I eat a lot of rice in my diet. As someone who eats gluten-free, it’s one of my go-to grains when I want to hearty up a meal. I make rice a couple times each month – usually in big batches, so I can cook once and eat multiple times without having to spend additional time in the kitchen.
For years, I had a hand-me-down rice cooker from my parents. They “gifted” it to me when I was in college and eating a ton of rice to save money. I remember that small appliance being the bane of my existence. Every time I tried to make a pot of rice, the ENTIRE counter would be flooded with “rice juice.” The super starchy liquid that would spill over from the cooker and end up on everything in the kitchen.
When I got married a couple of years ago, I put a new rice cooker on our wedding registry. My thought was that the rice cooker I had been working with was probably just a crappy one that needed replacing with a newer model. When we got the new rice cooker, I was thrilled! No more spilling over of the “rice juice,” clean counters and since this was a larger model – rice for days!
Well, truth be told, in the first three uses, the spillage continued. Every single time I made rice, the rice juice would be everywhere and that cooker became one of my least favorite kitchen items ever. I tried everything to get it to work properly – I tried making a smaller batch, a larger batch, soaking the rice and using less liquid. Eventually the only solution was to line the counter with kitchen towels to sop up the mess so that I could throw it all in the laundry when it was done.
Funny enough, it never dawned on me to try cooking my rice in a normal pot. You know, on the stove. I just always thought “I’m making rice so I need a rice cooker. That’s what those things are for – it says so on right on the packaging.” I finally started my hand at cooking my rice that way – with water, on the stove – like I’m sure millions of people still do who don’t give in to the gimmicks of single use small appliances.
I had my mishaps with that method a few times. As much as I pride myself on being a good cook, I had a few trials along the way. I burned the rice a few times, it took twice as long to cook other times, and I’d still have puddles under the burner after it was done cooking a few more times. But then I hit the gold mine. This strategy of the perfect rice – every time has been just that. My saving grace for cooking rice – no matter how much or how little I want to make.
So what are the keys to perfect rice every time?
- The right liquid to rice ratio (2:1)
- Soaking rice for a few hours or overnight
- Setting a timer between the time that the burner goes on and when the heat is reduced and the lid is placed
- Letting the rice sit for a few minutes before digging in
For me, the groundbreaker was the timer. Every single time I set the timer between the time I turn the stove top on and when I lower the heat and place the lid on top to cook, the rice comes out perfectly. With my stove top, it’s exactly 7 minutes from turn on to a very gentle simmer. It’s that timing that makes the difference in spillage and soggy to perfectly plump and tender.
The Perfect Rice Every Time
1 part brown rice
2 parts liquid (water, stock, etc.)
Soaking: Measure out the rice and place in a bowl. Cover the rice and fill the bowl to the top with water. Let rice sit at least 4 hours, if not overnight before cooking.
Preparation: After the rice has soaked, discard the soaking water. Rinse the rice one more time with fresh water and discard the water again.
Place the soaked rice and liquid (either fresh water or vegetable or chicken stock) in a large pot (one with a well-fitting lid).
Place the pot over medium-high heat and set the timer to 7 minutes (or your “sweet spot” timing to get the rice up to a gentle simmer). Walk away, clean up, prep the rest of your meal, etc.
After 7 minutes, reduce the heat to medium low, place the lid on top and set the timer for another 40 minutes. Go about your life for the next 40 minutes and do something good for yourself.
Check the rice at 40 minutes. It should be perfectly cooked, but if not, add a few more minutes to the timer. Keep an eye on it until it looks like the perfect consistency. Be sure not to overcook your rice as it will stick to the bottom of the pot – and no one likes cleaning up burned rice from the bottom of a pot.
Once the rice looks done, place the lid back on and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the steam to absorb into the rice more.
Serve up the rice then and there for your meal or separate and store for future meals during the week.
Have you ever lived with a kitchen mishap for as long as I have? Tell me about it!