The Skull Session

Different methods of cooking rice

Overview of various rice preparation methods

Rice cooking methods

Basic boiling method: Add rice to boiling water (the proportion of rice to water is a matter of opinion; some say 1:1.5, some 1:2). Stir, bring back to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Let simmer at low heat. Stir only once or twice, and don’t remove the cover unless absolutely necessary. When all the water is absorbed (time varies according to type of rice), remove from heat, let it sit for a few minutes, and then fluff with a fork.

Pasta method: This method is often the first step in a multistep recipe in which you’ll be cooking the rice further in another fashion (such as baking it in a casserole). Bring a full pot of water to a boil, add rice, cook uncovered until the rice is as soft as you want it, and then drain in a colander. This method is used in Persian-Style Rice with Saffron and Lentils.

Pilaf method: Heat oil or butter in a pot with diced onion or shallots, and sauté briefly. Add rice and coat grains with the fat. (This is called parching, and it serves to flavour the rice and also helps the grains stay separate once they’re cooked.) Let rice and onion mixture cook a little until rice is evenly hot. Add the amount of liquid you need (the same ratio you’d use in the basic boiling method.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover.

Risotto method: This is similar to the pilaf method, except the liquid you add to the rice should be hot and added little by little rather than all at once. Pour in more liquid only after the previous pour has been absorbed. Stir occasionally, uncovered, until rice is soft and creamy.

Steaming method: You can steam all rice. However, sticky rice must be steamed, after soaking several hours or overnight. If you are steaming frequently, consider splurging on a steamer; otherwise, a makeshift steamer will work. Put one to two inches of water in a large stockpot and bring it to a simmer. Place rice in a fine-mesh sieve or a steamer basket lined with cheesecloth, set inside the stockpot, and cover with cheesecloth and a tight-fitting lid. Steam until the grain is al dente and fluffy.

Draining Method: In this method 4 litres of water is used for 500 gm rice. The rice is cooked till tender, and the remaining water is strained to drain away. The rice is then spread on the table to dry a little. This method would result in producing separate unstuck grains.


Davis, B., 1987. Food Commodities. Second Edition ed. Wiltshire: Heinemann Professional Publishing Ltd.
McGee, H., 1984. On Food & Cooking, New York: SCRIBNER.
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