Utterly foolproof rice

Utterly foolproof rice

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(17 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins - 20 mins


Serves 4
You can't go wrong with Sara Buenfeld’s foolproof rice recipe

Nutrition and extra info


  • kcal-
  • fat-
  • saturates-
  • carbs-
  • sugars-
  • fibre-
  • protein-
  • salt-
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  • a mugful of American long grain rice (about 200g/8oz)


  1. Fill a roomy saucepan with water, bring to the boil and tip in a heaped teaspoon of salt – the water will bubble furiously. Pour in the rice, stir once and return to the boil, then turn the heat down a little so that the water is boiling steadily, but not vigorously.

  2. Boil uncovered, without stirring (this makes for sticky rice) for 10 minutes. Lift some out with a slotted spoon and nibble a grain or two. If they’re too crunchy, cook for another minute and taste again. They should be tender but with a little bite.

  3. Drain the rice into a large sieve and rinse by pouring over a kettle of very hot water. Leave to drain well, then tip into a warm serving dish. Serve the rice as it is, or fork through a little butter and parsley to jazz it up.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Olive_Oyl's picture
27th Mar, 2015
It is great to read someone else's recipe that is exactly the same as mine. Compare this with the recipe - also on BBCgoodfood - from Jane Hornby which relies on the rice absorbing the correct amount of water and then being "forked" to make it "fluffy"! This is the same as process that happens inside a "rice cooker" and results in horrible rice grains fused together that need "forking" - i.e. physical manipulation - to separate the grains. Absolutely terrible!
20th Jun, 2013
I have always just doubled the quantity of water to rice, then brought to the boil, reduced to simmer and placed a tight lid on. works every time. the rice is cooked when it has absorbed all the water.
10th Nov, 2012
Great recipe, I've struggled with rice for ages, trying various different methods, but this is very easy. Will use this every time I do rice from now on.
11th Jan, 2012
I've been using the microwave method for year, nothing else compares. Wash rice if you have time but still fine if not
4th Oct, 2011
This is a very common method to cook rice in India......You could try adding a few green cardamoms to the rice whilst the water is boiling to make it fragrant.....If one is using long grained rice,adding a whole peeled red onion to the pot of boiling water and rice shall result in non-sticky rice,ensure that the onion is removed before serving...
17th Oct, 2010
Having gone to Chinese cookery classes many years ago, this method never fails. Use a non stick pan, (I always rinse my rice) no matter what amount of rice you put in the pan, always add enough cold water to cover 1 inch above the level of the rice, (no salt added). With the pot uncovered, heat the rice on medium heat and just when there are bubble holes appearing in the rice, place on a tight fitting lid (that does not have vent holes in). Turn down the heat for 10/12 minutes, the rice should be cooked with no moisture remaining. I often make double the quantity of rice for to make a stir-fry the next day, or to put in the freezer for another day.
28th Aug, 2010
Ohhh...do I miss Lotus leaves living in Finland. Used to buy them at a Chinese supermarket in Birmingham, and steam the rice in those, using a bamboo steamer. Went to Asia (China?Indonesia?Philippines? - don't remember) a few years ago when I still lived in UK, and bought a big pack of dried ones. They'll last for donkey's. Much fun and merriment with Heathrow customs...;-) Basically, just wash a cupful of rice (soak it, if you want "glutinous"), soak a lotus leaf in boied water for 3 hours, pack the rice in it, fold it up, pop it in a steamer (bamboo's best!), steam it over a moderate simmer for an hour. To die for!
15th Jun, 2010
It's the starch that makes it sticky. If you don't want sticky rice*, simply put it into a sieve (I said 'sieve', not 'colander' ;-) Stick it under the cold tap and using your thumb on the tap's outlet, form a decent jet. Hold the sieve under the jet, moving it around, nach, until the outflow of water goes from white to clear. The white is the starch. That's what makes it go sticky. Then cook as normal. *If you DO, see the link below (scroll down a bit). Don't wash, DO stir! Personally, I used to make "Glutinous rice" wrapped in dried - soaked Lotus leaves in a bamboo steamer. If you're knocking up a bit of Chinese nosh, there's little to beat the aroma. Unfortunately, I can't get them in Finland :( http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9792/thai-roast-chicken-with-mango-and-apple-salad
5th Apr, 2010
I was taught a similar method many years ago by a Cajun cook. Instead of salt, though, she added a tbsp vegetable oil and a tbsp vinegar. The rice is rinsed thoroughly after it is cooked, so any extra starch is drained/rinsed off. (Basmati and jasmine rice are starchier, so might want a bit of a rinse beforehand). Turns out beautifully every time. I was told to cook it for 16 minutes. Not sure why, and I expect it varies with altitude, but as Cajuns live close to sea level, that should be about right for much of the UK. Test it sooner and stop cooking if it seems ready before 16 min. If sodium is an issue for you, then this approach might be preferable to adding salt.
9th Dec, 2009


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