Rice: it’s not just for throwing at people at weddings anymore

Dear Home-Ec 101,

I need help cooking rice. I can’t do it-brown rice, white rice, minute rice, not-minute rice. I just can’t seem to get it to the right texture. Help me?


Riceless in Reno

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

Rice can be tough. I cannot begin to tell you how much rice I have messed up in my time. Now I make perfect rice every time. Believe me, if I can make rice perfectly, so can you- I’m a general all-around failure in the kitchen unlike the fab Ms. Heather, who probably has never burned water, as I have.

My secret? I have a veggie steamer/rice cooker. Now, the make-it-from scratch purists are probably groaning, but using a rice cooker is absolutely the easiest way to make rice, and why make things harder than they need to be?

This is the model I have. Heather has it as well- she recommended it to me and I am so glad she did. It was 30 bucks, shipping was free, and it is one of my most used kitchen gadgets, by far. When it’s too hot to cook, I throw some chicken in the bottom and rice in the top and make chicken and rice. I can make enough rice to feed onigiri to every kid in the neighborhood. Well, every kid is probably an exaggeration, but I certainly can and have fed a lot of kids with it.

Get yourself a rice cooker, you will *not* regret it.


  1. Bethany on November 8, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    I dont have a rice cooker, to make onigiri you can use just normal boiled basmati right?

  2. Peg Bracken: Rest in peace on October 24, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    […] side on Wednesday. And don’t forget to use the gadgets that make your life easier, like your rice cooker and crock […]

  3. Deborah on July 1, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    I have always used a cast iron pot in cooking rice for the last 25 yrs. I bring the pot of salt water and rice to boil ( 1 cup of rice to every 2 1/2 cups of water) cover with lid ,turn off burner, let sit 25 minutes. Rice comes out BEAUTIFULLY

    I learn to cook rice in oven this way from a well know resturant. Put hot water, rice, and seasoning in baking dish cover with wax paper or plastic wrap and then foil wrap seal the edges down,place in 375 degree oven for 1 hour. The rice comes out fluffy. I cook rice like this when I am baking.
    The name of the resturant is ???

  4. Canadian on June 27, 2007 at 9:12 am

    I’ve never had a problem cooking rice without a rice cooker. Here’s how: 1) use proper rice, not instant/minute/fake rice (I use either Basmati or just long grain white rice), 2) use a thick-bottomed pot, 3) use twice as much water as rice (1/4 cup rice per serving), 4) add rice after water comes to a boil, 5) cover, turn heat to low, 6) cook 20 minutes without peeking. If the 20 minutes are over and the rest of the meal isn’t quite ready, I turn off the heat but leave the lid on.

  5. Rachel on June 26, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Let me just say, as someone with an Asian side of the family, that those who think rice posts are not okay for “purists” are wrong (in my experience only, okay?). Everybody on that side has a rice pot, and everybody gets one for weddings if they don’t have one already. 1:2 is right; so is “water to the first knuckle.”

  6. themomhalf on June 26, 2007 at 10:25 am

    i use a rice cooker, and follow the directions that came with it. it’s usually 1 part rice to 2 parts water

    but once the machine switches from ‘cook’ to ‘warm’ i open the top pour in 1/4 cup water and let it sit for another 10 min, this helps to keep it from sticking to the bottom, and makes it fluffier.

    it makes a difference though on what type of rice you use, brown rice needs extra water, so does red and purple — I just had to experiment to figure it out

  7. Gwen on June 26, 2007 at 8:36 am

    Microwave! You can get microwave rice cookers at just about any store that sells housewares. One cup rice, two cups water, clamp the lid down and nuke for 14 minutes. Flawless every time!

    These are also great for making packaged mac ‘n cheese, and steaming veges (4 minutes for a 4 or 5 serving bag of Broccoli Wokly).

    Not so hot for brown rice, an electric rice cooker would probably do a better job.