8 rice tips and tricks you need to know
We’ve pulled together our favourite tips and tricks, so you can cook perfect, fluffy rice that tastes delicious, every time.
Rice is one of the most wonderful staples of our diet, spanning back centuries, enjoyed throughout the ages, and used in a number of mouth-watering dishes across multiple different cultures. Whether you’re confident in the kitchen or still learning the basics, we’ve pulled together our favourite tips and tricks, so you can cook perfect, fluffy rice that tastes delicious, every time.
Washing rice is simple. Here’s how…
You don’t need a brush or any fancy tools to do it properly, just a bowl and a free hand. Start by measuring out your rice and placing it in a bowl that gives you plenty of room, then cover the grains in cold water. Gently swirl your hand through the rice until the water becomes cloudy. Discard the liquid, careful not to lose any runaway grains, and repeat three to four times until the water is clear.
While you can rinse it under a tap in a sieve, it’s more difficult to see the colour change and ends up using more water. But, it’s up to your personal preference.
The perfect portion size
The amount of rice served per person varies whether you’re cooking it as a side dish or as the main course (ignoring ‘how hungry are you?’ as a factor). We recommend 50-100g of dry uncooked rice, or ½ to one cup of dry uncooked rice, per person, using more for main dishes and less for side dishes.
The finger trick
It can be difficult to know how much water to add to the pot when you’re cooking rice. Too much and you’re left with a soggy mess, too little and it will be underdone and likely burn at the bottom. The good news is there’s a simple, foolproof way of getting it right every time, and you don’t need any fancy equipment or magic water-to-rice ratios – just your finger. The finger trick, or first knuckle method, is quick, easy, and it works for any type of rice. Simply add the amount of rice you want to cook into the pot and make sure it’s level. Then put your index finger on top of the rice and add cold water until it reaches the first line of your index finger from the top. And that’s it.
If you don’t trust the finger trick, how to cook Basmati rice guide here, covering the open pan and covered pan/absorption methods. Or generally speaking, 2-parts water to 1-part rice is a good ratio, with 1 ½-parts water to 1-part rice for slightly firmer rice.
If you’re cooking our microwave pouches, fingers are required, but only to squeeze the pouch and tear the strip, because you don’t need any water.
Toast your rice before cooking it
If you’re looking to elevate your plate of rice, try toasting it in oil until it browns ever so slightly. It will bring out more flavour and give your rice a delicious nuttiness. And as an added bonus, it also reduces the cooking time because you’ve softened the starch and avoids it getting clumpy.
You can freeze cooked rice
Some people say it’s actually better to freeze rice than storing it in the fridge, and it works for all types of grains. It can be frozen cooked, or uncooked, just make sure to cool it down as soon as possible. A great way to do this quickly is by spreading it out on a shallow bowl, plate or tray and then transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags as soon as possible. Remember to label your portions and use them within one month.
You can reheat rice too
Whether fridge cold or frozen, reheating pre-cooked rice is perfectly safe to do. The same as when you’re preparing your rice for freezing, cool down your cooked rice as quickly as possible and get it in the fridge. Make sure you reheat it until it’s piping hot. For a more in-depth guide, read our full blog on how to reheat and store rice.
Use leftover rice for the best fried rice
Cooked too much rice for dinner? Don’t throw it away, leftover rice is perfect for making fried rice. It has a drier, firmer texture than freshly cooked rice, which contains too much moisture. It also has a slight flavour, which can enhance its taste. Just make sure the rice is completely cool before using it, because if it’s still warm, it will be sticky and difficult to stir-fry.
Our fried rice recipes for inspiration
The secret to perfectly fluffy rice
The correct way to fluff your rice might not be something that’s crossed your mind, but there’s a couple of ways to do it to guarantee your grains are perfectly fluffy. First thing’s first, don’t fluff it straight after it’s done cooking – let the grains sit for 5-10 minutes undisturbed.
Second is using the right tool. If you’re using a rice paddle, be gentle. You don’t want to stir it like cake batter or cut into it. Instead, use a scooping motion, moving from the bottom around the side of the bowl and up to the top to just gently move the grains around. Alternatively, use a fork to separate the grains, again working gently to avoid it becoming mushy.