Our 7 step guide to cooking perfect rice

19. September 2022

Rice is the most widely eaten staple food in the world, yet many people, especially in the West, admit they don’t know how to cook it properly.

Cooking rice - the basics

There are so many different methods that TV chefs and cookery authors use it’s no wonder it can be confusing.

Cooking boiled rice is actually very easy if you follow a few basic steps. We have created this guide on how to cook rice to help you achieve perfect fluffy results every time. You’ll never end up with chalky grains of rice or a stodgy mass ever again!

How to do you cook rice correctly?

Different types of rice have different cooking methods. Select the correct cooking methods for the type of rice you have.

Long-grain rice such as basmati or jasmine rice need to be rinsed first to remove the powdery starch and then is best boiled using the absorption method below.

Brown rice or red rice such as Camargue requires a lot longer to cook and therefore more water is needed – add 1.25 times the amount in the method below. Soaking this type for 30 minutes or more will help reduce the cooking time.

Short-grain pudding rice, risotto rice (arborio or carnaroli) and paella rice (bomba) should not be boiled, instead it is cooked along with other ingredients so that it takes on flavour. The starch is needed to achieve a creamy consistency, so never rinse these types first. For risotto, the rice is constantly stirred in the pan throughout cooking to release even more starch.

Japanese sushi rice is also a type of short-grain round rice, but the rules change here. It must be washed well first and then soaked before cooking so the rice can swell and achieve the desired sticky texture. Take a look at our recipe for How to cook sushi rice

How much rice do you need per person? It depends on the recipe really, whether it is a side dish or part of a dish with lots of other ingredients such as paella. As a general guide we recommend 50-75g of uncooked rice per person.

What is the ratio of rice to water for the rice absorption method?

The key secrets to long-grain rice success are:

  • Measure the rice by volume in a jug so you know exactly how much water to add
  • Never stir long-grain rice while it is boiling because it will release starch and become sticky

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup (or weigh 75g per person) of long-grain or basmati rice per serving
  • ½-1 tsp salt (optional but helps prevent the rice tasting bland)
  • 1 saucepan with a lid
  • Sieve/colander
  • Fork

Let's go:

  1. Measure the rice in the cup you are using and level out the top. Tip each serving into a sieve or colander. (If you are weighing out the rice, tip one 75g serving into a jug and make a note of the volume).
  2. Rinse the rice well in cold water until it runs clear.
  3. Put the washed rice into a saucepan along with the salt if using. Then measure double the amount of water to rice in the same cup you used and add to the saucepan. So, 1 serving would need 2 cups of water, 2 servings would need 4 cups etc. Or measure double the amount of weighed rice in the jug – so 75g of rice would be 150ml of water. You can use boiling water from the kettle for speed.
  4. Heat the hob to high and bring the water up to boil. Swirl the pan once to ensure all the grains are evenly distributed.
  5. Put the lid on and then turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Cook covered for 10 minutes.
  6. By now all the water should be absorbed. Test the rice is cooked by tasting some. If it needs a bit longer put the lid back on and leave on the low heat for another couple of minutes, then test it again.
  7. Turn off the heat, fluff up the rice and serve. Or even better, cover with a clean tea towel for 5 minutes so that any residual water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork - the grains will be more separated and lighter textured.

Kikkoman Soy Sauce is a perfect seasoning for freshly cooked rice. Any cold leftover rice can be used for egg fried rice – cook chopped spring onions for a minute in a frying pan, crack in a couple of eggs and let it set, then chop with a spatula into small pieces. Next add the cold rice, some frozen peas, Kikkoman soy sauce and black pepper and stir fry until all hot.

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