Why Rice at Restaurants Tastes So Much Better Than It Does at Home
Achieving perfectly cooked rice from the stove is a dream that many have not yet realized. Failed attempts yield mushy blobs, undercooked crunchy grains, or a baffling mixture of both.
You follow the instructions on the package but it still doesn’t turn out right. Your parents can’t help you. Neither can your significant other. It’s just not working. Yeah, you could buy a rice cooker, but you want to be the rice cooker.
Understood. No matter what, you’re going to master brown, short-grain, Basmati, or sushi rice before you turn 70. It’s gonna taste like a chef cooked it, and we’re here to help. One thing the pros know is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for rice.
It depends on the rice type, if it’s been soaked, and how it’s been seasoned. It’s all about water absorption and technique. To ensure, flavorful, separate, fluffy grains straight from the stove, follow some of these steps.
Rinsing and Soaking
You’ll want to rinse most white rice until the water runs clear to get rid of excess starch, which can cause rice to get sticky. It may take a couple of rounds. You can nix rinsing for enriched white rice.
If you’re on the fence about soaking, you can always skip the step for most long grain varieties, but for brown rice, soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
You don’t have to rinse and soak, but soaking rice overnight helps make it more digestible, opens the grain up for better water absorption, speeds cooking, and reduces the levels of arsenic and phytic acid in it. Phylates prevent the body from absorbing nutrients like magnesium and calcium.
Many cooks soak for at least 20 to 30 minutes before cooking, which is fine in place of overnight. Here’s which ones you should soak: medium grain white or brown, short-grain white or brown, Basmati, Jasmine, and Texmati.
For wild rice, soaking for at least 6 to 8 hours will help to shorten its cooking time. Before cooking, drain the water!
This is really what trips people up. For white rice (long grain, Basmati, Jasmine), you want your water ratio to be 1 cup of rice to about 1½ to 1¾ cups of water.
With brown rice, the ratio is 2 to 1. So, 2 cups of water (or broth) to 1 cup of rice. Wild rice takes longer to cook and to absorb water, so you want the ratio to be 3 cups of water to 1 cup of rice.
Combine rice and liquid in a medium to large saucepan with a lid. Add 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring your rice to a boil, uncovered, at medium-high heat.
For white rice varieties, simmer your rice in a covered pot at medium-low or low until all the water is absorbed, which is typically 15 to 20 minutes. If you soaked it, 10 minutes may do the trick. Do not open the lid!
Unsoaked brown rice should be simmered with the lid on for 45 to 50 minutes. Pre-soaked brown rice can be cooked for 20 minutes, lid on.
With wild rice, reduce your heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes if it was pre-soaked. If you didn’t soak it, simmer for 45 minutes.
No matter which rice type you choose, DO NOT PEEK! Peeking allows steam to escape, which will totally thwart your quest for perfect rice. As far as flavoring, you are free to add in seasonings along with butter and salt. Get with some stocks, bouillon cubes, or saffron threads!
Remember that rice expands as it cooks, so you can half or double your recipe depending on how many people you want to feed. Double check your package label for how many cooked cups will be yielded. Happy cooking!
Do you have a struggle when it comes to cooking rice? Which is your favorite variety to eat or cook?