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How to Cook Rice Without It Sticking Together

by
author image Michelle Kerns
Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.
How to Cook Rice Without It Sticking Together
How to Cook Rice Without It Sticking Together Photo Credit Dyana Rzentkowski/Demand Media

When you're making sushi, risotto or rice pudding, rice that is moist and slightly sticky is your goal. If you're making pilaf, paella or are using rice as a bed for braises, thick stews, stir-fries or in a salad, however, gummy rice is your enemy. According to the website Cooking Light, following the typical cookbook instructions for preparing rice -- boil water in a saucepan, stir in the rice, put the lid in place, simmer until the water is absorbed -- is why most home cooks end up with sticky rice when they don't want it. For rice that consists of separate, fluffy grains, you'll need to use a different method.

Step 1

Choose a long-grain rice variety such as brown basmati, brown jasmine or regular long-grain brown rice over short- or medium-grain rice.

Step 2

Place the rice in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it thoroughly under cool, running water to remove as much starch from the individual grains as possible. Cover the rice with cold water in a large bowl and allow the grains to soak for 30 minutes, if time allows. Drain off as much water as possible.

Step 3

Fill a large saucepan with water, using approximately four times as much water as the amount of rice you plan to cook. Bring the water to a boil and stir in a teaspoon of salt.

Step 4

Add the rice, stir once and bring the water back to a steady boil. Allow the rice to cook until it reaches your desired level of tenderness without additional stirring. Use a spoon to remove and check a few grains after 15 minutes for white rice and after 25 minutes for brown rice.

Step 5

Drain the rice in the strainer. Rinse the grains with hot water, allow them to drain again briefly, then serve the rice in a warm dish or use as desired.

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