Let’s be honest with ourselves: although we might be good cooks or know our way around the kitchen, sometimes we just can’t master something we really, really want.
For me, it was good rice.
Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Who can’t make a pot of good rice? Every time I made it, it would be too mushy (though I don’t mind it that way), or too dry (and I had to add more liquid), or too something. But never as good as I would eat a restaurant.
To remedy this, I bought myself a rice cooker. Specifically, this one Cuisinart 4 cup one that is perfect for folks who live alone, or making rice for just a couple people. I had been at our local grocer and it was on clearance and they were having a 25 percent off the lowest price promotion. I got it for about seventeen bucks.
Well, it ended up producing better rice, but not great rice. It also was really handy for making beans and lentils (which is sort of what I had in mind for it, anyway, since I don’t eat rice terribly often). I soon also learned that although it’s nice for quinoa and millet, to never, ever make teff in it again (short version: a mess, all boiled over).
So I turned to Google and started inputting “how to make the best rice in the rice cooker”, “rice cooker tips”, and the like. I tried oiling the pot, I tried rinsing it well, and I tried the finger method (which I will describe below). And because I don’t make rice often, these experiments were, at best, once every few months.
Yesterday I was craving stirfry, and knew I had a bag of my favorite rice (brown basmati) in the pantry. I decided to give my rice cooker another go.
I already knew, from past attempts, that so far, the finger method was the best bet. Soaking your rice makes it more digestible, so once I decided on rice for dinner, I put my serving in the rice cooker and added water to soak, then left it for about 5 hours or so.
When I got home to make dinner, I drained the rice in a sieve and rinsed it really well. I added it back to the pot and gently slammed it on the counter to make sure it was in an even pile.
Then I added cold water to the rice; I use a general amount. Knowing I had put a scant 1/2 cup in the bowl, I topped it with about 1 to 1/4 cups cold water.
Then, stick your index finger in the bowl, but only until the tip is just at the surface of the rice. There should be enough water so that the water level comes up to your first knuckle of your finger. Add a pinch of sea salt (or more, if you are making more than one serving). Not enough to make it salty; just to brighten the taste.
Then, press down the button and you are good to go while it cooks. When it clicks to warm, let it sick longer than the ten minutes – I usually go for about 15 to 20. Fluff it up and enjoy!
One thing to note: yes, this seems to work for fingers of all lengths. Before I made such great rice last night, the finger method did work pretty well, and I had heard plenty of info regarding which finger to use, how far up the knuckle, et cetera. It seems to be pretty tried and true.
So is it the method? The soaking? The cold water? The letting it stand longer? I’m not sure. But what I am sure is that I am making rice this exact same way for the rest of my life!
What’s your tried-and-true method for mastering your favorite rice?