You already know that I like to save money, but I’m not always the best at knowing how to get perfectly cooked rice quickly and economically. I can, however, give you some great advice on cooking rice several different ways that will result in good rice you and your family will enjoy.
Here are some specific details about cooking rice starting from three different products:
From raw. If you want to cook raw rice that hasn’t been cooked in advance — the kind that comes dry in a bag — you need to use the greatest level of care. You can often get undercooked or overcooked rice if you try to cook raw rice on the stove. I also don’t recommend using a rice cooker because it can cause burning at the edges. The best advice I have is cooking rice in a slow cooker. It may sound unusual, but it works for me. Of course, this method isn’t very fast.
From parboiled. Most people buy parboiled or minute rice for the best results, and this can get you great results in the microwave or on the stove in just a few minutes. Both brown and white rice can be successfully cooked this way, and you usually get fluffy, individual grains that most people find desirable. Just be careful with cooking times. My old microwave required cooking white rice for five minutes, then resting for five minutes. In my new, more powerful microwave, I need to cook only for three and a half minutes but still need to let the cooked rice sit for five minutes. Brown rice takes much longer and doesn’t always give consistent results. Fast and still relatively inexpensive, this is how most people do rice.
From precooked. I’ve gotten lazier in recent years. While I don’t always like preseason rice from brands like Uncle Ben’s that are available in shelf-stable packages, I do like the precooked brown rice available frozen at Trader Joe’s. It is also available in this form elsewhere. This rice has a small amount of rice bran oil added to keep it from sticking together, and it works. Plus, it’s quick. The drawback is that it’s much more expensive than cooking raw or parboiled rice, but it’s still my favorite way. Sometimes the cheapest way isn’t the best way.
As you can see from the discussion above, cooking rice is a tradeoff. For best results, you may want to pay more for precooked rice. For the least expensive option, you’ll have to take care how you cook it for acceptable results.