Rice is not that difficult to cook, it turns out.

Cooking Rice

Rice is a staple food in a lot of countries. For years, I didn’t cook it because a) I got bored waiting for 20 minutes and b) it either burned or was too wet.

Cooking rice is supposed to be the easiest thing in the world. Can’t get it wrong, billions of people do it every day, how difficult can it be? It’s really easy to get wrong, as it turns out. Short-grain rice is relatively easy – it goes into risotto or pudding so you don’t have to worry about it being wet or sticking. Long-grain rice is trickier.

There are two techniques for long-grained rice:

  • Boil it in lots of water, or
  • Let it absorb the right amount of water.

The former technique is great for American-style rice, the latter for Basmati. Basmati is my favourite, it’s fragrant and sweet and nice just as it is. (Left-over, cold basmati rice with a bit of coconut milk makes a tasty breakfast.) Here’s how to cook rice using the absorption method.

Serves: Depends on the amount of rice. Prep: 0-60 minutes. Cooking time:15-20 minutes.
Stores: Up to three days in the fridge. Up to three months in the freezer.

A note on re-heating rice: When re-heating rice, make sure it is piping hot. When freezing it, try to cool it quickly. There’s a microbe than likes living in rice that’s poisonous to humans that likes a warm environment. It doesn’t like cold and it doesn’t like hot, so keeping rice at extreme temperatures keeps it safe.

A note on soaking rice: Soaking the rice in cold water for an hour before cooking it means that it’s already mostly re-hydrated. This lowers the cooking time.


  • 1 part rice
  • 2 parts cold water


  • 1 measuring cup (1 cup for 2 people, if rice is a main feature of dinner)
  • 1 pot with a lid

If soaking:

  • 1 bowl
  • 1 sieve


  1. If soaking:
    1. Measure out the rice into the bowl.
    2. Cover in cold water and leave for an hour.
    3. Strain and rinse.
  2. Measure out the rice into the pot.
  3. Measure out the water into the pot.
  4. Put the pot on the stove, lid off, on high heat, and wait until the water boils.
  5. Lower the heat to a low simmer, cover the pot with a lid and leave for 20 minutes.
  6. Take off the heat and let steam under the lid for another 5 minutes.
  7. Fluff with a fork (move the rice grains in an upwards motion, trying to make more, airier rice, avoiding moving too many at a time since this will break them and clump them together).
  8. Serve.

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