Food For Thought: Where We're Going We Don't Need ... Rice Cookers

Sep 28, 2016

People have loved and eaten rice for the past 5,000 years; but these days, many don’t love the idea of cooking it.  Up until recently I thought I knew how.  How wrong I was.

“Forget everything you thought you knew,” I told Nancy Leson.  “I have discovered a method that makes the most perfect rice.”

“Okay, Stein,” she said.  “Share the wealth.”

In a post on her Lady and Pups blog, Mandy Lee reveals her method for cooking rice.  She suggests it for the sushi variety, but I used it for long-grain jasmine and it worked perfectly. The method held a few surprises.  First, the ratio of rice to water was 1:1, about 50 percent less water than I use.  And, she insists, NEVER let the rice boil.  I've always brought it to a boil first, then down to a covered simmer.   But when I laid that and the rest of the details out for Nancy her reaction was this:

“Stein, I am absolutely exhausted listening to you tell that whole story about “do this” and ‘five minutes here’ and then this and then that.  I used to cook my rice like that.  And then I got a rice cooker.  And you can just —Push. The. Button.”

I KNEW she’d say that. Yeah, yeah, well, I’m not getting a rice cooker.  This recipe is for those, like me, who don't have one but would still like to make some decent rice now and then. It's really pretty simple. Lee's recipe is for two cups of rice and the same amount of water.  I did it with 1/1 and it still worked fine.

The Short Version

1. Wash rice thoroughly by rubbing between your fingers in several changes of water.  When water runs reasonably clear let drain completely in a wire strainer.

2.  Mix rice 1 to 1 with water, cover and put over the lowest possible heat for 15 minutes. No Boiling!

3. Raise heat by the merest notch and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

4. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.  Don't lift the lid!

5. Gently fluff rice up with chopsticks or a wooden spoon.  Re-cover and let rest for another 5 minutes.

And here's Mandy Lee's Full Monty  How to Actually Cook Perfect Rice Without a Rice Cooker.

Full disclosure: Lee says she came up with this stove-top method from observing the function of her own cooker.  Rice on!

“Rice is great if you’re really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something.”   – Mitch Hedberg