The absorption method: how to cook the fluffiest rice ever.
By Amy Crawford
It's the most basic of kitchen skills, yet the ability to serve up perfect fluffy rice still gets the better of even the most accomplished cook. Can you make a perfect pot of rice? With each grain distinct and firm, yet not undercooked and certainly not mushy or gluggy?
Perhaps sometimes you stumble across the perfect batch, not quite sure how to replicate it? You have a vague idea, but really you've always felt that "it's just rice, it's just the side dish, why get too concerned?"
Well get concerned guys! This is how you take your regular Tuesday night meal from zero to hero! I have ALL the secrets to show you how.
Step 1. Rinse or Soak
Place the rice into a large bowl of clean cold water and swoosh it around with your hands, really get the water flowing! Discard water and do it again. Rinsing serves to remove the excess starch, resulting in rice that is less sticky.
Did you know that rice gets more brittle as it gets older? The age of rice is a factor in the final result. Who knew?! If your rice has been sitting at the bottom of your cupboard in a giant hessian bag for years then I encourage you to soak yours for longer, about 30 minutes minimum. This will reduce the breakage and brittleness of the grains. If you're using Basmati rice, be sure to soak for a little extra time too. This will help the rice expand to maximum length.
Be sure to drain your rice thoroughly, otherwise you'll be cooking with more water than you need.
Step 2: The Absorption Method
There are many different ways to cook rice, but I find the best results arise via the absorption method. Here the rice is cooked in water until you guessed it, all the water is absorbed. The trick is to figuring out the correct amount of water...
The rule: 1 cup of long grain white rice to 1 3/4 cups water.
Brown rice will require more water, shorter-grain rices require less. Perhaps you might like to come up with your own rule for these and let me know?
Just know that more water gives you a softer, stickier rice and less water results in a firmer rice.
Step 3: Rest.
No, not you. Your work is not yet done! The rice needs to rest, silly :)
After 12 minutes on the stove the liquid will have absorbed and the rice will be al dente. At this point the rice is drier and fluffier on the top layer than the bottom, which can be very moist and fragile. So be patient, remove the rice from the heat and allow to sit, undisturbed with the lid on for at least 5 minutes, or for as long as 20. This lets the moisture redistribute, resulting in a more uniform fluffy texture throughout.
The Perfect Rice Recipe.
You will need:
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup long-grain white rice
Unsalted grass fed butter or olive oil (optional)
Celtic sea salt (optional)
Rinse the rice in a few changes of cold water. Drain the rice well in a sieve.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine 1-3/4 cups water, the rice, and a dollop of butter or oil and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook at a gentle simmer for 12 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, undisturbed with the lid on, for at least 5 minutes and for as long as 30 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the rice gently with a fork, and serve.
Need a side of rice for this Sweet Eggplant Indian Curry? Perhaps?