Rice is one of those ingredients that is an absolute store cupboard essential. But when it comes to getting it right, well, it can prove a bit hit and miss. Some days you end up with lovely, fluffy rice that tastes amazing. Other days you end up with a stodgy mess, half of it sloppy and slimy, the other half stuck to the bottom of the pan.
There are a hundred tips, tricks and old-wives’ tales out there when it comes to cooking rice, but what is the real way to ensure perfect rice every time? We’ve put a handy guide together below!
First and foremost, start by measuring out your rice before cooking, using the standard rule of 90g per person (remembering that rice doubles in size once cooked). Choose a pan that will give the rice plenty of room to expand without boiling over.
Rinse your rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. By doing this you’re removing any excess starch, which will help to avoid gloopy rice that looks (and tastes) awful! When you’ve rinsed your rice, tip it into your chosen saucepan and add some salt, followed by the water. The rice to water ratio is where many people struggle, but it’s actually quite simple – you just use double the amount of water as rice. So for 90g of rice, you’ll use 180ml of water.
Once your pan is bubbling away, turn the heat down enough to just keep the water hot, then pop a lid on the pan. Leave to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, then fluff it up with a fork and check that it is cooked. Drain away any excess liquid (there won’t be much) and serve!
The method for cooking brown rice is basically the same as for white rice, except that it takes a lot longer to cook. 40-50 minutes over a low heat will give you cooked brown rice that still retains its chewy texture and nutty flavour.
Prepare your rice as you would with white rice; measure, rinse, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cover. However, leave it to took for 30 minutes untouched before giving it a stir with a fork, just to make sure it hasn’t started sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Okay, okay. So whilst cauliflower rice isn’t technically rice, it is a great alternative if you’re looking to reduce carbs or calories. It has a similar texture to white rice, is full of flavour, and can basically be used in every meal that you’d ordinarily have rice with.
Begin by removing the leaves from your cauliflower, then cut the cauliflower into quarters. Remove as much of the centre stem as possible, before cutting each quarter into three pieces. Gradually, add these pieces to a food processor and pulse – adding it all in at once will just turn your cauliflower to mush, so it’s important to add it in stages.
Once you have a mixture that looks similar to couscous, spread evenly over a baking tray and add a small drizzle of olive oil. Roast in a pre-heated oven (around 200°C / 180°C fan) for 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
It’s a takeaway favourite, but it’s hardly the healthiest thing on the menu. So try making your fried rice at home instead, and master that cost-reducing #fakeaway!
The easiest way to make a healthy and delicious fried rice is to use cooked brown rice and incorporate it into a stir fry so that you’re using less oil. Start off by heating some sesame oil in a frying pan or wok before adding you spices, followed by your meat or fish and fry until browned, then add in your vegetables.
Once the veggies have softened, add the cooked brown rice and your stir-fry sauce – the sauce will help to fry the rice without any need for further oil. Keep everything on the heat, stirring frequently, until everything is cooked. Eat immediately!
Lead image: JacquesPALUT via Getty images.