The key to cooking perfect rice lies in understanding how each variety absorbs water and how fast the heat source is cooking off the water.
Note 1: Rinsing
Start by rinsing away the residual bran and starch that is naturally left on the outside of rice grains so they can absorb water evenly. This can be done in a strainer with small holes. We can also add water to the pan and swirl it around before pouring it out. Just make sure that we drain out all the water from the pan before adding the suggested ratio of water for steaming.
***Do NOT rinse enriched rice as it will wash away the nutrients that are added back in after milling.
Note 2: Water Absorption
The natural oils in whole grain brown rice require longer cook times to absorb moisture than white rice. Basically, brown rice absorbs water slower than white rice because of the oil in the dark layer of the grain. We don’t necessarily need more water to cook brown rice, the water just needs to stay around longer for it to be absorbed through the bran layer. The more nutrients and natural oils a grain has, the longer it takes to cook.
Note 3: Rice Cooker
Each manufacturer and model vary in the level and distribution of heat throughout the rice cooker. This is why the same water ratio in two models of rice cookers can cook up differently. Therefore, read the rice cooker manual to select a setting for preparing your specific variety of rice. Most rice cookers build in time for soaking, in addition to steaming, in the white rice setting. This is ideal when cooking medium or short grain white rice. However, long grain white rice such as jasmine and basmati does not need to soak before cooking. Consider the quick cook setting, if available, when preparing long grain white rice in a rice cooker.
Note 4: Soaking
Medium and short grain varieties require soaking before cooking to achieve their ideal fluffy yet sticky texture. This is because they both contain amylopectin (sticky) starch. By soaking medium and short grains (both white and brown) they are able to absorb water more evenly. Soaking rice helps avoid a mushy texture. Rice often becomes mushy when it is cooked too fast; not necessarily because we use too much water. With more time to absorb, the grains can expand to their optimum texture.
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