Rice talk Baby!

Rice cooker
Rice cooker

Rice Beautiful Thing

Let’s talk about rice. I have spent most of my life eating long-grain/Jasmine white rice. Chinese love to eat rice that is a known fact. We like our noodles too but we eat rice Monday-Friday. It is economical for families. Rice is supposed to be a plain item of the meal (our staple/starch at the dinner table), because the entree dishes are packed with salty, peppery garlic, gingery flavors/seasoning, making white rice the perfect complement.

Today, I have learned while long-grain rice is good, I also like to cook short-grain sticky rice, better known as sushi rice. Most recently I’ve learned to mix brown rice into my rice eating routines. Brown rice has a nuttier harder grainy texture and known to be a healthier choice.  I have a Japanese rice cooker that cooks brown rice with short-grain rice together perfectly.

A rice cooker is an easy appliance to purchase.  You don’t need a high end fancy Japanese brand. I used a basic small rice cooker in my college days.  I have a family now, so I invested in a 5 1/2 cup size rice cooker.  It’s lasted us for about 6 years now and going strong. A rice cooker can be used to steam dishes like Chinese sausage (hot dogs, or  kielbasa), and canned black bean fish (sardines). A rice cooker is a very handy appliance. I probably can’t live without it. Next thing to learn is washing rice.

Washing rice is important, because rice has so many little things that needs to be rinsed out. The basic rule is to wash rice until the water runs clear. You can wash the rice right in the rice cooker pot. You need to be gentle with the rice cooker while washing because you don’t want to scratch the bottom of the rice cooker. We are trying to do our best to maintain the life of our rice cooker.  I use a chop stick to stir the rice around before I rinse out the rice each time. It helps to make sure all those little grains are being washed thoroughly.

When you wash rice and prepare it for the rice cooker, my grandmother taught me to use my knuckles to measure the right amount of water for the rice.  So you lay your left or right hand into the pot of water and see if the water touches your knuckles. If it does you have enough water. If you have it over your knuckles that’s too much water.

Too much water will make the rice into porridge, too little water and your rice will taste very dry and may be a bit hard.  So it’s always good to get into a practice of measuring the water to rice ratio perfectly. That takes time but don’t worry you’ll get it. I eye ball it now, as it has become routine. 

For Long Grain Rice

Wash about 2-3 cups of rice for a family of 5

Ratio is 2 to 3  so that would be two cups of rice to 3 cups of water

Short Grain Rice (Sushi rice)

Wash about 2 to 3 cups of rice for a family of 5

Ratio is 2 – 3 1/2 cups of rice to water. Short grain rice tends to need just a little more water than long grain

Tips: When it comes to short grain rice I tend to allow the rice to soak in clean water for about 30 minutes, before I cook the rice. I also like to do this when I mix short grain rice with my brown rice too.

Mix of Brown rice and Short grain rice

Ratio of rice 2 cups of short grain to 1 cup of brown rice mix

Ratio for water 2 -3 cups of rice to about 4 cups of water

I use the “ knuckle method” of measurement to be sure, before cooking my rice.

I like the nutty grainy texture you get from brown rice mixed in with the short grain rice. I get the best of both worlds. You can always play around with mixture  of rice if you like. However, the measurement or water to rice will always be the most important part of cooking rice in a rice cooker.