How to Cook Rice

Learning how to cook rice so that you end up with perfectly fluffy, separate grains, is not as difficult as you might think. It makes a great accompaniment to your gluten free meal, in place of other forms of carbohydrates, such as couscous, bulgar wheat, or pastry - all of which you need to avoid.

Let's look at the types of rice available, then we will move on to cooking it.

Types of rice

Rice can come in different colors and lengths as the samples shown above.

The most common variety is perhaps long grain white rice. It has had the husk and bran removed before being polished. Depending on where it is grown it can be sold under several names, including Patna (India), Basmati (Himalaya), Carolina (America) and Jasmine (Thailand). You can also buy Easy Cook or Minute Rice, which in my opinion is rather bland as well as costing more.

White rice is also available in both medium (Arborio) and short grain varieties, which are suitable for risottos, paella and rice puddings.

Next is the most nutritious version - brown rice. This form does take longer to cook than white rice (about twice as long), but it has a lovely nutty flavor. It is also ideal for grinding into brown rice flour, a staple in many gluten free pantries. 

Wild rice is not actually a type of rice but a grain. However, I will include it in the list. I often buy a package of mixed basmati and wild rice which cooks up lovely. 

The other rice is the photograph, is black rice, which is sometimes called purple rice, as it turns that color when cooked. It is an excellent source of iron. In China it is used to make black rice cake or bread. I have some in my pantry, but haven't used it yet.

How to cook white rice - long grain

I will cover two ways to cook rice here.  For both you want to measure out around 2oz or 60 grams per person, and twice that amount of water.

Open pan method of cooking rice

  1. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a rolling boil, then tip in the measured rice. 
  2. Stir once, then turn down the heat to a simmer. Continue cooking, without covering the pan, until tender. This will take about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the rice in a colander or sieve. Pour boiling water over it to wash off the extra starch. This will help to keep the grains separate.
  4. Cover the colander with a cloth or towel for a few minutes while it drains. The rice should dry nice and fluffy.
  5. Serve.
Long grain and wild rice cooked by the absorption method

ONLY STIR ONCE: If you continue to stir, you will break the grains and release the starch, resulting in sticky rice rather than it being fluffy.

Absorption method

  1. Measure carefully for this method! Pour the rice into a jug and note the volume. Tip it into your empty saucepan along with exactly twice the volume of cold water, and a teaspoon of salt.
  2. Bring to the boil, then cover tightly and lower the heat. Keep on a low simmer for 15-20 minutes for normal long grain or 10 minutes for basmati.
  3. Remove from the heat and leave the lid on the pan for another 10 minutes. 
  4. Fluff up gently with a fork. Serve.

Cooking brown rice

Ensure you wash brown rice carefully before cooking, to remove the debris. Your water will likely end up cloudy after the first wash, so continue until it runs clear.

  1. Measure the required amount of rice, remembering that it will double in volume when cooked.
  2. Tip it into your pan with twice the amount of water, as per the instructions for the absorption method above.
  3. Place a lid on the pan and bring it to the boil.
  4. Turn down the heat to a slow simmer, and leaving the lid on the pan cook for a further 45 minutes. 
  5. Test by taking off the lid to check if any water remains. If all the water has been absorbed the rice should be ready to serve.

- - How to Cook Rice


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