Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the society.

Photo

Water/rice ratios


  • Please log in to reply
78 replies to this topic

#1 Fat Guy

Fat Guy
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 29,303 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 12 February 2007 - 05:46 AM

How do you all decide how much water to add to rice for cooking?

I've found, consistently over the past several years, that in my rice cooker I need more water than the rice cooker directions and rice package directions call for. If I use the recommended amounts, the grains of rice don't fluff up enough and are noticeably dry. I need about 2.25 cups of water per cup of white rice, for example -- the package calls for 1.75 cups of water per cup of rice, and on account of its subtractive measuring system (fill to this line for X cups, cups which aren't 8 ounces) I don't even know what the rice cooker calls for, but I always need to use more. This is the case no matter how carefully I shop for the freshest possible rice.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#2 Austin

Austin
  • participating member
  • 225 posts

Posted 12 February 2007 - 06:09 AM

You seem to be aware of this, but the amount of water depends on the age of the rice ("new" rice has more moisture and needs less water), as well as the type of rice, so there's no real consistent way of knowing. In general, brown rice needs, in my experience, about 1 1/2 times as much water as rice, whereas "old" (ie "dry") white rice needs slightly less water than rice. I live in Thailand and deal with this quite often, and simply find the right ratio by experimenting every time I buy a new brand of rice. The 2.25 cups of water for one cup of white rice you suggest seems a lot, and would create mush with the rice here in Thailand. Perhaps the rice in the US is particularly dry because of shipping?

Incidentally, when making white rice, the Thais claim that if you put the point of your index finger on top of the rice, you should add water until it reaches the "line" at the first joint. Despite the fact that the Thais obviously know a lot about rice, I haven't had too much luck with this method!

Austin

#3 Fat Guy

Fat Guy
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 29,303 posts
  • Location:New York, NY

Posted 12 February 2007 - 06:29 AM

I'm pretty sure I'm not getting old rice. I've bought rice in high-turnover Asian markets, and in other places where I'm pretty confident that the product isn't terribly old. It seems that part of the issue is that my rice cooker has a very long cycle -- it has a pre-warming phase, a long cooking phase, and a resting phase. I think a lot of steam escapes during these combined phases. Also, for everyday eating, I use long-grain basmati rice -- however I find that short-grain rice also requires more water than the package directions anticipate. I also think my personal tastes run towards having my rice absorb as much water as possible -- the fluffier the better, so long as there's no loose water remaining in the vessel.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)


#4 helenjp

helenjp
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,232 posts

Posted 12 February 2007 - 06:31 AM

Depends a bit on where your rice cooker was manufactured! If you are using a Japanese one it will be designed for paddy-grown short-grain rice. If you are using it with field-grown rice of any type, you will need more water, and from about now until the new-harvested rice comes onto the market in fall, you will need a bit more water too.

If your water is exceptionally hard, you may also find that the rice cooks hard. Try filtering the water or adding a lump of high-quality hard charcoal to the cooker.

For every type of long-grain rice, you will have to experiment and see what you like..

#5 prasantrin

prasantrin
  • legacy participant
  • 5,468 posts

Posted 12 February 2007 - 06:36 AM

I'm pretty sure I'm not getting old rice. I've bought rice in high-turnover Asian markets, and in other places where I'm pretty confident that the product isn't terribly old.

View Post


The length of time the rice has been in a store is not necessarily indicative of the age of the rice. Rice can also sit in a storage facility for relatively lengthy periods of time before even being packaged, for example.

You don't mention if you're buying the same kind of rice or switching brands. Buying a good brand of rice will help you get more consistent results--Golden Phoenix from Thailand, for example, will pretty much always give you good rice, if jasmine rice is what you're after (just make sure you get the hom mali kind, and if available, get the premium). Be careful, though, because I've found more than one "Golden Phoenix" brand Thai rice, and I bought a pretty crappy bag in Singapore, once (the packaging was different, but I thought it might just be a regional thing).

One more thing...The amount of water you're adding could just be due to personal preference. I always add a wee bit more water than required (my ratio is about 1:1.25 rice:water), because I like my rice a bit moist, and soft. But growing up, we usually had dry, kind of hard rice, because that's what my dad preferred. If I cooked the rice the way I liked it, he would complain about it being too wet. His ratio was more like 1:1.

Edited by prasantrin, 12 February 2007 - 06:41 AM.


#6 mhjoseph

mhjoseph
  • participating member
  • 72 posts
  • Location:Cleveland, OH

Posted 12 February 2007 - 07:08 AM

I always use a 1:1 ratio plus an additional half of a rice cup of water (i.e. 3 cups rice and 3 1/2 cups water). It works well for both basmati and long grain white rice.

#7 jackal10

jackal10
  • participating member
  • 5,036 posts

Posted 12 February 2007 - 07:15 AM

2 water:1 rice and the lid off

#8 Milagai

Milagai
  • participating member
  • 1,031 posts

Posted 12 February 2007 - 07:15 AM

Cooking on stove top (don't know about rice cookers)
I find that it varies by type of rice.

1 rice : 2 water for Baasmati.

1 rice : 2.5 or even 3 water for Sona Masoori or other ordinary long grain white.

Milagai

#9 C. sapidus

C. sapidus
  • participating member
  • 2,584 posts
  • Location:Maryland

Posted 12 February 2007 - 08:18 AM

For jasmine rice, I use around 1 part rice to 1.25 parts water in a closed pot on the stovetop. I’ll make it dryer if the “planned leftovers” will be used for fried rice. Mrs. Crab usually makes basmati rice in an open pot, probably similar to Jack’s method.

Austin: I never had much luck with the fingertip method either – it probably works better with a smaller pot than what we use. It's good to "see" you around!

#10 ghostrider

ghostrider
  • participating member
  • 1,754 posts
  • Location:swamps of Jersey

Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:28 AM

Don't have rice cooker, use old Revereware pan on stovetop. Use Texmati rice pretty much exclusively. The white basmati takes twice as much water as rice, the brown basmati, a tablespoon or two extra water beyond 2x. This learned from experience with my particular equipment.
Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

#11 ghostrider

ghostrider
  • participating member
  • 1,754 posts
  • Location:swamps of Jersey

Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:29 AM

Don't have rice cooker, I use an old Revereware pan on stovetop. Use Texmati rice pretty much exclusively. The white basmati takes twice as much water as rice, the brown basmati, a tablespoon or two extra water beyond 2x. This learned from experience with my particular equipment.
Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

#12 srhcb

srhcb
  • legacy participant
  • 2,918 posts
  • Location:Northern Minnesota

Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:40 AM

I amost always make the same amount of the same brand of rice, in the same pan on the same burner, for the same amount of time, and it always turns out .... the same :biggrin: !

I use about 2 parts water to 1 of rice.

After most of the water is absorbed, I take the pan off heat, put a clean linen towel between the pan and lid, and let it set for 12-15 minutes. This steaming time seems to compensate for any minor differences in the cooking process.

SB :wink:

#13 scubadoo97

scubadoo97
  • participating member
  • 2,150 posts
  • Location:Dunedin, Florida

Posted 12 February 2007 - 10:51 AM

For jasmine rice, I use around 1 part rice to 1.25 parts water in a closed pot on the stovetop. I’ll make it dryer if the “planned leftovers” will be used for fried rice. Mrs. Crab usually makes basmati rice in an open pot, probably similar to Jack’s method.

Austin: I never had much luck with the fingertip method either – it probably works better with a smaller pot than what we use. It's good to "see" you around!

View Post



I think with a rice cooker you need to follow the manufacturer's recommendation. I have never used a rice cooker but have to agree with Bruce from my own experience. I have been using jasmine rice most often and I always use 1.25 to 1.5 water to rice. The more rice made the lower the ratio but in the ball park of 1.5 to 1. This has been my ratio with any long grain rice cooked on the stove and results in perfect individual grains that are not under cooked. Alton Brown did a show which gave similar ratios as well.

#14 Tepee

Tepee
  • participating member
  • 1,804 posts

Posted 12 February 2007 - 06:34 PM

Have never measured water for my rice. If I'm opening a new bag of rice, the first cooking will be a test. I adjust upwards or downwards from the result. I don't use a rice cooker either, have been steaming rice for years. Steam for 25 mins, switch off flame, further steaming for 10 minutes, last but not least, fluff up the rice with your spatula while the rice is hot. Dig right to the bottom and upwards, all around.
TPcal!
Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

#15 Marlene

Marlene
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 8,123 posts
  • Location:Alberta, Canada

Posted 22 February 2007 - 05:56 AM

Would the rice/water ratio be different for basmati rice as compared to regular long grain white rice in a rice cooker? For long grain rice in my rice cooker, I current use equal parts of water and rice. I have one of those fuzzy logic rice cookers.
Marlene
cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.
Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

#16 Gastro888

Gastro888
  • participating member
  • 1,339 posts

Posted 22 February 2007 - 06:40 AM

...
Austin: I never had much luck with the fingertip method either – it probably works better with a smaller pot than what we use. It's good to "see" you around!

View Post

I do the fingertip method and adjust after the first time I use a new bag. I can't be bothered with measuring rice & water, it just feels weird for me to do so as I grew up watching my mom do everything freehand. (no pun intended) I make my congee/jook with a 1:8 ratio of rice to water.

#17 BarbaraY

BarbaraY
  • participating member
  • 1,212 posts
  • Location:Central Sierra Foothills, CA

Posted 22 February 2007 - 08:33 AM

I use my cheapo, little Aroma rice cooker most of the time. Put in the rice, wash it, and add water to the line indicated. A new bag of jasmine may need adjusting up or down. We use Jasmine rice most of the time but Botan at other times depending on what it will be served with.
When my daughter makes it in the same cooker it always comes out dryer. She doesn't wash it. Obviously washing makes a difference.

If I need a larger amount of rice, it goes into the old Reverware pan like ghostrider mentioned. I once read an article that said rice couldn't be cooked properly in one of these pans. Glad I hadn't read that article twenty years earlier.

#18 tafkap4d

tafkap4d
  • participating member
  • 99 posts
  • Location:Atlanta

Posted 22 February 2007 - 05:31 PM

I ran out during the craze of a few years ago and bought a rice cooker..why? We used to be large rice consumers but have since cut back. It was such a useless tool. It was fun for awhile and the kid got a big kick out of it but there is nothing like a pot of boiling water and a few grains of rice.

I never measure...add water, add rice, boil, simmer, lid...eat. Always fluffy, always flavorful.

Different types of rice do require more water than some - my browns, etc. My fave rices are:

Gen-mai, mochi-mai and vialone. I love rice, I love butter...I love butter and rice.
Whoever said that man cannot live by bread alone...simply did not know me.

#19 project

project
  • participating member
  • 480 posts

Posted 23 February 2007 - 08:46 PM

I buy long grain white rice. For decades I bought the house
brand of US grocery store chains and liked it, but now I buy
at Sam's Club, Riceland, 25 pounds per bag. The Riceland
grains are smaller and harder and take more cooking, but I use
the same amount of water.
<br><br>
I cook on (darn) a generic electric stove. I use (hooray!)
Farberware classic pots.
<br><br>
For rice, my usual is 1 C of rice and 2 C of water, in a 2
quart Farberware pot. Then, over high heat, uncovered, bring
to a simmer or slow boil, immediately turn heat to quite low
(nearly the lowest setting on the stove), add lid, set timer
for 25 minutes, and do something else. The grocery store rice
only took 20 minutes.
<br><br>
To be more clear, I measure the rice, dump it into the pot,
measure the water, and dump it into the pot. I do not assume
that 1 C of rice and 2 C of water combined would have volume 3
C.
<br><br>
To new cooks: During the initial period with high heat, it is
really easy for the rice to boil, foam, boil over, and make a
really big mess! So, during this initial period, have to
watch the pot very carefully or at least, from experience,
know about how long the high heat period will take and set a
timer and <b>listen</b> for it!
<br><br>
While the rice is cooking, no, I don't look at it or stir it.
There was a TV ad, "I simmered it and stirred it and
<b>still</b> it came out all gooey." -- of <b>course</b> it
did!
<br><br>
After the 25 minutes, it can be helpful to let the pot rest,
off heat, still covered for 10 minutes or so to further
equalize the concentration of water and let any rice on the
bottom of the pot get a little softer.
<br><br>
If some rice does stick to the bottom, then, to ease cleaning
the pot, let the pot soak overnight with some water in it.
<br><br>
Before the cooking, I don't rinse or soak the rice; I just use
it as I buy it. After the cooking, I don't drain it or rinse
it; I just use it as it is in the pot from the cooking.
<br><br>
I don't know a lot about how this technique scales, but I've
done it successfully with 3 cups of rice and six cups of water
in a 3 quart Farberware pot.
<br><br>
It works for me.
<br><br>
Now, given drumsticks from three large chickens, how can I do
a good Chinese stir-fry with a lot of good sauce to go with
the rice?

What would be the right food and wine to go with
R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

#20 Marco_Polo

Marco_Polo
  • participating member
  • 457 posts
  • Location:Devon, England

Posted 23 February 2007 - 11:01 PM

Surprised there is so much variation on this. Just to chip in my two grains of rice on this, in this house (and in my mom's and my grandma's) it has always been 1:1 Well, to be honest, it's usually just a tad more, that is measure out 4 cups of rice (why make any less?), from same cup (the little plastic one that comes with the rice cooker), measure out the exact same amount of water, then add maybe a quarter of a cup more water, just for good luck. The exception is shortgrain brown (which we love). For this it would be around 4 cups rice to 5 1/2 cups water.

Our rice cooker pooped out nearly a year ago, so we've reverted to making rice the way my mother always did: rice and water in saucepan, stir, bring to the boil, stir well again, cover and immediately reduce flame to lowest setting. Leave for about 25 minutes. Perfect rice every time.

I wonder if those of you making rice on the stovetop (not in a rice cooker of course) and using a much higher proportion of water are using a different method? I know some people prefer the boil and drain method.

Another point worth bringing up: washing rice. Now my Korean grandmother always used to wash rice prior to cooking. She'd put the rice in a saucepan or rice cooker, add water, whooosh it around with her hands vigorously, drain, rinse, add water again, whoosh the rice around with more water, do this maybe six or seven times until the water was no longer milky but almost clear. I can still imagine clearly the noise of that rice being whooshed around the pot, anticipating a big bowl of steaming hot, lovely white rice: the sound and taste of comfort, of home...

The problem with washing rice is that it's then in the pot all wet so it's hard to measure out precisely how much water to add, which is of course the subject of this discourse.

My grandmother's method was simple and similar to the finger method above: once the rice was in the pot, she'd simply place her hand on top of the rice and bring the water up until it just covered the back of her hand (she had diminutive hands).

I've gotten lazy, I suppose, because I no longer bother washing rice. Come to think of it, Halmoni always used not only to wash, but, once requisite water was in the pot, also leave the rice to soak. How long? I once asked her. As long as you like, hours even, she said. You can't oversoak. These are simple enough steps, and I do believe they result in better, fluffier rice, so I guess I better stop being lazy.

Marc

Edited by Marco_Polo, 23 February 2007 - 11:07 PM.


#21 Hest88

Hest88
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 1,243 posts
  • Location:Bay Area, California

Posted 23 February 2007 - 11:26 PM

I love hearing about other Asian mom/grandma's methods. I was taught to put in my rice, wash it, then shake it until the rice was basically level. Then to stick my finger into the rice, mark how high it reached on my finger with my thumb, lift my finger out of the rice, set it on top of the rice, then fill the pot with water up to the "mark." I guess that means basically a 2:1 ratio!

#22 Domestic Goddess

Domestic Goddess
  • participating member
  • 1,738 posts
  • Location:South Korea, orig. from Philippines

Posted 24 February 2007 - 05:37 AM

I also wash/rinse my rice, I do it 3 times. I also sometimes let it soak too for a more fluffier, tender feel in the mouth. If I need to fry it later for fried rice, I lower the water level a tad so that the rice is not as sticky and ends up being a little dry. Perfect for garlic fried rice.
Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

#23 miladyinsanity

miladyinsanity
  • participating member
  • 1,363 posts
  • Location:Manchester, UK

Posted 24 February 2007 - 12:24 PM

I also wash/rinse my rice, I do it 3 times. I also sometimes let it soak too for a more fluffier, tender feel in the mouth. If I need to fry it later for fried rice, I lower the water level a tad so that the rice is not as sticky and ends up being a little dry. Perfect for garlic fried rice.

View Post

Stick it overnight in the fridge and you'll have nice, dry rice for fried rice.

I think that if I continue reading this thread, I'll be in trouble when I get to uni (I'm moving out of the house). The eG version of too many cooks spoiling the broth--rice? :laugh:
May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

#24 chromedome

chromedome
  • participating member
  • 989 posts

Posted 25 February 2007 - 10:24 AM

There is substantial variation from one type of rice to another, from one brand to another within a given type, and of course the age of the rice is a factor. There's one other that hasn't been mentioned upthread...the quantity that's being prepared.

As a rule, the more rice you're cooking at a time the less water you need. Assuming "ordinary" long-grain rice as sold in most North American supermarkets, the standard rule of thumb is two cups of water to one cup of rice. And this is fine...if you're using one cup of rice. If you're using two, you'd probably want to cut back a bit on the water to keep your rice from being mushy. At my work, we make rice in 4" deep hotel pans; the ratio there is two water jugs of rice to three (scant) water jugs of water. By water jugs I mean the clear plastic ones that sit on the table during meetings and seminars...y'know the ones I mean.

(A point of semantic interest, Fat Guy...you add water, in search of "fluffy" rice, while I subtract...to me, the opposite of "fluffy" is "mushy," while to you it seems to be "dry.")

In my cooking classes, I advise people who have trouble with rice to bring the pot to a simmer and then pop it into the oven, with the lid on tight, for the rest of the cooking time. I find that the all-around heat makes it easier for the unpracticed to have evenly-cooked rice, rather than crusty on the bottom and chalky/undercooked on top.

Another point I stress is the importance of a resting time when the rice has finished cooking. At least five minutes with the lid off is important to allow the rice to dry and cool slightly. Attempting to "fluff" the rice with a fork or spoon, while the grains are still above the gelatinization temperature, does not give the desired result. Same thing as cutting into a loaf of bread while it's still hot, it'll always be a bit "doughy" even if it's been baked perfectly.

The above applies to long-grain and basmati rice, the kinds I primarily cook with. I haven't played enough yet with shorter and Asian rices to comment on those.
Fat=flavor

#25 TheTInCook

TheTInCook
  • participating member
  • 268 posts

Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:27 PM

Seems like every single bag of rice (different kinds even) and rice maker I've seen calls for 2 cups of water per cup of rice. This makes horribly soggy rice. A friend of mine was convinced her new rice cooker was broken because it made mushy rice, but the only thing wrong was that she followed that rediculous 2:1 recipe.

So what gives? Do most people like mushy rice, and I don't know it?

#26 heidih

heidih
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 10,839 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:47 PM

Unless the rice is old and dry I have always gone more the route of one to one. It turns out to be more water because I rinse my rice but still nothing like the 2 cups to one

#27 TheTInCook

TheTInCook
  • participating member
  • 268 posts

Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:54 PM

The most I've ever used is 1.5 to 1, and that was for basmati and long grain (which could probably benefit from a little less).

Tried making rice with the one knuckle rule the other day. My hands are too big :(

#28 liuzhou

liuzhou
  • participating member
  • 2,223 posts
  • Location:Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:18 PM

I cook rice at least once a day and always use one-to-one with perhaps an extra splash of water for good luck. I do find it depends on the rice. I nearly always use the same brand of Thai Hom Mali rice (Jasmine Rice) and this works perfectly. I find that the local Chinese rice needs a bit more - with that I use the one knuckle rule.

Two-to-one would be for making rice porridge.

#29 Panaderia Canadiense

Panaderia Canadiense
  • participating member
  • 2,074 posts
  • Location:Ambato, Ecuador

Posted 06 May 2012 - 08:59 PM

I do swear by 2:1 water:rice, but I use a specific toasted golden rice and cook it at 10,000 feet above sea level, which always, always requires more water than on the coast. 1.5:1 and 1:1 make crunchy, ugly, undercooked rice, which is not what I'm after at all.
Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.
My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

#30 annabelle

annabelle
  • participating member
  • 1,957 posts
  • Location:Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, Oklahoma

Posted 06 May 2012 - 09:10 PM

I do 1.5:1 water:rice. I use short grain rice in the rice cooker. I also cover it with a tea towel and replace the lid over the towel and let it steam on the keep warm setting. I take the insert out of the cooker for this if I am making rice to chill for fried rice until it is cool enough to refrigerate.