- To wash or not to wash the rice before cooking?
- Soak it or not?
- Cook in cold or boiling water?
- To stir or not to stir?
- What proportion of the water and rice to take? What is the cooking time?
Perhaps these questions torture me only, but if there is one interesting to you, I hasten to share my findings.
I must say that of all the read and digested information, I chose only the one that refers to or directly affects the process of cooking rice. Overboard remains the information relating to the beneficial or not beneficial nutritional properties of rice, saving or disappearing of them.
As the basis, we consume imported rice. To improve its appearance, as well as to preserve it during the transportation, the rice is “glazed”. “Glazing” is covering the grain with the mixture of glucose and talc in special glazing barrels. Therefore washing rice is needed to remove the talc, which is used for processing of rice. Some rice is processed with starch derived from cereals, and washing in fact is not mandatory, but it is better to wash off the excess starch – it will only improve the final result.
Exception – Italian Arborio, Vialone Nano, Carnaroli, if used for making risotto.
Soaking allows more rapid and uniform cooking of rice. In addition, soaking allows you not to think of two variables: the aging and drying. These and the other processes affect the moisture content of rice – the dryer the rice is, the more water is required for its preparation. Since you often do not know this information, then by soaking the rice, you will get rid of unnecessary worries.
Cold or Boiling Water?
Depending on the method that you use for cooking the rice usually in cold water, rice is cooked with the lid closed. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat and continue to cook rice with the lid closed on a very low heat until the water is completely absorbed. In boiling water, cook rice with the lid open, until the water boils away, then reduce the heat, cover rice with a lid and steam on a very low heat. The method chosen depends largely on the type of rice and the dish.
To Stir or Not to Stir? To Salt or Not to Salt?
Do not stir it and do not add salt, if you want to cook crumbly rice, not risotto or porridge. Stirring and salt destroy the grain structure, making it more sticky.
The Proportions of Water and Rice
Here it’s possible to write a thesis on hundreds of pages with a bunch of formulas, calculations and tables. Limited to a few conclusions: the proportion of 1 cup rice to 2 cups of water is far from universal. For the preparation of crisp rice with a moisture content of 64%, 100 grams of rice with a moisture content of 12% 145 grams of water is needed. One cup of rice – about 205 grams, then for its preparation you need 1 cup of water, or 240 grams. Provided that during the preparation the water does not evaporate.
So, it all depends on how much water evaporates in the cooking process, and mostly on the cooking time.
Most varieties of white rice are prepared for 15-20 minutes. If the rice was pre-soaked, the cooking time is reduced almost twice (but this does not mean that it takes two times less water, since most of the water evaporates).
Water losses are dependent on two components: the density and width of the cover of the pan. If you cook the rice in a deep and narrow pot, you will need less water, and vice versa.
Since it is impossible to predict all of these components, then giving universal instructions is not possible. Therefore, the only way to perfect rice and ideal proportions of water and rice – is a method of trial and error. However, let me point out that the more you cook rice, the less water you need. For example, for the preparation of long-grain rice crisp (without soaking) operates the following “golden” rule:
- 1 cup of rice – 1 ½ cup water;
- 2 cups rice – 2 ¾ cup water;
- 3 cups rice – 3 ½ cup of water.
I hope that the above tips help you improve the process of preparing rice and achieve excellent results. As a bonus I offer you an exclusive video of 3 ingenious rules for cooking crumbly rice!