Thursday, 17 January 2013

Perfect Steamed Rice Recipe

As I am providing all the necessary recipes for a complete Chinese meal today, you simply cannot do that without the classic accompaniment of steamed rice. Now, steamed rice is pretty easy, but I am surprised at the number of emails I have received asking how to make it.

With that in mind, here is my recipe for getting perfect steamed rice every time. This is a combination of  two methods I was shown by Malay-Chinese and Indian friends many years ago. Since I was shown those basic recipes I have played around and produced my own synthesis, which I am publishing here for the first time.

What's good about this recipe is that it really does work each and every time. Follow the instructions below and you will have perfect, fluffy, rice to accompany any Asian or Indian meal (or any African meal for that matter).

Perfect Steamed Rice Recipe

Serves: 4

Rice is the base of much of Asian and African cookery and there are a number of ways to prepare it. However, if you have a Chinese dish or a sauce-based dish, there is not much better than a bowl of perfectly fluffy steamed rice. By following this recipe you will get rice that is perfect each and every time. And it's easy!


250ml (1 cup) long-grain rice (Thai Jasmine rice is good)
375ml (1 1/2 cups) water


Rice is very starchy and if you do not remove the excess starch, you will end-up with a sticky mess. So the first step is to thoroughly wash the rice.

Place the rice in a deep bowl. Set this under your tap in the sink and fill the bowl with cold water until almost full. Now use your fingers to gently swish the rice in the bowl. The water will turn murky as the starch is leached from the grains. At this point, gently pour the water out. Repeat this process until the water is almost clear (typically you will need 4 or 5 washes).

When you reach this stage, fill the bowl up one final time. This time, leave the rice undisturbed in the bowl for 30 minutes. This allows the rice to absorb some of the water so that the rice grain swells, giving a fuller grain. At the end of the soaking stage the grain will be a milky white colour.

Drain the rice, then transfer to a heavy-based pan with a flat bottom (I typically use a cast iron casserole or Dutch oven). You must use a heavy pan for this, or your rice will burn; the pot must also have a tight-fitting lid. Now add the water to the rice (only a 1.5 times the water to the volume of rice).

Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat as low as it will go, cover the pan with a sheet of kitchen foil and a tight-fitting lid (to ensure that the steam stays inside) and cook gently for about 18 minutes (do not, under any circumstances open the lid).

After the 18 minutes is up, turn off the heat (do not take off the lid!) and allow the pot to rest for 10 minutes more. This ensures that the rice grains have time to steam evenly.

Now remove the lid and fluff the rice grains with a fork. Turn into a warmed dish and serve with your desired selection of main dishes.

Below are some other classic Chinese recipes on this blog that you can use in conjunction with this recipe to produce a complete Chinese meal or banquet:

Soups and Starters

Main Dishes
Xinjiang Lamb Casserole

Fish and Seafood Dishes:
Szechuan Fried Aubergine (Vegetarian)

Noodle Dishes:
Seafood Chow Mein (Seafood)



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