Ditch everything you’ve ever been told about cooking rice. THIS is the only way to do it

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Image: Perfect rice

cookbookman17 / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr: cookbookman

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You’ve gone to all the effort of cooking a damn good curry just to screw up the rice. Again! It's either a soggy mush or burnt to the bottom of the pan. 


There is a way to ensure you get your rice right. Every time. The secret? Measure your rice by volume, not by weight. Here's your rice guide for life.

Getting it right

Must-have kit: a saucepan with a tight-fitting glass lid. To serve 4 people use

  • glug of oil
  • 275ml (10 fl oz) long-grain white rice
  • 570ml (1 pint) boiling water or stock 
  • a few pinches of salt


1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, then add the rice. Stir with a wooden spoon to coat the grains until glistening.


2. Add the boiling water and salt, stirring just once. Cover with a tight-fitting glass lid (this is very important). Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and leave it alone. DO NOT lift the lid off to see if it's done. That will ruin it.


3. After 15 minutes, look through the lid and tilt the pan to check there’s no liquid left. If there is, pop it back on the heat for another few minutes until all the liquid is gone.


4. Remove the pan from heat. Remove the lid. Cover the pan with a clean tea towel for 5-10 minutes (this helps to absorb the steam and stop the rice sticking together). Fluff lightly with a fork and serve. Job done!


Stupid habits that don’t help 

  • Washing – don't bother. It's a faff and rice from the supermarket is sqeaky clean anyway
  • Stirring the rice during cooking – leave it alone. Stirring releases the starch inside the rice making it all sticky
  • Lifting the lid – hands off! This prolongs the cooking time, so if you keep lifting the lid you won’t know when your rice is ready
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Image: Perfect, fluffy rice

Brian Child / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr: marinate_me_baby

Zesty lime and coriander rice


Additional flourishes

Once you’ve mastered the basics, take your rice to the next level.

  • Add a cinnamon stick, a bit of veg stock or pinch of saffron to the pan, after you've poured over the boiling water 
  • Melt a knob of herb butter over cooked rice while you fluff it up
  • Sprinkle grated lemon or lime zest and coriander over your rice before serving

 And remember – if all else fails, there’s always boil in the bag. 

What's your fail-safe way to cook rice? Share your top tips in the comments below ...