine rice, or basmati rice
- 2 c. water
- Measure out 1 ½ cup of jasmine rice and pour it into a saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid. Move over to the sink and run some room-temperature water over the top of the rice until it covers the rice by about an inch. Use your fingers to swirl the rice and water around the pan. Drain the water off of the rice using a fine mesh sieve or through your hand if you don’t have one. Repeat the process of adding water, swirling, and draining two more times.
- Once you've finished, measure 2 cups of water and add it to the pot. Stir the rice as you add in the water, but do NOT stir it again once you've turned the heat on - ever.
- Set the pot over medium-heat and patiently wait as it comes to a boil. Let it boil until the water level drops below the level of the rice (the rice will be peeking through the top). Turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible, place the kitchen towel over the top of the pot, and cover the rice with the pot’s lid. Bring the edges of the towel up and twist around the handle of the lid so they aren't dangling down near the heat element.
- Set a timer for 15 minutes and walk away. Once that timer goes off, turn the heat off entirely and let the rice sit for 10 more minutes before taking off the lid. After 10 minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve hot.