How to cook rice in a pot

1 Why not buy a rice cooker?

If your kitchen is big, you could buy a slow cooker, a microwave oven, a pressure cooker, a rice cooker and other things, but when you have a tiny kitchen, you cannot have all that.

2 How to cook rice in a pot

There are many ways but I use the one I found from Seasoned Advice and it has the following advantages:

  • no need for ratio of water to rice to be exact.
  • choice of high heat or low heat seems irrelevant
  • same procedure for different types of rice

I wish I could find the thread where I got this method so that I can link to that thread but I cannot find it.

I have used this method to cook brown rice, white rice, waxy rice. I have only tried short grain rice.

Let’s get to step number one.

2.1 Decide how much rice to cook

I usually cook 600 gram of rice at once for 6 servings of rice. I eat one serving and the leftover 5 servings go into a container which then goes into the refrigerator. If you cook too much, you might find your container not big enough to store your cooked rice.

Last time I checked, 600 mL of white rice, which is 560 gram, produced 1400 mL of cooked rice.

2.2 Find rice bugs

Pour water in the pot (or a big bowl). Pour rice slowly into the pot to see if rice bugs come floating on water. You may want to take them out .Yes on rare occasions you will see rice bugs. Some say it is OK to eat cooked rice bugs. I once had a bag of 8 kg rice with three bugs in it. If you see bugs and there are too many, throw the rice away. If not too many and you would like to continue using the remaining rice, store the remaining rice in the refrigerator so that the bugs die and don’t multiply. Dead rice bugs also float on water.

2.3 Wash the rice

Stir rice in water with hand. See water become cloudy. Throw the water. Pour new water. Repeat.

Some say you should wash rice until water is no longer cloudy, but it can take too much time so I don’t go all the way.

Why wash rice? Some rice you buy may be dirty. In that case, at least a quick rinse would be necessary.

Is it necessary to do more than a quick rinse? All the way until water is no longer cloudy? Probably not necessary, but the more you wash white rice, the less likely for the pot to boil over later. That cloudy thing is what becomes the bubbles and makes the pot boil over.

2.4 Boil

Pour more water into the pot (or a saucepan) if necessary so that it’s roughly two to one or 1.5 to one ratio of water to rice. The ratio doesn’t have to be exact.

Now turn the heat on. I use the highest heat on my gas stove simply because it cooks the fastest. I found that medium heat also works fine. You don’t put the lid on as we are going let the water evaporate. You don’t need to stir.

Boiling over might happen. In that case, a few drops of oil help, or reduce heat.

You may see some foam forming and floating on the boiling water. I just touch it with a metal spoon. Foam sticks to the spoon and that way I can remove the foam. I don’t know if removing it is necessary. Maybe it’s OK to eat.

Turn off the heat when the water level is reduced to below the rice level and you see bubbles popping out of holes on the surface of the rice.

2.5 Steam

Now is the time to put the lid on. Then wait 20 or 30 minutes. That’s it. You can eat it now.

2.6 Store the leftover.

Move the rice to a container. You might find that it takes some time to scoop out all the sticky rice out of the pot. I suggest using a silicone spatula that looks like a giant spoon to make it easier.

Metal spatulas may scratch the bottom of the pot and some pots should not be scratched, especially the ones made of aluminium with just a very thin coating on it. Rumor has it that when the boiling water touches the exposed aluminium, something bad for health may leak out into the water. This rumor may or may not be a myth, but I use a silicone spatula just in case. It seems well established that stainless pots are OK to scratch though.

You may find that there is some small amount of water left on the bottom of the pot. Maybe you had to wait a few more minutes before opening the lid, but just a few minutes wouldn’t make much difference in taste anyway.

The container should probably be made of a type of glass that is heat resistant, or a type of plastic that can be used with hot food. If you close the lid of the container right now, it will be hard to open the container later. That’s because hot air in the container cools down and contracts. When that happens, you need to pour hot water over it to open it. What I do before closing the lid is cool it down a bit. I put the container without the lid into the freezer and wait about 10 minutes. Then I close the lid and move the container into the refrigerator.

2.7 Eating the leftover cold rice

You may want to warm it a bit with a microwave oven before eating it instead of eating right out of the refrigerator. Spreading one serving of cold rice over a dish that is not small helps with microwaving. If you don’t have a microwave oven, eating cold rice is fine. Cold rice that has spent a few days in the refrigerator tends to be considerably less soft.

3 Some thoughts

Some people cook rice like they cook pasta. This seems to suggest that boiling away water all the way to just below the rice level may be an overkill, and that rice is already cooked enough long before water is reduced to that level and anything after that is a waste of water and heat, and this would also imply that the steaming step is unnecessary. I have not tested if that is the case. Even if so, you can think of the overkill heating and the steaming as a long but little-effort way of straining wet cooked rice. Waste of water and heat is small compared to the amount of water and heat you use for shower.

4 Benefits for knowing how to cook rice

4.1 You impress people.

Some people will think you are like a wizard for being able to cook rice because they believe it to be not an easy task.

4.2 A building block

Now that you know it is easy to cook rice in a pot, and you probably know that it is also easy to boil eggs, so that is two basic cheap building blocks you have for your meals. Rice a cheap source of carbohydrates, and eggs a cheap source of proteins.

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One Response to How to cook rice in a pot

  1. Pingback: state of eating and cooking in Korea | Yoo Box

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