10 votes

Science: The Secrets of Cooking Rice — The Cause of Recipe Failure is Not What You Might Think

24 comments

  1. [24]
    cfabbro Link
    I'm kind of disappointed they didn't experiment with different cooking methods to figure out the best ratio for each, since for me: Pressure cooker (e.g. Instant Pot) > Pot > Rice Cooker. I have...

    I'm kind of disappointed they didn't experiment with different cooking methods to figure out the best ratio for each, since for me: Pressure cooker (e.g. Instant Pot) > Pot > Rice Cooker. I have never tried Sous-vide rice though... that's an interesting idea but can't possible be worth the time it requires, can it?

    And another important aspect they kind of glazed over, IMO: Don't just do a quick "rinse" under the tap in a strainer like they showed in the video, especially with white rice... wash it in a bowl so you can agitate the grains with your hands to the get all the excess starch off. Replace the water and do it again. Repeat until the water runs completely clear.

    2 votes
    1. Spel Link Parent
      I've used sous vide for rice on occasions, and while it works great I don't really find it to be worth the hassle. It sounds strange but what I use for cooking rice instead is the microwave (with...

      I've used sous vide for rice on occasions, and while it works great I don't really find it to be worth the hassle. It sounds strange but what I use for cooking rice instead is the microwave (with a "rice cooker" container intended for that from Joseph Joseph) and it's shocking to me how great the rice turns out and for very little effort. To verify that it's not just me who has bad taste I even had a friend from Japan try it out, and though she was filled with doubt beforehand she too found the result to be quite excellent.

      2 votes
    2. [22]
      Gaywallet Link Parent
      I find it interesting that you put rice cooker as your last choice. Have you ever tried an expensive rice cooker? I would put $20 rice cookers at the bottom, but many $200 rice cookers way at the top.

      I find it interesting that you put rice cooker as your last choice. Have you ever tried an expensive rice cooker?

      I would put $20 rice cookers at the bottom, but many $200 rice cookers way at the top.

      1 vote
      1. [16]
        cfabbro Link Parent
        $200? No... but I have had some pretty good ($100ish) ones over the years and none came close to the quality of rice produced by even the cheapest pressure cookers I have owned, IMO.

        $200? No... but I have had some pretty good ($100ish) ones over the years and none came close to the quality of rice produced by even the cheapest pressure cookers I have owned, IMO.

        2 votes
        1. [15]
          EscReality (edited ) Link Parent
          I also would modify your order; Sous Vide > Pressure cooker > Rice Cooker > Stove top No stove top preparation will ever be better than a mid to high end rice cooker. Sous Vide does allow for more...

          I also would modify your order;

          Sous Vide > Pressure cooker > Rice Cooker > Stove top

          No stove top preparation will ever be better than a mid to high end rice cooker.

          Sous Vide does allow for more or less literally perfect rice, you can do proper water to rice ratio ( 1:1 ) and can throw other goodies in the bag like butter, herbs and fresh garlic. It is literally impossible for evaporation or to burn the rice. If you ever get your hands on a good Sous Vide setup I would highly recommend trying it.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Bishop Link Parent
            i've never even considered the idea of doing rice sous vide. i like your style.

            i've never even considered the idea of doing rice sous vide.

            i like your style.

            1 vote
            1. EscReality Link Parent
              Long Grain White Rice, Jasmine Rice and Japonica Rice (equal parts) with butter, whole garlic cloves, fresh thyme and fresh minced oregano; sous vide for 30(ish) mins. My favorite rice ever. Ever...

              Long Grain White Rice, Jasmine Rice and Japonica Rice (equal parts) with butter, whole garlic cloves, fresh thyme and fresh minced oregano; sous vide for 30(ish) mins. My favorite rice ever.

              Ever since I got a Sous Vide setup I have been on a tirade of "what can I cook in this thing now". Everyone loves it for meats, but honestly some of the best stuff I have cooked in it are rice, infused olive oils, cauliflower mashers and regular mashed potatoes.

              And, of course meats.

              3 votes
          2. [12]
            cfabbro Link Parent
            Yeah, I suspected that would be the case and have always wanted to give sous vide a try... but I don't eat nearly enough meat to justify the expense since I would so rarely use it for that. But I...

            Yeah, I suspected that would be the case and have always wanted to give sous vide a try... but I don't eat nearly enough meat to justify the expense since I would so rarely use it for that. But I do eat an absolute ton of rice, so maybe this is finally how I can justify it to myself. ;)

            How long does the sous vide process take for white and brown/wild rice though? Pressure cooker is 10-15 for pretty dang good rice, so if sous vide was like an hour for only slightly better results, that might be hard to swallow. :P

            1 vote
            1. [11]
              EscReality Link Parent
              So ultimately it depends on the type of rice. Jasmine or Japonica has a shorter cook time than say Long Grain Brown Rice or North American Wild Rice. To give you a rough estimate I would say 20-30...

              So ultimately it depends on the type of rice. Jasmine or Japonica has a shorter cook time than say Long Grain Brown Rice or North American Wild Rice. To give you a rough estimate I would say 20-30 minutes. Ultimately it's just until you can tell the rice has absorbed all of the water, since there is no evaporation you can cook at a proper 1:1 ratio, so when there is no water left in the bag it's done.

              If you love to cook, I would recommend getting one. An entry level unit costs around $70(us), pricey but there is a lot you can do with it.

              1 vote
              1. [10]
                cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
                20-30 min isn't bad at all, for some reason I expected it to take way longer. Out of curiosity what else can you do with sous vide that isn't meat? That's all I have ever really seen it used for...

                20-30 min isn't bad at all, for some reason I expected it to take way longer. Out of curiosity what else can you do with sous vide that isn't meat? That's all I have ever really seen it used for and as I said before, I don't really eat much of it (other than cured meats on pizza).

                1. [3]
                  Deimos Link Parent
                  They're extremely good for eggs: https://www.seriouseats.com/2013/10/sous-vide-101-all-about-eggs.html
                  3 votes
                  1. cfabbro Link Parent
                    Oh yeah... I even remember reading that serious eats experiment but totally forgot about it. Thanks. Perfect soft boiled eggs at the ready for the copious amounts of ramen that I eat does sound...

                    Oh yeah... I even remember reading that serious eats experiment but totally forgot about it. Thanks.

                    The best part? Once cooked, you can chill the eggs in an ice bath and store them in water in the refrigerator for up to a few days. To serve them, just submerge them in warm (130 to 140°F water) for ten minutes or so and they're as good as fresh.

                    Perfect soft boiled eggs at the ready for the copious amounts of ramen that I eat does sound pretty appealing!

                    1 vote
                  2. EscReality Link Parent
                    That post is awesome thanks for sharing it!!

                    That post is awesome thanks for sharing it!!

                    1 vote
                2. [6]
                  EscReality Link Parent
                  My favorite non meat items that I have tried out (and would do again) are; Rice (all of the rice, I haven't touched my rice cooker in a year) Quinoa Infused Olive Oils (Garlic Olive Oil, Habanero...

                  My favorite non meat items that I have tried out (and would do again) are;

                  • Rice (all of the rice, I haven't touched my rice cooker in a year)
                  • Quinoa
                  • Infused Olive Oils (Garlic Olive Oil, Habanero Olive Oil, Cocoa powder infused Olive Oil, etc etc)
                  • Cauliflower mashers (think mashed potatoes, but replace the potatoes with mashed cauliflower)
                  • Garlic Confit
                  • Artichokes
                  • Mashed potatoes
                  • Dill Pickles
                  • Corn on the Cob
                  • Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs (I guess that counts as meat)
                  • Carrots and herbs
                  • Brussel Sprouts (with butter)
                  • Pears and apples (topped with cinnamon and sugar)

                  Basically any veggie you would have ever cooked with steam or boiling water you can sous vide.

                  It's a wonderful world to be a cooking mad scientist.

                  3 votes
                  1. [4]
                    cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
                    Thanks! Most of those I typically roast in the oven, or do in the pressure cooker already though. But I think the eggs (which I don't really consider "meat", since ovo-lactos eat them), especially...

                    Thanks! Most of those I typically roast in the oven, or do in the pressure cooker already though. But I think the eggs (which I don't really consider "meat", since ovo-lactos eat them), especially after the link Deimos provided, have convinced me I need to pony up for a sous vide setup. I eat a pretty insane amount of Ramen so having perfect soft-boiled eggs at the ready to throw in my bowls along with my ready-made roasted veg sounds amazing.

                    1. [3]
                      CALICO Link Parent
                      You might want to give steaming your eggs a shot in the meantime. Perfect soft-boiled eggs in under 10 minutes, every time.

                      You might want to give steaming your eggs a shot in the meantime. Perfect soft-boiled eggs in under 10 minutes, every time.

                      3 votes
                      1. [2]
                        cfabbro Link Parent
                        Oh, Chef John... please for the love of God stop talking like that! ;) But seriously, yeah that's basically how I do my eggs now, though I do them out of the shell in a silicone poaching cup....

                        Oh, Chef John... please for the love of God stop talking like that! ;)

                        But seriously, yeah that's basically how I do my eggs now, though I do them out of the shell in a silicone poaching cup. Although maybe I should give it a try with the shell still on and then store them in the fridge in cold water like seriouseats recommended... since the convenience of having them at the ready for my Ramen is the most appealing part to me. I don't mind prep work, but when I am actually hungry, I want to eat NOW! :P

                        2 votes
                        1. CALICO Link Parent
                          His inflection got on my nerves a bit when I first started watching him, but it's since grown on me. I find it so endearing. Personally when I make my soft-boiled eggs I'll just store them in a...

                          His inflection got on my nerves a bit when I first started watching him, but it's since grown on me. I find it so endearing.

                          Personally when I make my soft-boiled eggs I'll just store them in a half-carton I keep in my fridge. It works more than well enough for my purposes.

                          1 vote
                  2. cfabbro Link Parent
                    And oooh.. would you look at that: Sous vide risotto with Brad from BA I fucking love risotto but it's such a PITA to make. If I could make it that easily with sous vide then I would definitely...

                    And oooh.. would you look at that:
                    Sous vide risotto with Brad from BA

                    I fucking love risotto but it's such a PITA to make. If I could make it that easily with sous vide then I would definitely eat it way more often.

      2. [5]
        Plattypus Link Parent
        Aren't expensive rice cookers basically pressure cookers as well? They just use special logic specific for rice. I've also found that my Instant Pot makes far, far better rice than my $60 rice cooker.

        Aren't expensive rice cookers basically pressure cookers as well? They just use special logic specific for rice.

        I've also found that my Instant Pot makes far, far better rice than my $60 rice cooker.

        2 votes
        1. [4]
          Gaywallet Link Parent
          Depends on the rice cooker. Some are, some aren't. Some are just fancy, much better regulated heating elements with a pot.

          Depends on the rice cooker. Some are, some aren't. Some are just fancy, much better regulated heating elements with a pot.

          1 vote
          1. [3]
            Tau_Zero Link Parent
            Does the better heat regulating prevent the "keep warm" from drying out the rice and somehow sticking to the non-stick internal pot? I haven't used the super fancy ones, but it seems every one...

            Does the better heat regulating prevent the "keep warm" from drying out the rice and somehow sticking to the non-stick internal pot? I haven't used the super fancy ones, but it seems every one I've used that ends up happening.

            The other thing that drives me nuts, unrelated to the actual cooking, is that the inner pot is free to move while serving. It's too hot grab, so frustratingly spins around when trying to fluff or get the last few scoops out.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              Gaywallet Link Parent
              I can't speak for them all, but I will speak for my ~$200 zojirushi: Keep warm will dry out the rice if you leave it in for more than roughly 4 hours. If you know you're going to do this, you...

              I can't speak for them all, but I will speak for my ~$200 zojirushi:

              • Keep warm will dry out the rice if you leave it in for more than roughly 4 hours. If you know you're going to do this, you could cook the rice with a small amount of extra water. There's really no way to avoid this, pot or not, because any amount of warmth and time exposed to air will increase evaporation slightly.

              • The inner pot in mine has insulated plastic handles, both preventing the spin and allowing it to be grabbed/removed even right after finishing cooking when it's the hottest.

              2 votes
              1. Tau_Zero Link Parent
                I’ve always had mine dry out on “keep warm” by the end of dinner, maybe 0.5-1h. Insulated handles sound nice. I guess I’ll be keeping an eye out for a deal on a nicer one like zojirushi.

                I’ve always had mine dry out on “keep warm” by the end of dinner, maybe 0.5-1h. Insulated handles sound nice. I guess I’ll be keeping an eye out for a deal on a nicer one like zojirushi.

                2 votes