Asians are synonymous with rice. Whether they are East Asians, South Asians, Southeast Asians, or West Asians, rice is universally loved by all Asians where 90% of it is produced and consumed. It is a staple food in Asia and on average a person consumes about 100kg of rice per year. Let’s find out why Asians love this versatile food and how you can incorporate it into your daily diet too.
Why Asian love rice?
One of the reasons Asians love rice is that it’s ubiquitous in their continent – you can find rice plantations in most Asian countries. Another reason is due to its basicness – it is one of the most plain-tasting foods you’ll ever encounter, which is why rice goes with everything and can be seasoned accordingly.
It is also a cheaper way for people to increase their intake of carbohydrates for their daily energy intake. It provides about 35 to 59% of Asians’ daily energy consumption and it is very prevalent in countries with lower income levels. This means that sometimes, it is also about necessity and scarcity.
What is the most popular type of rice that most Asian cook?
There are many types of rice that you can enjoy, from broken rice to sticky rice that you can use in sweet dishes. It’s divided into several categories, from short-grained to long-grained rice. Usually, the shorter the grain the stickier it is.
One of the most commonly used rice in Asia (also the most versatile) is jasmine rice. It’s medium-grain rice that is not too sticky nor too dry. The name itself is taken from the fragrant jasmine flower, and this particular rice also has a similar sweet-smelling taste. The white grain has a fluffy and slightly moist texture that can soak up almost any type of seasoning you give it.
How to cook rice with a rice cooker (step-by-step)?
If you’re starting to get intrigued with this beautiful grain, the next thing you need to know is how to cook it. One of the simplest and easiest ways to cook rice is by using a rice cooker. This way you won’t risk ruining the rice by cooking it too long or too quickly and will give you a fluffy and failproof result.
The step-by-step guide for you to cook rice in a rice cooker is as follows:
- Choose a type of rice, we recommend you to choose the versatile medium grain rice as your first try.
- Wash and rinse the rice with water. Discard the water after rinse.
- Add in clean water into your rice (with the correct ratio of water to rice).
- Power the rice cooker on and set it on cooking (either normal or quick cook).
- Never open the lid! Let the rice cook and only open when you see that the process has finished.
- Let the rice rest for a little bit (about 5 to 10 minutes) by opening the top and letting out the steam.
- Fluff the rice using rice paddle so that it’s less sticky.
- Your rice is ready to be enjoy with any type of side dishes.
Should you wash the rice before cooking?
Before you start cooking your rice, the first step you need to do is to wash or rinse the rice clean. This is an important step not just to clean the rice, but also to get rid of the extra starch build-up from the broken grains or other debris you might encounter. Not washing your rice may lead to overly sticky rice or unclean rice – it is common to find one or two sand grains inside your rice, so be mindful of those.
How many times should you rinse the rice with water?
You should wash or rinse them twice by swirling the rice inside of cold water. Avoid over washing the rice, as it could lose the fluffiness and even vitamins. Wash them directly inside of your rice cooker pot and move the rice grains around. Then pour out the cloudy water. A fun tip: the cloudy water from rice is also a great source of nutrients and can be used to water your plants.
How much water needed for rice cooking (Ratio of water to rice)?
An important factor you need to pay attention to is how much water you will be adding to cook your rice. A general rule that you can follow is 2:1 ratio for any type of rice grain, which means add 2 cups of water for every cup of rice you are cooking. But it is all up to your taste and preference whether the rice turns out to be too soft or too hard. You can adjust and tweak the ratio of water as needed to your preference.
Cooking rice Asian’s finger method
A commonly known method amongst Asian households is the finger method or knuckle method of rice cooking. This way, you won’t even need to use cups to measure your rice nor your water. After rinsing your rice, shake down your rice so it is all leveled to the base of the rice cooker pot, then put your index finger straight down into the rice until your fingertip just manages to touch the top surface of the rice. Then add some water until it covers the first knuckle (first line on your index finger).
This method is widely used by Asians everywhere and it works well enough. But if you are into a more consistent result, and would like your resulted rice to be exactly the same every time you shouldn’t adopt this method and stick to the ratio method we previously mentioned.
How long it takes to cook rice?
How long it takes to cook your rice really depends on the type and how much rice you’re cooking. Usually, it takes about 15-25 minutes to cook your rice. For one cup of rice, it usually takes about 17 minutes to cook but for larger amounts, it usually takes longer.
Do you boil water before adding rice?
If you’re not fortunate enough to have a rice cooker, then you can just use your regular pot and stovetop to cook rice. One of the most common questions is that whether or not to boil the water first before adding the rice in. We recommend you to bring your water to a boil first, and then season with salt or butter if you want more flavorful rice. Reduce the heat and let the water simmer before you add in the rice. Close the lid, and check the consistency at 15 minutes time interval.
Which type of rice is the healthiest?
Rice is low in fat and commonly fortified with vitamins and minerals, which means it’s generally pretty healthy already. But the healthiest type of rice is brown rice.
Brown rice is whole grain rice that still contains a bran layer and the germ that have lots of nutrients such as antioxidants and fiber. This is what separates brown rice from your normal white rice. It allows you to feel full for longer, regulate blood sugar and insulin better.
Brown rice is only slightly healthier than white rice. I find it tough and don’t like the texture or taste. Not worth the tiny bit of healthier claim to me. Secondly, the knuckle method has been used for centuries. Not only by Asian countries but in many others. My great grandmother taught all of us. We are from Cuba where we eat rice everyday. It may not make sense but it works every time. I have a rice maker I never use.