A chef explained to us how to properly cook rice, including the different cooking techniques for basmati versus pilaf.

It’s very likely that at some point in your life you’ve asked Google “how to cook rice”. The simple dish can easily go wrong. Add too much water and you end up with porridge, but if cooked too long the rice will burn.

Luckily, Chef Peter Sidwell of CookServeEnjoy has shared his top tips for making fluffy rice every time – and how there’s only one variety of rice that needs to be boiled.

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The ratios are based on the following measurements: one UK cup = 225g or 250ml.

How to cook basmati rice

According to the Express, Peter said: “Basmati is an aromatic long-grain rice that is often used in Indian cooking. It’s light and fragrant, making it the perfect companion to casseroles to soak up those incredible flavors.”

1. Use the correct ratio – The correct rice to water ratio for basmati is 1:1½. So if you’re cooking enough for two people, use 1 cup (225g) of rice to 1½ cups (375ml) of water.

2. Use the absorption method – This involves adding water and rice to a pot and simmering over low heat until the rice absorbs all the liquid.

3. Use a pan lid – A tight-fitting lid helps keep all the heat and steam inside the pan, cooking grains evenly and efficiently.

4. Simmer for 12-15 minutes – Smaller portions will be ready in 12 minutes, but if cooking for guests it can take up to 15 minutes.

5. Don’t Lift the Lid – Don’t be tempted to peek and lift the lid, the steam needs to stay trapped inside to work its magic.

6. Let stand 10 minutes – Remove pan from heat and let stand 10 minutes with the lid on.

How to Cook Brown Rice

Peter explained, “Brown rice is a whole grain. It’s whole because it contains both the bran and the germ of the grain, and those extra parts make it tougher and fluffier than white rice.

Use the right ratio – For every cup (225g) of brown rice you cook, use eight cups (2 liters) of water. Brown rice needs a little more water to soften than other types of rice.

Try the boiling method – Brown rice can be cooked using the absorption method, but some prefer the boiling method. This involves boiling the grains in a pot of water until cooked, then draining them. Think of it like boiled pasta.

Leave the pan uncovered – If using the boiling method, skip the lid of the pan and leave it uncovered while boiling.

Boil for 30 minutes – Keep the temperature constant so the pan doesn’t boil over and refill with more water if it seems to be getting low.

Strain the grains through a sieve – Once the grains are cooked, drain the pan using a colander or fine-mesh sieve.

Let stand 10 minutes – After draining, return the grains to the now empty pan, cover with a lid and let stand before serving.

How to Cook Jasmine Rice

Peter said, “A favorite pairing for many East Asian dishes, jasmine rice is a long-grain white rice. Often mistaken for plain white rice, you can spot (or smell!) jasmine by its aroma.

1. Use the right ratio – Use a 1:1¼ rice to water ratio: 1 cup (225g) rice to 1¼ cups (312ml) water for two people.

2. Use the absorption method – Simmer the jasmine rice over low heat with the lid on so the grains can absorb the water.

3. Use a pan lid – To keep all the heat and steam inside the pan.

4. Simmer for 12 minutes – Jasmine rice is naturally sweeter than other types of rice, so you won’t need to cook it as long as other types of rice.

5. Don’t lift the lid – Keep all the heat and steam inside the pan to help cook the rice.

6. Let stand 10 minutes – Let stand with lid on and heat for 10 minutes.

How to cook rice pilaf

Peter said, “Pilaf is a simple rice dish with a bright yellow color; the distinct golden hue comes from natural spices that enrich the beans with a sweet, savory taste.”

1. Choose your herbs 一 Pilau rice is prepared by cooking basmati rice with a selection of herbs. Every chef has their preferences, but onion, cumin seeds, cardamom pods, cloves, turmeric, and bay leaves are common choices.

2. Use the right ratio 一 Use a 1:2 rice to water ratio when making basmati for rice pilaf. One cup of rice (225g) for two cups of water (500ml).

3. Fry the aromatics first 一 Always start by frying your aromatics in butter, oil or ghee before incorporating your basmati grains and boiling water.

4. Cover with a lid一Use a lid and the absorption method to cook the rice for 10-15 minutes over low heat or until the water has been absorbed.

5. Rest for five minutes 一 Let the pan rest for five minutes off the heat, with the lid on.

How to cook sticky rice

Peter continued: “Glutinous rice is also known as ‘Thai sticky’, ‘glutinous’ or ‘sweet’ rice. And as you can probably guess, it has a sticky, glue-like texture when cooked. This makes it a dream to mix into dumplings and latch onto the flavors of many sweet and savory dishes. »

1. Soak grains before cooking 一 Glutinous rice grains should be soaked overnight or up to 24 hours before cooking. This helps soften the outer husk of the bean, giving it a tender but distinctly chewy texture.

2. Use the right ratio – Use a 1:1¾ rice to water ratio with 1 cup (225g) of rice and 1¾ cups (437ml) of water.

3. Try the absorption method, but leave the pan lid tilted – To cook sticky rice, place the lid on the pan at an angle so that the pan is partially covered. The steam must be able to escape through the small space.

4. Simmer for 10 minutes – Keep the temperature low until all the water has been absorbed.

5. Let sit for 10 minutes – Put the lid flat so that it completely covers the pan and let sit for 10 minutes.

Regarding the shelf life of rice after preparing it, Peter says: “Safely cooked and cooled rice should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Any longer and potential bacteria growth may pose a health risk – even if it has been refrigerated.

For anyone looking to reheat rice, Peter says, “It’s not dangerous to reheat rice: it just needs to be cooled down quickly after cooking. When reheating, be sure to spread the rice; do not try to heat it in large piles.

“You want it to be on a plate and in as thin a layer as possible. This way it can be heated quickly and efficiently.

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