How to cook rice in the microwave, perfect every time.
We used to live in planned community before we moved out here on our homestead. It was one of those neighborhoods where you signed a contract stating that your mulch will never be less than 6″ deep. We got a letter once that we were in violation of contract. someone actually TOOK A RULER TO OUR MULCH. Who has that much time, really!?
When we designed that house, we were given a palette to choose from for our paint colors, inside and out, carpet colors, countertop colors and cabinet colors. We had flown in to do the design session, so we only had a few hours to plan the entire house. Such pressure. I was just newly pregnant at the time, so my patience, mental state and synapsing were at lowest levels.
That’s how we ended up with a $1,300 microwave.
For the 9 years that we lived in that house, we used the microwave to heat up leftovers and to make popcorn.
It wasn’t until we moved here at our current home that I started playing with the microwave. We’ve still have yet to tear up this kitchen to remodel (waiting for my editor to give me a-ok on all edits of my manuscript before I render myself kitchenless for 6 weeks.)
My kitchen is smaller, the stovetop uneven, the hood sucks (haha) — so I’ve been looking for ways to be a little more efficient with the microwave, which is just a regular ol’ microwave, not a fancy $1,300 unit.
I bought this Nordicware Microwave Rice Cooker on a whim (hey, it was only $11!!!) just to test it out – totally expecting rice failure. You see, I’m a rice snob. I invested in a $300 Zojirushi, the mother of all rice cookers.
Boy was I wrong. Fluffy, perfectly evenly cooked rice from the microwave. Side by side, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between $300 rice cooker or $11 rice cooker. Just don’t tell my husband that, okay? He’ll never let me shop for expensive cookware again.
- Microwaved rice looks the same
- Microwaved rice tastes the same
- Microwaved rice smells the same
- Microwaved rice fluffs the same
btw, this is regular raw rice – not that tasteless parboiled Uncle Ben’s stuff.
The secret to microwaving rice is to add the right amount of water. Too much water = soggy rice. Too little water = dry rice. Just right water = just right rice.
How to cook rice in the microwave
Start with regular white rice (not the half-cooked, parboiled kind) – you can use basmati, jasmine, sushi rice.
*I’ll have to write separate post on how to microwave brown rice and wild rice next time – different water + timing instructions
For 4 people, add 1 1/2 cups of rice. This will make about 3 cups of cooked rice.
Pour in some cool water and swish the rice around to wash it. Carefully pour out the water, keeping the rice in the pot. Just tilt the pot – the water will pour out and the rice will stay at bottom. You can even use your hands to cup the rice to prevent it from spilling out as you pour the water out. Repeat this 3 times more. Your water will be less cloudy each time. Note – the water will never be completely clear – rice is a starch, starch will cloud the water a bit!
The purpose of this is to wash the rice, getting rid of any dirt, dust and extra starch that coats the rice. Extra starch on rice makes the rice very sticky and gummy. When you wash it away, you’ll notice a big difference in the quality of the cooked rice.
Once you’re done with the washing, pour the water out again.
Now we’re going to add the cooking water. Add enough water so that it covers the rice by 1″. Sure, you can break out your ruler and do this, or you can do what my Dad taught me, use your finger to measure. It’s an Ancient Chinese Secret (okay, perhaps back then they didn’t have measuring cups.)
Put your clean finger in the pot so that the tip of your finger touches the top of the rice (don’t go all the way to the bottom – we are measuring from top of rice.) For most ladies (and men with small hands) 1″ is where your first knuckle is. DONE.
For men or ladies with large hands, just add enough water to go below the knuckle (or use your pinky finger.)
Okay, let me show you again, this time with my mad Photoshop skillz.
*Thanks free clip art! (though originally he was holding a cell phone)
Why is this method superior to measuring cups?
- It doesn’t matter how much rice you start with (you measure from the top of the rice, so if you have more rice in the pot, you’ll end up adding more water to get it up to 1″)
- You don’t have to memorize measurements or ratios
- It doesn’t matter what kind of pot you use
- It doesn’t matter how you cook the rice (microwave or stovetop)
- It doesn’t matter how well you’ve drained the rice after washing (if you don’t drain all of the water, you could end up with too much water in the pot)
The method is the same.
See? Ancient Chinese secret.
Put the lid on. Notice this rice cooker has air vents – this allows the steam to escape during cooking, which is good. If you use a microwave pot that has a very tight fitting lid, your lid will explode off. If you are using a any other microwave vessel (even a Pyrex!), put the lid on but just set it on top. Corningware glass lids will work fine – the steam will escape between the glass and pot.
Microwave for 9 minutes on high. Let it sit for 3 minutes undisturbed to finish cooking. Then it’s done.
You’ve now cooked rice in less than half the time it takes, cheaper than my ahem, $300 machine, using less energy than a stove, and you don’t have to babysit the pot.
Microwave cookware I recommend
How I microwave rice – Nordicware Microwave Rice Cooker $11 (Amazon.com)
How I make soft and hardboiled eggs in the microwave – Nordicware Microwave Egg Boiler $11 (Amazon.com)
How to cook rice in the microwave
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 12 mintutes
To make perfect microwaved rice, follow these instructions.
2 1/4 cups water
1. Scoop the rice into the microwave-safe container, pot or steamer. Fill the pot with water and swish the water and rice with your hands. Pour out the water, keeping the rice in the pot (just cup your hands around the rice to prevent it from pouring out). Repeat for 2-3 more times until the water is just barely cloudy.
2. Add enough water to cover the rice by about 1" - or place your finger straight down touching the top of the rice. The water should meet your first knuckle (ladies or men with small hands) and just under the first knuckle (men or ladies with big hands)
For 1 1/2 cups of rice, this is approximately 2 1/4 cups of water
3. Microwave on high for 9 minutes. Let rest covered for 3 minutes.