Everyone should know how to cook rice perfectly. If cooking rice makes you nervous, know that you are not alone. And I’ll show you how to cook rice properly so you can enjoy it all week long and in 4 different ways – stove, microwave, rice cooker, and Instant Pot.
Growing up in Indonesia, rice is our staple food, and it is very normal to have rice three times a day – for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even snacks or desserts. Hence, there’s a saying if you know how to cook rice or how to cook rice properly, you will be fine. It’s simple, inexpensive, and enough for the whole family.
However, cooking rice is not as easy as people think. While most people follow the directions on the rice package, I grew up learning how to cook rice differently. But first…
How many types of rice are there?
Apparently, there are over 40,000 types of rice; however, let’s scale it down.
- Short-grain – which has starchy textures, such as glutinous rice, sushi rice. Learn how to make glutinous black rice dessert in this post
- Medium-grain, such as rissotto rice
- Long-grain, such as basmati rice, jasmine rice. This type is very common and perfect for fried rice. Jasmine rice is also good for cooking congee
Should I rinse rice before cooking?
Yes and yes, unless when you buy packaged rice at grocery stores. It is important to rinse the rice under cold water to remove excess starch. Rinse the rice by gently scrubbing the rice with your fingertips in a circling motion. Pour out the milky water, and continue to rinse until the water is no longer milky/clear (usually takes 2-3 times). Be sure to drain really well.
Measuring water for rice using finger measurement
It’s very simple. Pour the rice into the pan or rice cooker. Level it out and place your index finger so that it touches the surface of the rice. Add water just until it reaches the first crease of your finger.
Measuring water for rice using cups
It is easy to use a rice cooker since everything is set up; however, you might want to remember this formula when you can’t find your cheat sheet. And that is 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. But, this ratio needs to be adjusted when you cook 10 cups of rice.
When you cook rice in a rice cooker, there’s a function when you can extend the warm temperature; hence, you can leave your rice inside. In general, cooked rice can last for 5-7 days in a container in the fridge. And don’t throw away your days’ old rice and cook fried rice, instead.
How to reheat rice in a microwave
To reheat rice in a microwave, place it in a microwave-safe bowl. Then, cover the rice with a damp paper towel to not let the rice dry out and reheat the rice in a microwave.
How to store rice properly
Common mistakes in cooking rice
As easy as it sounds, cooking rice can sometimes turn into a disaster. And here are the common mistakes.
- Too hard: not enough water
- Mushy or sticky: too much water. You might want to cook congee instead
- Burnt: not enough water
What to serve with rice
Here are ways to use that perfect rice all week long and serve it with any of these recipes:
- Fried chicken
- Meat satay
- Beef rendang
- Gado-gado salad – it is very common to eat rice with gado-gado salad in Indonesia. Some sellers also use lontong (compressed rice cake) instead of rice
- Thai tofu satay
- Egg foo yong
How to make rice crackers
Indonesian rice crakers or rengginang are very popular. It comes with sweet and savory flavors; however, making rice crackers takes multiple steps. You will need glutinous rice soaked in water for hours, cooked in spices, dried, then fried.
Cooking rice is simple and should not intimidate you. And if you happen to visit Bali, you can enjoy this rice field view while learning how to cook rice properly.
How to Cook Rice Properly
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 cups water or more
- Bring the water to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let it cook covered for 18 minutes. The liquid should be fully absorbed. Turn off the heat and let it rest, covered, for another 10 minutes. Take off the lid, fluff the rice with a fork.
- Microwave – you will need BOILING water
- Microwave on high, uncovered, for 13 minutes in a large heat-safe container. Remove, and let it rest, covered, for another 10 minutes. Take off the lid, fluff the rice with a fork.
- You’ll have to play around a little with the rice cooker using the manual’s guidelines. However, it is so much easier when cooking in a rice cooker. Throw everything into the rice cooker, press the”on” button and the cooker will handle the cooking time.
- Add rice and water to an Instant Pot. Close the lid and set the steam valve to a “sealing” position. Press the “rice” button or set it on manual for 5 minutes, then natural release for 10 minutes. Turn Venting Knob to Venting position to release the remaining pressure and open the lid quickly.