Knowing how to cook rice perfectly can make all the difference to a meal. Cooking rice so that the grains end up separate and fluffy is a fine art. There are ways that can pretty much guarantee a good outcome, however. Follow a few simple rules to get the perfect rice to accompany your meal.
Choose a long grain rice for the best chance of a good result. Basmati rice is ideal, although usually a little more expensive than other types of rice. It tastes better than other varieties of rice too, so it's worth the little extra expense.
Measure the volume of the rice rather than the weight. Measure 65ml of rice for each person using a measuring jug. You will need to use an amount of water that is around double the volume of the total rice being cooked.
A flat pan (a frying pan is ideal) with a lid is the best thing to cook rice in. The more the rice is spread out when cooked, the better the result usually. A pan with a 10 inch diameter is perfect. Heat up a little olive oil in the pan and add the rice. Mix the grains in the pan so that they become coated with oil.
Pour boiling water into a measuring jug and measure the correct amount for boiling your rice. Then add it to the pan. Also add around 1 level teaspoon of salt per 150ml of rice being cooked.
Next, stir the mixture once. Don't stir it any more than this or you will break the grains causing the cooked rice to become sticky (due to starch released from the broken grains).
Put the lid on the pan and turn the heat as low as it will go. Now leave it to cook for 15 minutes (if it's white rice) or 40 minutes (for brown rice). Resist lifting the lid as this will slow down the cooking and potentially spoil the result. Time the cooking exactly as you don't want to overcook the rice. This can spoil it. Eat a grain when the time is up to check the rice is cooked. Alternatively, tip the pan to one side to see if any liquid gathers at the side. If so, it will need to be cooked for a couple of minutes longer.
When it's cooked, take the lid off the pan and turn the heat off. Put a tea cloth (clean, of course) over the top of the pan for between 5 and 10 minutes. The tea cloth will soak up the steam and help to keep the grains separate and dry.
Fluff up the rice using a fork immediately prior to serving.
Use stock instead of plain water to cook the rice for extra flavor. Use a stock flavor appropriate to the main dish you are serving. Use chicken stock for a chicken dish, for example.