A Tip for Better Rice

I love rice--brown, white, basmati, jasmine, short grain, long grain.  You name it.  I make a pot every weekend to keep on hand in the fridge, always at the ready for lunch or dinner throughout the week.  I couldn't begin to tell you how many times I've been told to get a rice cooker over the years.  I resist not because I think my rice is always cooked to perfection, but because I am opposed to having one more large gadget in my small kitchen.  So, I persist in cooking our rice in a small pot on the stove top. 

I recently discovered an astonishingly easy tip for consistently better stove top rice though and thought I should share.  Or two related tips, really.
First off, I've stopped doubling the water when I make a double batch of rice.

For years I've used a 2:1 ratio of water to (dry) rice, for brown rice and 1 1/2:1 for white rice.  I used this ratio regardless of whether I was making one cup or four cups.  This year I changed my technique and I am very pleased about it.  Using those ratios  to make double or triple batches I'd sometimes end up with a portion of rice that was a little gummy or overcooked, especially at the bottom of the pan.  Turns out this is because I'd been using too much water.

See, most of the water is absorbed by the rice, sure, but some just gets lost through cooking/evaporation.  Making larger quantities does require more water so that the rice can be fully cooked and hydrated.  Cooking additional quantities does not make the pot lose more water through that evaporative process however.  As such, there is no need to fully double the water for any additional volume.   For example, if I'm making two cups of white rice I just use 2 1/2 cups water now, not three cups.

Second, I use a kitchen towel to absorb additional moisture.

I learned about this tip in regards to making pilaf rice, but I see no reason to limit it to that use.  I cook the rice as normal, but when the time is up I remove the pot from the heat and put a towel over the top.  I then replace the lid and allow the pot of rice to sit for 5 minutes before fluffing and serving it, as I always did.  The towel is a swell addition though as it absorbs excess moisture resulting in fluffier, separate grains of rice that don't stick together. 
I was never unhappy with the rice I was making before, but both these bits have noticeably improved my rice dishes this year, that's for sure.


  1. I also don't want another device for the kitchen. But I do the opposite of you - when I'm in a hurry I put lots of water in the pan, and just drain the rice when it's done.

    1. I love this world. So many ways to get things done. Takes all kinds. I love it.

  2. My mother taught me to use a tea towel to absorb moisture when cooking Pilaf - Indian style rice. So this blog post made me smile, mothers know best...


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