If you struggle to make the perfect rice, read a little more on how to make different types of rice the right way with one of my favorite cooking methods.
What You Should Know About Cooking Rice
There are several things that you need to take into consideration when cooking rice. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be cooking all types like a pro in no time. Here are a few things I will discuss are:
- What Makes Different Types Of Rice Different From Each Other?
- Different Types Of Rice
- Different Types Of Rice In Recipes
- How Much Rice To Make Per Person
- How Much Water
- Amount Of Water To Make Rice
- What Is the Best Way To Cook Rice?
1. What Makes Different Types Of Rice Different From Each Other?
Rice can be distinguished along many dimensions. Rice is distinguished by the length of the grain and the dominant type of starch in it.
Some rice like Basmati is long and skinny and contains the starch Amylose which doesn’t bind or stick together when you cook it. Other rice like Sushi, Jasmine, or brown rice is short and fat and contains Amylopectin which gives the rice its sticky quality.
Out of all these rices, each one has a different type of starch and different levels of starch which is the most important aspect to note.
- Grain Length. Long grain rice grows to about four times its length when cooked. Medium grain rice grows about two times the size, and short-grain rice stays short and plumps up when cooking.
- Color. Black, brown, white, and red are all colors of rice and carry very different textures and flavors.
- Aroma. Basmati rice has kind of a popcorn aroma, Jasmine has a nice floral aroma and brown rice has a great nutty scent. Aroma identifies the rice taste in such a wonderful way.
- Amylopectin Content. Amylopectin makes the rice sticky. Sushi rice and sweet rice are high in amylopectin.
- Amylose Content. Amylose is a longer type of start that doesn’t bind or stick together. It is the balance of Amylopectin and Amlylose that defines whether the rice grains stick together, or whether each grain cooks up separately.
2. Different Types Of Rice
- Arborio Rice
- Basmati Rice
- Black Rice
- Brown Rice
- Glutinous Rice
- Jasmine Rice
- Red Rice
- Sushi Rice
- Wild Rice
- Wild Rice Blend
3. Different Types Of Rice In Recipes
As you can see from the list above you should choose the type of rice depending on the dishyou’re making.
When you’re making an Indian or Middle Eastern dishlikeBiryaniorPilauyou’ll wantaBasmati or long grain to ensure that the grains will separate and not clump together.
On the other hand, if you’re making Asian dishes that you would use chopsticks for and need the rice to be a little sticky, you would choose jasmine. I also love Jasmine rice withThaicurrieswhen I cook with coconut milk as the Jasmine rice and coconut flavors pair so well together.
4. How Much Rice To Make Per Person
This will depend on two things:
- The type of rice
- How you're cooking it
Shorter grains cook faster than longer grains. Processed grains cook faster than unprocessed. Glutinous rice requires steaming not boiling. The type of rice really matters.
The more unprocessed the rice (e.g., brown rice) the longer it takes to cook it on the stovetop or in a rice cooker, therefore more the evaporation, therefore more water you start with in the first place.
It’s not that brown rice needs more water to cook—it’s that it takes longer for the water to penetrate the hull before it can start cooking the rice. And while that is happening, most of your water is merrily evaporation away. That is why you add more water to brown rice than to white rice.
But all of this is irrelevant if you are making rice in a pressure cooker as I have detailed here: Pressure Cooker Rice
So the type of rice and how you make it really matters. The best option is to check the bag for the manufacturer's directions on how to cook that particular bag of rice.
like my rice drier but well-cooked. I invariably have to adjust to less water than what most manufacturers call for, but it’s best to start with what they call for and adjust the next time.
NOTE: In a pressure cooker, when you double the rice, do not double the water. I find it best to use a little less than double the water when doubling rice, otherwise you will geta very sticky product. This is not true for rice cookers as well, and the manufacturers suggested ratios of rice to water will take this into account.
5. What Is The Best Way To Cook Rice?
It depends. Yes, that same boring answer again. But it will depend on what you have in the way of rice cookers.
There are at least seven ways to cook rice:
- Stovetop rice cooking.
- Pros- You can monitor the rice as it is cooking so it is cooked to perfection.
- Cons- You have you "babysit" the rice since there is no way to end the cooking time without taking it off of the stove.
- Ordinary rice cooker.
- Pros- No watching your rice to prevent overcooking. Just set the timer and go.
- Cons- Not all rice cookers have manual shut off functions or keep warm functions, so there may still be some babysitting involved when making your rice.
- Fuzzy logic rice cooker.
- Pros- The technology in these rice cookers guarantee a perfectly cooked serving of rice every single time without any extra effort.
- Cons- Some of these can be quite expensive for the casual rice eater.
Read my review on the Instant Zest Plus.
- Induction rice cooker.
- Pros- This is a simple, failproof way to make rice and other grains. Most induction cookers give you clear instructions on the water to grain ratios. The main advantage is that they produce fantastic rice every time.
- Cons- The biggest disadvantage is the price and the fact that you can’t watch your rice cooking to monitor the progress.
- Pressure cooker.
- Pros- It's a no-fuss way of making rice. You can also make other food at the same time with the pot in pot cooking method.
- Cons- It can take some time for the pressure cooker to come to pressure, so this process can take a little longer than some other cooking methods. Rice also has a tendency to stick to the bottom of your Instant Pot when cooking, making for more difficult clean up.
Read more about how to use the buttons on your Instant Pot.
- Pros- You can cook more than one dish at the same time when you're baking your rice. The rice comes out perfectly tender because the heat is distributed evenly inside of the oven. Cooking times can vary drastically depending on which type of rice you're cooking.
- Cons- It isn't the most energy-efficient way to cook rice.
- Pros- An inexpensive way to make delicious rice without a rice cooker. The rice is done quickly with little cleanup.
- Cons- The consistency of the rice made with this method can be hit and miss.
More Helpful Cooking Guides
- Maillard Reaction
- What Is Sous Vide?
- Pot In Pot Cooking
- Why Did I Get The Instant Pot Burn Message?
- 6 Most Important Buttons On Your Instant Pot
If you found this article on the different ways to cook rice helpful, make sure you share it with your family and friends on Facebook and Pinterest so they can make the perfect rice too.
Originally Published October 7, 2020