- Common guidance is to use twice as much water as rice
- Researchers found that 1:1 ratio of rice to water is far better
- They say this is because they key to cooking rice centers on evaporation
- The ideal beauty gurus makeup bag contents method of cooking perfect rice would limit evaporation entirely
- Knowing lid tightness, humidity, pot size, can help create optimized ratio
Published: 21:50 BST, 28 April 2016 | Updated: 01:42 BST, 29 April 2016
It may come as no surprise to some to hear you’ve probably been cooking rice the wrong way.
From the burnt layer stuck to the bottom of a pot to a watery mixture rife with undercooked bits, many people have encountered these common consequences of misjudging the water-to-rice ratio.
Now, a cooking expert is bringing science to the kitchen to explain how to make better rice, and he says the key is to minimize evaporation.
It may come as no surprise to hear you’ve probably been cooking rice the wrong way all along. Now, a cooking expert is bringing science to the kitchen to explain how to make better rice, and he says the key is to minimize evaporation
A quick look on the side of a bag of rice will reveal the recipe commonly used to cook a standard serving – two cups of water per one cup of rice.
But, following these seemingly simple instructions doesn’t always lead to perfectly cooked rice.
To get to the bottom of this problem, researchers designed an experiment to determine what the ratio should really be, Business Insider reports.
The team including Dan Souza, senior editor of Cook’s Illustrated from America’s Test Kitchen and one of the authors of The Science of Good Cooking, placed sealed bags filled with one cup of water and one cup of rice into boiling water.
With this method, it took just a single cup of water to produce a perfectly cooked cup of rice.
HOW TO COOK RICE PERFECTLY
An ideal method would limit evaporation entirely, but not even a rice cooker is capable of doing this
Cooking the perfect pot of rice isn’t likely to be achieved using a standard 2:1 water-to-rice ratio.
Instead, Dan Souza, senior editor of Cook’s Illustrated from America’s Test Kitchen and one of the authors of The Science of Good Cooking, suggests perfecting a personalized ratio through trial and error.
In an experiment using a sealed bag containing one cup of water and one cup of rice (1:1), the researcher found that this ratio produced a perfectly cooked cup for all types of rice.
This is because the key to making the best rice all boils down to evaporation, he explains.
When cooking rice at home, a pot with a tight lid is ideal as it will reduce the amount of evaporation.
It’s also important to know the humidity in your environment, lid tightness, and the diameter of the pot you’ll be using.
These factors all affect the outcome of your rice, so getting to know how they influence evaporation will help you create the perfect ratio for the specific conditions of your kitchen.
This held true for long grain, brown rice, white rice, and more.
The answer revealed by this small experiment, according to Souza, lies in the possibility of evaporation.
Sealed bags used by the researchers eliminated evaporation, while the pot you use at home may allow more water vapour to escape.
‘Evaporation isn’t a consistent thing, cook to cook, kitchen to kitchen,’ Souza told Business Insider.
‘If you have a pot with not a very good lid, you’re going to get more evaporation. If it’s really tight, you’re going to get less evaporation.’
An ideal method would limit evaporation entirely, though not even a rice cooker is capable of doing this.
In order to make the best rice, Souza suggests getting to know the conditions under which it will be cooked. This means you must consider the diameter of the pot, lid tightness, humidity, and the number of times you lift the lid. Through trial-and-error, you can perfect a ratio based on your own kitchen
As you try to cook larger volumes of rice, it’s especially important to keep evaporation in mind, Souza explained.
Doubling the amount of water to make two cups of rice may not be the best way if you’re using the same pot used for a single cup.
‘If you have a ratio of 1:2 and you double that to 2:4, you’re saying you’re going to get double evaporating because you doubled it and that’s not true,’ he told Business Insider.
‘If you’re using the same pot with the same diameter lid and the same heat you’re going to have the same amount of evaporation as you did the first time. So you end up with an extra cup of water in there.’
So, in order to make the best rice, Souza suggests getting to know the conditions under which it will be cooked.
This means you must consider the diameter of the pot, lid tightness, humidity, and the number of times you lift the lid to see if it’s finished.
Through trial-and-error, you can perfect a ratio based on your own kitchen.
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