Cooking a pot of rice to perfection is not that difficult, but it’s also easy to get it wrong. Usually, the cooked rice is overdone, very hard, or too chewy. Let’s face it, no one wants to eat rice with an undesired crunchiness to it. I have dealt with this many times and can tell you exactly how to fix it.
To fix crunchy rice, put the undercooked rice in a cooking pot and pour in enough water. Cover the pot with its lid and let the rice cook for a few minutes and simmer. Peek in after a few minutes to check if the rice has absorbed the water. If it has, take the rice off the burner.
Keep reading to learn more about how to cook rice the correct way, tips and tricks to tackle improperly cooked rice, and also things you should do to prevent the “crunchy rice” situation.
Using the Microwave to Fix Undercooked Rice in 5 Steps
If you have a microwave, you can use it to fix your crunchy rice. Follow these 5 steps:
- Put the rice in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Take a couple of paper towels and wet them completely.
- Squeeze out close to 20% of the towels’ dampness (not to the point of drying them out).
- Cover the rice bowl with the wet paper towels and let them sit in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
- Once done, remove the rice bowl from the microwave and carefully take the wet paper towels off.
The rice should now be fluffy or not undercooked anymore.
If the rice is still not cooked enough, try it again – until the rice is sufficiently cooked. Since each microwaving session would not span more than a couple of minutes, you will not risk overcooking or burning the rice in a microwave.
Pro Tip: I highly recommend getting this type for all of your reheating needs. They don’t conduct heat like normal bowls and I find that they don’t burn my fingers after reheating food.
Avoiding Crunchy: The Basics of Cooking Rice
There are several reasons why your rice did not come out cooked well. Invariably, it all boils down to the basics, or not getting the fundamentals right. The following are some of the basic principles you must adhere to when cooking rice:
- Take proper measurements
Measure your rice using a dry cup and use a separate measuring cup for the water or broth. Do not assume different types of rice would need the same amount of liquid commensurate to their quantity. For instance, brown rice would require more water than white rice.
- Rinse and/or pre-soak the rice
Rinse the rice at least three times before cooking. Continue rinsing until the water is not cloudy anymore. Aromatic rice varieties such as jasmine and basmati need a solid pre-soak more than other types of rice. Proper pre-soaking helps reduce cooking time and also retains the rice’s aroma as much as possible. Excessive cooking, on the other hand, can kill the sweet rice smell.
- Leave the rice alone when it’s being cooked
Once the rice is in the pot and set to cook, do not touch the pot or prematurely lift the lid for a peek. Because each time you do so, you let out steam and decrease the temperature inside the pot. You may have to resort to regular peeking only when cooking undercooked rice so that the rice doesn’t become soggy or get burnt.
- Fluff the rice to prevent lumps
You can fiddle with the rice once it’s done cooking. In fact, it’s important you fork the rice out or give it a good jiggle so that there are no clumps of rice formed.
The Correct Water-to-Rice Ratio
If you have never cooked rice before or are not clear about the right water-to-rice ratio, the following guide should help:
- A cup or 200 grams (7 ounces) of short-grain rice requires approximately 1 ½ cup of water. One cup of water is 237ml or 8 fluid ounces.
- A cup of long-grain rice would need close to 1 ¾ cup of water.
- 200 grams of brown rice would need about two cups of water.
Tips to Prevent the “Crunchy Rice” Situation
Recooking undercooked rice might salvage things to an extent or ensure the rice doesn’t go to waste, but the recooked rice will probably not taste like what the rice would have tasted if it were cooked to perfection in the very first attempt. The following tips can help prevent the crunchy rice situation from occurring:
- Ensure the lid is tightly closed
If your rice pot’s lid doesn’t have a proper seal, steam would escape the pot instead of cooking the rice. Place a kitchen towel or any other piece of cloth between the lid and the pot so that the steam doesn’t escape. Also, make sure the cloth doesn’t come in contact with the burner.
- Do not cook rice at high temperatures
Never cook your rice at very high temperatures as the water will evaporate before the rice could get properly cooked. Also, high-temperature cooking could lead to unevenly cooked rice.
- Do not remove the lid right after the rice is cooked
As aforementioned, do not take the pot’s lid off during the cooking process as that could allow the steam to escape. Also important is to not take the lid off right after you take the rice pot off the stove. Allow the rice to cool a bit for a few minutes before taking a look at the cooked rice.
- Use a kitchen timer
If you are having a hard time keeping track of the cooking time or fear the rice might spend too much time on the stove, use a kitchen timer such as this one to keep a tab on things.
Is It Okay to Eat Crunchy Rice?
Consuming raw, undercooked, or crunchy rice may not lead to major health issues, but it’s recommended you refrain from eating rice that isn’t cooked as desired.
Undercooked rice carries bacteria spores, which could lead to food poisoning. The spores are not problematic by themselves. But when they are allowed to grow as bacteria, trouble sets in. This bacteria growth usually takes place when the rice (fully cooked or undercooked) is kept at room temperature.
Not all bacteria are harmful. Some bacteria strains battle with other forms of bacteria in your digestive system, functioning as probiotics and bringing down the number of potentially destructive bacteria – for instance, salmonella. However, other strains can be harmful. The strains primarily linked with rice are nausea- and vomit-inducing.
When rice is undercooked or not cooked, the Bacillus cereus strain makes cereulide, a toxin that could lead to nausea and vomiting within 24 hours of having consumed the rice. This induced food poisoning comes with an eight to 16-hour incubation period. After this, diarrhea and abdominal cramps may occur.
Ingesting undercooked rice that was thoroughly cleaned before being put into the rice cooker may not cause any stomach or digestion issues. Even then, it’s recommended you put the rice back into its vessel and cook it well prior to consumption.
If you’d like to know about other foods that you shouldn’t be consuming raw or underprepared, watch this SciShow video below.
Cooking a perfect bowl of rice needs patience. Rushing through the process would only make things worse and take you back to square one.
As aforementioned, you mustn’t meddle with rice while it’s being cooked. If that sounds like “wait time,” you can use the period for cooking an accompanying dish or getting other work done. You may also use the time to read a book or simply browse on your phone. Just make sure the timer for the rice is on while you’ve turned your attention to something else so that you don’t run the risk of overcooking the rice.
Thanks for reading!
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For more, don’t miss How to Store Rice and Beans Long Term: Tried and Tested Methods.
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