The key to cooking perfect rice lies in understanding how each variety absorbs water and how fast your heat source is cooking off water. Here are Hinode’s expanded cooking suggestions for making perfect rice.

rice-factsRinsing:

Start by rinsing away the residual bran and starch that is naturally left on the outside of rice grains so they can absorb water evenly. This can be done in a strainer with small holes. You can also add water to the pan and swirl it around before poring it out. Just make sure that you drain out all the water from the pan before adding the suggested ratio of water for steaming.

Note: Do NOT rinse enriched rice as it will wash away the nutrients that are added back in after milling.

Water Absorption:

The natural oils in whole grain brown rice require longer cook times to absorb moisture than white rice. Basically, brown rice absorbs water slower than white rice because of the oil in the dark layer of the grain. You don’t necessarily need more water to cook brown rice, the water just needs to stay around longer for it to be absorbed through the bran layer. The more nutrients and natural oils a grain has, the longer it takes to cook. Your body will thank you for taking the time to prepare this nutritious, gluten free carbohydrate.

cooking-rice-101Rice Cooker:

Each manufacture and model varies in the level and distribution of heat throughout the rice cooker. This is why the same water ratio in two models of rice cookers can cook up differently. Read the rice cooker manual to select a setting for preparing your specific variety of rice. Most rice cookers build in time for soaking, in addition to steaming, in the white rice setting. This is ideal when cooking medium or short grain white rice. However, long grain white rice (including jasmine and basmati) does not need to soak before cooking. Consider the quick cook setting, if available, when preparing long grain white rice in a rice cooker.

Variety of Rice: Setting on Rice Cooker:
  • Calrose Medium Grain White
  • Calrose Medium Grain Hapa Blend
  • Short Grain White (Hitomebore or Koshihikari)
White – with extended time for soaking before steaming
  • All Whole Grains
  • Brown, Black, Red, White & Wild Blend
Brown – extended cook time for whole grains
  • Extra Long Grain White
  • Basmati White
  • Jasmine White
Quick Cook – white rice setting without the added time for soaking

Soaking:

Medium and short grain varieties require soaking before cooking to achieve their ideal fluffy yet sticky texture. This is because they both contain amylopectin (sticky) starch. By soaking medium and short grains (both white and brown) they are able to absorb water more evenly. Soaking rice helps avoid a mushy texture. Rice often becomes mushy when it is cooked too fast; not necessarily because you use too much water. With more time to absorb, the grains can expand to their optimum texture.

BTU’s Matter:

It usually takes 40 minutes for brown rice to cook and only 15 minutes for white rice to cook. This cook time usually works well for an average size burner with 8,000 to 12,000 BTU’s. If you have a burner with higher BTU’s (15,000), you may try slightly increasing the amount of water by 1/4 cup because it will burn off the water faster. If you are using a burner with lower BTU’s (5,000) , you may need to extend your cook time by 5-10 minutes or slightly reduce the amount of water used by 1/4 cup because it will burn off slower.

Match Quarts and Cups:

A helpful trick is to match the cups of rice being cooked to the quart size of your pan. Use a two quart pan when cooking two cups of rice or a three quart pan for cooking three cups of rice. This distributes the rice and water at the bottom of the pan at an optimum level for steaming.

Stove Top:

Calrose Medium Grain White, Short Grain White or Hapa Blend Rice:

  1. Rinse rice in water until it runs clear.
  2. Soak in suggested water ratio for 20 minutes before steaming (e.g. 2 ¼ cups water to 2 cups rice).
  3. Stir rice well in water to distribute evenly in bottom of pan.
  4. Cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to a slow boil then immediately turn to low and let simmer 15 – 20 minutes.
  5. Do not remove the lid while steaming! If you are a “peaker,” use a pan with a glass lid so you can check on the rice without lifting the lid. Removing the lid reduces the amount of water the rice will absorb.
  6. When all the water has steamed off, remove the pan from the burner and let stand (without removing the lid) for 10 minutes. This helps the rice absorb any remaining moisture and set up without getting mushy.
  7. Now take of the lid! Use a fork or rice spoon to gently fluff the rice so it doesn’t stick into one big mound.

Long Grain White Rice (Enriched Extra Long Grain, Jasmine or Basmati):

  1. To retain vitamins, do not rinse before or drain after cooking.
  2. Add suggested water and rice to pan (e.g. 3 cups water to 2 cups rice).
  3. Stir rice well in water to distribute evenly in bottom of pan.
  4. Cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to a slow boil then immediately turn to low and let simmer 15 – 20 minutes.
  5. Do not remove the lid while steaming! If you are a “peaker,” use a pan with a glass lid so you can check on the rice without lifting the lid. Removing the lid reduces the amount of water the rice will absorb.
  6. When all the water has steamed off, remove the pan from the burner and let stand (without removing the lid) for 10 minutes. This helps the rice absorb any remaining moisture and set up without getting mushy.
  7. Now take of the lid! Use a fork or rice spoon to gently fluff the rice so it doesn’t stick into one big mound.

Brown or Black Whole Grain Rice, White & Wild Blend:

  1. Rinse rice in water until it runs clear.
  2. Add suggested water and rice to pan (e.g. 3 cups water to 2 cups rice).
  3. Stir rice well in water to distribute evenly in bottom of pan.
  4. Cover with a tight fitting lid and bring to a slow boil then immediately turn to low and let simmer 40 – 50 minutes.
  5. Do not remove the lid while steaming! If you are a “peaker,” use a pan with a glass lid so you can check on the rice without lifting the lid. Removing the lid reduces the amount of water the rice will absorb.
  6. When all the water has steamed off, remove the pan from the burner and let stand (without removing the lid) for 10 minutes. This helps the rice absorb any remaining moisture and set up without getting mushy.
  7. Now take of the lid! Use a fork or rice spoon to gently fluff the rice so it doesn’t stick into one big mound.

Setting:

Remove the rice from its heat source after cooking. Remove the pan from the burner and let it stand covered for 5 -10 minutes after cooking. This lets the steam inside dissipate and helps you get that perfect rice texture – not too mushy or too andante, but just right. Rice cookers usually automatically turn to a warm setting after steaming is complete.

1 Cup Challenge:

It is very difficult to cook just 1 cup of rice without burning the bottom. If you must, try these helpful hints:

  • 1 3/4 cup water to 1 cup rice
  • Smaller BTU burner (5,000 – 8,000)
  • 1 quart sauce pan with glass lid for monitoring
  • When bringing water to a boil make sure it does not overflow out the pan
  • Do not lift the lid (for even a second) to peak – every drop of moisture counts

Few rice cookers are designed to cook only one cup of rice. Most rice cookers will burn just one cup of rice on the bottom because the heat source is too concentrated and it burns off the water too fast. If possible, cook a minimum of two cups of rice in a rice cooker and freeze the extra in a zip lock bag for another day.