Cooking Rice

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560x375_Fish&Rice_1Some years ago a friend taught me to steam rice using the finger joint method and it has worked for me faultlessly ever since.  The rice, usually Jasmine or Basmati, is rinsed really well until the water runs clear and then placed in a saucepan (or rice cooker) and then covered with cold water until it comes up to the first joint in your middle finger.  The saucepan is then covered, the water brought to the boil and then reduced to the lowest possible heat for the rice to steam until cooked.  Within 20 minutes the rice is cooked and the water absorbed.
This sounds completely ludicrous as surely the first joint in a finger would vary immensely depending on the length or your fingers?  For some reason though this method is used the world over and is yet to be disputed.

The only time I find steaming rice difficult is when I am trying to steam enough for a large number of people but have it on a small gass hob where I find the cooking can be uneven.  Thankfully our rice cooker has sorted that problem out, for someone who likes SE Asian food as much as I do I am not sure why I didn’t buy a rice cooker years ago and at least before a birthday lunch when we were trying to stove cook rice for 40!

Do you cook rice this way or do you use a more accurate method of measuring rice to water on a 1:2 ratio of 1 cup rice to 2 cups water?

While guidelines often say 1/2 cup rice per person I find that 1 1/2 cups Jasmine rice is perfect for our family of 5.

And for those that loathe steaming rice themselves then don’t forget to enter into our rice cooker prize draw.

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14 thoughts on “Cooking Rice

  1. I read Clement Freud’s book on Japanese cooking, he suggested 1 cup rice to 1.1/4 cups water medium heat. Once boiling turn down to low. Quick check if the water has evaporated turn off, then leave with lid on to fluff up. That has worked for me ever since, I find Basmati fluffs up the best but I don’t wash it first, just straight in with the water. These days I tend to err on the 1.1/2 cups of water.

  2. A German cook showed me the stove topo knuckle method years ago and it works alright.

    However I always do rice in the microwave- no steamy kitchen.

  3. I’m still gobsmacked by all the hoo ha about cooking rice. For the last 30 years I have 3/4 filled a stock pot with water and a pinch of salt. I wait until it boils and then I add Kings Basmati Rice (1/2 c per person) and cook for fifteen minutes. It never fails. I can’t understand what is so hard about cooking rice. Uncle Bens rice is also great.

    • Jacqui I think that foodlovers has always been a place to share and help each other with food ideas and people may ask any questions happily.Today people have lost the art of even boiling a potato,cooking rice and other basic skills so its good to have Helens site where we can learn about forgotten food knowledge.
      I do remember a newly married lass asking me if she should make the gravy with milk or gravy.

    • Jacqui I think the variation comes from how you cook rice. Rice cooked in large amounts of water is different in texture from steamed rice where only enough water is added that the rice can absorb. I do find that the rice has a better texture when steamed than boiled but it is probably just a personal preference.

  4. My Portugese partner taught me how to cook rice. For the two of us we use one cup of Basmati rice to 1 & 3/4 cups of water. No need to rinse the rice, just make sure the water is boiling first, add your salt then the rice. Once the water/rice has just come to the boil again, scrape the bottom of the pot gently with a wooden spoon just to loosen clumps etc. Put a lid on the pot, then simmer until you see holes forming in the rice and no visible liquid is to be seen (around 15 minutes), remove pot from the heat, scrape the pot once again very gently as not to crush the grains, then add a generous blob of butter, close lid again then let stand until the rest of your dinner is ready to serve. Fluff the rice just before serving and honestly you get perfect rice every time.

  5. Hi there
    I use the absorption method you mentioned, two cups of cold water to one cup of rice one tsp of salt. One of those situations where you stick with what works. It works very well in the microwave as well, I just boil the two cups of water and process on high for 10 mins. The instructions are usually on the Basmati rice packet.

  6. I use the “1 part rice to 2 parts water” rule and cooking by slow absorption method for 15 minutes in a covered saucepan.

  7. Yes I use the knuckle method in my elderly rice cooker too. I was surprised that brown rice cooks ok though Lesley B as I seldom cook it and always find it takes ages and needs more water.

  8. Used the knuckle method for 30+ years without fail. I don’t vary it by rice type, just rinse 1 cup of dry rice for every 3 people, cover quantity required to knuckle depth, and within 20 minutes – voila ! Brown takes a little longer but method doesn’t vary.

  9. I have always used the knuckle rule with no problem.I only use brown rice and soak it then rinse.I use 1 cup rice to 2 of water and have perfect rice by cooking in my elderly Dimension 4 microwave/multifunction oven that has a rice setting.I dont know who did the design but they have actually got something right.By pushing rice it magically cooks all rice to perfection and even my non cooking spouse can push rice and cook it well :)