The One Mistake Everyone Makes When Cooking Rice
Here's how to fix it once and for all.
First things first: determine whether you want fluffy rice (great for tossing into salads, as the base of a stir-fry, or serving alongside piece of fish or chicken), or sticky rice (used to make sushi, or cooked with coconut milk and served alongside fruit for dessert).
If you’re cooking fluffy rice, you’ll want to opt for long-grain white or brown rice, which is slim in size and cooks up into separate grains. Short-grain rice yields stickier results, and Arborio rice is best reserved for risotto.
But choosing the right type of grain isn’t the only factor in achieving perfect rice. To make fluffy rice, you need to toast the grains before adding boiling water. Fluffy rice = hot rice + hot water. The biggest mistake people make when cooking rice is combining the rice and the water in a pot and bringing it to a boil together, resulting in gummy, wet rice. Sound familiar? Never make gummy rice again with the technique below.
For one cup fluffy brown rice: Rinse 1 cup long grain brown rice and toast it in a pot until dry, nutty smelling, and hot to the touch (you can toast it dry or in a splash of olive oil). Add 1 ¾ cups boiling water and 1 teaspoon salt; cover with lid. Return to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until all the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Do not open the lid or stir while the rice is cooking. Remove from heat and allow the rice to steam in the covered pot for another 10 to 15 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.
To cook it in the oven, dry roast the rice in a small baking dish in the oven at 375°F. Add water, cover baking dish tightly with foil, and cook, covered, until all the water is absorbed.
Try your hand at cooking rice with this almond pilaf, which has you cook the rice in chicken broth for a boost of flavor.
This article originally appeared on RealSimple.com.