Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Microwave Rice

Cooking rice on a stove is not as easy as people would have you believe. If you set the heat too high, it can boil over, creating an awful mess. Leave it on the heat a little too long, and you end with rice bonded to your pan. Yet another mess! Too much water, end up with mush. Too little water, crunchy rice. Ick.

I have a confession. I'm a trained chef and even I have trouble getting rice right cooked on the stove (when I worked in restaurants, we steamed the rice in a big steamer which was nearly foolproof). A rice cooker does ok, but who needs another appliance cluttering up the counter? You have a microwave cluttering up your counter already and it happens to be a great rice cooker. Some people have no choice; a microwave is the only thing they have.

Rice is a staple, so having a good method for cooking it in the microwave would be nice, wouldn't it? There are a lot of bad microwave rice recipes out there. By bad, I mean, recipes that totally trash your microwave. I have done extensive testing of recipes and this one really works without creating a pool of starchy rice water in the bottom of your microwave.

Microwave Rice
(makes 3 cups, serves 4-6)

1 3/4 cup water or broth
1 cup rice (converted, jasmine, basmati, long-grain)

Place water and rice in a 4 cup microwaveable bowl or measuring cup. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 4 minutes. The water should be boiling at this point, but not frothing and going over the sides. Microwave on low (20-30%) power for another 20 minutes. Nearly all the water should be absorbed at the end. Let stand for 5 minutes

On high powered microwaves, 30% is enough to cause boil-overs. Try 30% and if looks like it's going to blow, reduce power to 20%. If it doesn't boil at all in the first minute after you reduced the power, try 40%. The first time you try this, you'll want to keep an eye on it. Unfortunately, given the different power ratings on microwaves (anywhere from 500-1200 watts), it's impossible to give the perfect recipe for every microwave oven.

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