When I graduated from college and moved into my own place, my parents really wanted to buy me a rice cooker. Living in a 450 square foot apartment with very little counter space, I politely declined. They still offer every time they visit. After all, how can I prove that I’m Chinese if I don’t own a rice cooker? Sacrilege! Even though we’ve since upgraded to a house with slightly more counter space, I’ve now learned to cook rice just as well on the stove with one simple trick that a rice cooker doesn’t seem necessary.
Rice cooked on a stove can often turn out gummy or soggy even if you measured the rice to water ratio (1:2) out perfectly. The reason rice made in a rice cooker always turns out light and fluffy is that it has a mechanism to release steam, which forces out additional moisture that normally gets trapped in a pot resulting in wet rice. By using a kitchen towel, you can replicate this same steam release feature. The towel absorbs all the excess steam and leaves you with perfectly cooked rice. Try this out next time and let me know if you see a difference in the results!
- Rice – any type, 1/2 cup / serving
- Water – 2x water / cup of rice
- Salt – ½ tsp. / cup of rice
- Canola oil (optional) – 1 tbs. / cup of rice
- Rinse rice until water runs almost clear. This additional step washes away any residue and also washes off any residual starch that can make your rice soggy
- Place rice in a pot (I typically make rice in a Dutch oven because it holds heat very well) and fill with water using a 1:2 rice to water ratio (1 cup rice requires 2 cups water) unless the package says otherwise. Add salt and oil, cover, and bring to a boil
- When the water boils, lower heat to a simmer. Place a kitchen towel over the pot, place lid over the towel, cover, and cook until rice has absorbed all liquid (~20 to 25 minutes for white rice; ~40 to 45 min for brown rice). Just make sure the kitchen towel doesn’t touch your heat source!
- Remove lid and fluff rice with a spoon. You should have very light and fluffy rice because the towel has absorbed all excess steam
- To add more flavor to your rice, use chicken broth (homemade, boxed or canned, or from bouillon) in place of water