“Bread is the staff of life.”
Whoever said this definitely was not Asian. Okay, I stand corrected. Whoever said this must not have been Filipino.
Bread is not our staff of life, but rice is. It is the be all and end all of meals: breakfast, lunch, merienda cena (afternoon snack), dinner and everything else in between. And so, it is quintessential for a Filipino kitchen, wherever they are in the world, to have a rice cooker. Uh, and we do not have one.
No rice cooker at all? Yep, us and our start-up kitchen. So how do we cook our daily rice? Easy! The old fashioned way.
My family’s kitchen actually adopted the rice cooker into daily use fairly recently, so I grew up eating rice from a pot, whose mouth bubbled like a rabid dog whilst cooking. Sometimes we’d get perfectly moist rice and sometimes we’d get a lot of tutong (toasted rice). So the key is to be mindful of rice cooking. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cook rice without a rice cooker:
- Measure one cup of white jasmine rice and place inside pot. (See how we don’t have measuring cups? Use a normal cup or mug as a measuring tool.) Optional: I like to make things “healthier” by adding an equal amount of oatmeal and then mixing the two grains.
- Rinse the rice mixture at least 5x or until the water turns clear. We’ve always done this step as this is what my mama taught me. But I’ve learnt that the rinsing helps remove the starch in the rice, which keeps it from getting too mushy and sticky. Unless you like your rice with grains indistinguishable, ultra mushy and sticky?
- Then fill the pot with water. Use your God-given measuring stick: your finger lines, to measure the amount of water needed. How? Stick your hand into the pot and let your middle finger’s tips touch the surface of the rice. Then fill the pot with water until the water level reaches the first lines of your middle and ring fingers. And cover it with its lid.
- Turn on your burner to the second to the lowest heat setting. For example, if your burner knob is numbered (e.g. 1,2,3,5…), choose #2. Do not turn the knob to medium heat, unless you want to burn your rice like I did once (I learnt my lesson well!). And place the covered pot atop the burner.
- Now, here’s the hardest part: patience. I will not give a time frame on when the rice would be considered done because you do have to look into the pot every 3-5 minutes and stir it. Note that your pot MIGHT boil over and bubble like a rabid dog, as previously mentioned, especially if your pot does not have a steam vent (Luckily, these Ikea pots we bought, have one.). If that happens, just remove the pot lid and let the bubbles settle then return the lid back on.
- You will know that the rice is done once the grains are all translucent. Turn off the heat once done.
Let’s all rice! This easily saved us at least $15 for the cost of the rice cooker!
Have you tried cooking rice without the help of a rice cooker?
Delirious about delicious,