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6 Mistakes You Make When Boiling Rice

From gummy, sappy rice to undercooked, dry rice—we’ve all had our issues with cooking rice. Admittedly, it can be tricky. The type of grain, pot and method can affect whether you get fluffy, perfectly cooked rice or a disastrous mess. Many little things contribute to poorly cooked rice. Here are a few common mistakes that you may be making and should avoid.

#1 Not Rinsing Your Rice

Rinsing your rice until the water runs clear removes most of the outer starches from the rice. Starches are what prevent you from developing light and fluffy rice. They’re the culprits that cause gummy, soggy and slimy rice. We recommend using a strainer to wash your rice until the water runs clear. You will end up with more defined and distinct rice grains. Try not to aggravate the rice after, as that just develops more starch.

#2 Constantly Stirring It While Cooking

Speaking of developing more starch, stirring the rice as it cooks (despite how tempting it may be) is an absolute ‘no-no’. Aggravating rice in any way, either before or during cooking, leaches even more starches into its cooking liquid and makes it gummy and thick—basically, everything you do not want your rice to be. You will know you’ve aggravated the starches as the liquid the rice is submerged in usually becomes cloudy.

#3 Cooking It At A High Temperature

Cooking rice at a high temperature causes the rice grains to burst open. This causes the rice to release starch (#1 and #2 go into detail about why this is a problem). Also, the texture of the rice is completely ruined because it ends up turning into a mushy potato-like substance. This is why it’s a good idea to use a rice cooker because that maintains a consistent heat that isn’t hot enough to obliterate the rice. Even if cooking on a stovetop, try to maintain a consistent simmer instead of a rolling boil for a perfect result.

#4 Treating Every Type Of Rice The Same

Brown, jasmine, basmati and white rice all have to be treated differently. Most persons boil them in the same amount of water for the same length of time and hope for the best. However, fragrant rice variations like jasmine should not be cooked with salt or oil as this would hinder its flavour. Harder grains like basmati rice should be soaked prior to cooking in order to help them expand to their full length and size. Brown or wild rice usually takes a lot longer to cook with rice to water ratio of about 1:2.5.

Regardless of which type of rice you are using, it’s a good idea to Google the type of rice in order to cook it the right way.

#5 ‘Checking’ On Your Rice

It may be tempting but do not lift the lid of your rice pot or cooker. There’s a reason you get a rice facial if you lift the lid—a lot of steam and heat is released if you even slightly lift your pot cover. This does not only create an inconsistent cooking environment and messes up your rice to water ratio (remember, steam is water) but it also destroys any chances of you ending up with perfectly cooked rice. The rice knows what it’s doing so, leave it alone.

#6 Not Letting It Sit

Even if you’re drooling with hunger, you have to wait at least 10 minutes after the rice has finished cooking before eating. This is because immediately after the rice has finished cooking, most of the moisture is towards the bottom, and the rice at the top is dry. Waiting 10 minutes gives the moisture enough time to evenly distribute around the rice so that you have one consistent dish.

Stephanie Pulwarty


Stephanie loves food, coffee and travelling. Good thing all three come in handy for her job.

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