The easiest way to cook rice is, in my opinion, using a steamer in a microwave. This method is not only the easiest way to cook rice, but also produces less steam and less washing up.
Traditional Way to Cook Rice:
The traditional way to cook rice is by bringing a saucepan of water to the boil, adding rice, bringing it back up to the boil, then leaving it for 20 minutes or so, simmering, for the rice to absorb the water. What you’re left with tends to be a saucepan, with a line of dried scum line around the inside of the saucepan. You might also have to use a strainer to strain the rice off, so that’s two things to wash up!
Microwave Rice Steamers:
Microwave steamers come in two sizes:
- A short (about 2″ high) steamer will make, typically, two portions
- A tall (about 10″ high) steamer makes two HUGE portions, or four regular portions.
Over the years I’ve used both sizes.
All you do is:
- Measure out your rice – about half a mug of dried rice per person. Place this into the microwave steamer basket.
- Pour boiling water over the rice until the water reaches the bottom layer of rice. I tend to do this slowly, making sure the water’s made all of the rice wet, rather than simply pouring it in one spot.
- Place the lid on the microwave steamer and microwave on full power for 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and give the rice a good stir around.
- Put the lid back on the steamer and microwave on full power for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid and give the rice a good stir around. At this point I am also considering if I think I need to add a little more water in (usually not) and whether the rice is nearly cooked or not. The power of your microwave will affect how long the rice takes.
- Put the lid back on the steamer and microwave on full power for another 3-5 minutes (until you think it’s cooked to your taste).
- You can now lift the rice basket out of the steamer and the water falls away, no need for a separate strainer. It’s also easier to wash up a microwave steamer than a saucepan, so that’s another job dispensed with!
Serve the rice hot.
If you are not using all the rice immediately, tip it into a bowl of cold water, to cool off, then strain it and put it into a lidded container in the fridge. Rice should be cooled and refrigerated soonest, within an hour, so it’s safe.
Wash Rice or Not Before Cooking?
Sometimes I wash rice, sometimes I don’t bother. As a rule I’ll wash regular long-grain rice, or cheap/basics rice. I tend to not wash basmati rice. This is simply personal preference – I find that cheaper and long-grain rice do generate more starch, which I find makes the rice a bit stodgier. Basmati rice produces light, fluffy rice without this pre-washing.