Perfect Fluffy Rice


steamed rice-2

Perfect Fluffy Rice

For years I struggled to make decent ‘steamed’ rice using the absorption method. Some days I’d get it OK but others would be soggy rice central. Then for some reason I decided to try the boiling method.

Lets just say I haven’t looked back.

Not only is this way far more reliable, it’s quicker and easier too!

I used to prefer basmati because it is the lowest GI rice. If you’re in Australia I now use ‘Doongara’ rice which has been bred to have an even lower GI.

takes: 15 minutes
makes: enough for 2-3 as a side

250g (9oz) basmati or jasmine rice

1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil.

2. Add rice and boil for exactly 10 minutes (set your timer).

3. Drain rice well then keep the colander or strainer for the excess steam to evaporate until you’re ready to serve.

4. If I’m not going to be serving for a while, I return the strainer to the empty saucepan and cover the rice in the strainer with a clean tea towel and the lid so it stays warm – this extra steaming time tends to result in even fluffier rice.


for fried rice to serve with curry – cook rice as above then allow to cool on a tray. Heat a few tablespoons peanut oil in a frying pan and cook a couple of beaten eggs for 15 seconds or so. Add cooled rice and keep stir-frying until the rice is hot and the egg is cooked. Season with one or two tablespoons soy sauce.

brown rice – use brown rice and increase the cooking time to about 30 minutes. It may take up to 45 minutes.

different grains – this ‘quick boil’ method is my go-to for cooking most grains because it’s much easier to get right than the ‘absorption method’. You’ll just need to adjust the cooking time, looking on the pack of your grain will give you a good starting place but I’d start testing about 5 minutes before the pack recommended time.

Usage Suggestions

as a side – the traditional accompaniment to stir fries and curries.

salad – toss cooked rice into any salad to make it more substantial. I love it in this ‘tabbouleh’.

rice & greensrecipe over here.

with salmon – and zucchini. Recipe over here.

in soups – add a handful at the end of cooking to thicken up soups. Be careful as the bland rice can easily sap all the flavour and colour out of your soup!

egg fried rice! – my Irishman’s favourite. Recipe here. Or try Fergal’s Egg & Pea Fried Rice.

Prepare Ahead?

Absolutely! I usually cook a big batch and freeze in ziploack bags ready to make fried rice for my boys. Will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Can be frozen. To reheat the microwave is great or fry it in a little oil in a frying pan until hot.

Storage Best Practices

Store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. Can be frozen for up to 12 months. When reheating you can go straight from the freezer to the oven / microwave / pan.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

rice – pantry.

Problem Solving Guide

gluggy – either the rice you’ve used was poor quality, or it’s overcooked. Next time try another brand and be sure and only cook for 10 minutes.

dry & hard centred – If the rice has lots of chalky stuff in the middle it could have been cooked a little longer. Although I like my rice to have a little bite to it like a good al dente pasta so you may be surprised that it will taste fine.

need cold rice in a hurry? – If you’re planning on making fried rice, don’t make the mistake of trying to cool it down more quickly by running cold water over it. The cold water won’t evaporate and you’ll end up with very soggy rice. The best method is to spread it out on the biggest tray you have and fan it enthusiastically.

can’t find basmati rice? – Basmati rice tends to have the most lovely flavour but jasmine rice can be used for Thai dishes. Or just plain long grain rice will work as well. Just don’t try and use arborio rice or short grain rice – it won’t end up fluffy.

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