Steamed Rice

Steamed rice is plain cooked rice cooked in water as opposed to being fried first (pilaf, biryani, some Mexican styles) or cooked as a risotto, paella, rice pudding, congee or other flavoured rice dish.  Steaming is an absorption preparation.  Salt is optional. It does not play a part in the cooking process and is added for taste.

Cooked rice can used a in dish, as an accompaniment to other dishes, fried or processed further, or added to other dishes e.g. Nasi Goreng uses cooked long grain white rice.

Rice absorbs water as it cooks.  Steamed rice can be cooked in a pan on a stove, and in a pressure cooker.  A rice cooker automates the steamed rice process. Other main approachs to plain cooked rice:

  • cook in boiling water, drain and rest
  • parcook the rice and put it in a steamer or collander, recommended by Jamie Oliver.

Rinse white rice to remove rice flour and talc. It helps to keep it from getting sticky.

The water is brought to a boil, the heat is turned down until the pot is just simmering, the pot is covered, and the rice simmers. Then the rice rests off the heat. Use a heavy pot to disperse the heat evenly; a heavy tight lid to hold in the steam.  It is necessary to make sure the heat has been turned down and that the rice is just simmering.  Then set a timer and leave it covered. Cooking time depends on the amount of water and heat.

The rice recipe at What’s Cooking America has a table of rice to water ratio and cooking times for several kinds of rice. The instructions at that site for cooking white rice are a bit contradictory.  There is a concise article by Fine Cooking magazine and some videos and notes at the Kitchn site.

The ratio of long grain white rice to water is 1 cup of dry rice to 1.5 to 1.75  cups of water.  Some recipes go for more water. The cooking time can be from 12 to 20 minutes. The method works within a range of ratios and times.  The results may be more or less fluffy, absorbent or sticky. 

This technique works in a pressure cooker. The ratio is 1 cup of long grain white rice to 2 cups of water. When the water boils, the lid is locked and the pot is brought to high pressure, and the cooking time on high pressure is 4 minutes. Then rest off heat 10 minutes or more without releasing the pressure (i.e. do not use the release mechanism) – let the pressure drop as the pot cools.

White Basmati Rice, a long grain aromatic rice originating from Northern India, Pakistan and Nepal can be cooked in a pot the same way as other white long grain rice, using about 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of wate, or in a pressure cooker the same way as other long grain white rice.

Or, soaked for 20-30 minutes, White Basmati Rice can be cooked in a pot on a stove with 1.33 cups of water to 1 cup (measured dry) of rice by bringing the water and rice to boil, reducing the heat, covering the rice and simmering on low heat for 23 minutes, and resting off the heat for 10 minutes. Refer to:

And if the rice is soaked, it can be cooked in a pressure cooker at the ratio of 1 cup rice to 1.25 cups water; the time can be 2-3 minutes on high pressure with a rest off heat as the pressure drops (i.e. not with a fast release).

Steaming brown rice takes more water, and longer cooking times. Recipes don’t  recommend rinsing or soaking. Long or medium grain brown rice:

  • conventional pot, 1 cup rice to 2.25 cups water, cooking time about 40 minutes;
  • pressure cooker, 1 cup of rice to 1.75 cups of water, cooking time 15-18 minutes (variation in the recipes). Rest off heat 10 minutes or more without releasing the pressure  – let the pressure drop as the pot cools.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *