Rice is my favorite side dish  and very popular with the takeout gang who make a meal of it in a small white containers with a metal hanger.  I love rice, it’s good for you and being bland and flexible it can be made exciting in a million different ways.  With chicken and vegetables its a real meal.

I use and believe in rice cookers. Yes,  many do it the old way but I use enough rice to to let the cooker do the thinking and it has never failed me. I have a Sanyo M100S, a great size for my appetite and friends. Measure, one click perfection.  I give it five stars.

It's a very simple process and not even a rocket scientist could blow up the kitchen with this stepped approach to good rice.  Until the invention of instant rice we possibly were the last country on earth to make edible rice for consumption.  

When instant rice cooked, dehydrated and then re-hydrated it loses a lot of itself like flavor, taste, some starch, and good vitamins and proteins in the process. Good cooks reach a point where they learn to make good rice from scratch. 

But then I save the instant rice when I have none of the good cooked rice in the fridge as a filler for most canned soup to give it some body.  I just throw half a cup into the pot as it’s heating up. Tomato soup now becomes Tomato Rice soup. Broth  becomes chicken and rice.

Believe me,  I am now an expert in the creation of rice. It was a survival thingy. I made rice so bad I had to use it up and mix it as filler in Plaster of Paris when filling large holes. A professional painter and plasterer taught me that. Reinforces the plaster. I wondered why he kept a bag of rice on the truck. Today there is nothing better, but we use styrofoam peanuts.

Reading the following indicates most of the mistakes I made. These are only a few outcomes from my first expeditions into NON-INSTANT rice cooking. I found a lot of info and opinions on the web on how to cook rice. 

Seems I was not alone in my trials. One in particular addressed things they way I think. Somehow I have managed to complete the course and successfully cooked up (botched up) all of the possible outcomes.

Bottom Line - Preferred Method  —  I now own a medium rice cooker and have achieved a level of success with every batch and recommend the Sanyo M100S. I use a lot of rice, this device is foolproof, I make flavored rices, Sushi rice and Thai rice in it.  Nevertheless knowing how to make simple rice and water in a pot is a good idea if you travel or camp. I prefer Basmati rice but do use two other types 

Instead of water in the cooker,  I sometimes use Swanson’s Thai Chicken Broth, Another favorite is College Inn and Campbell’s has a similar product. My choice is really based on what store I’m in.  Publix has one brand, Winn Dixie carries the other.  No, I don’t have the time to make my own Thai stock so these helpers allow flexibility. If the Thai stock is too strong for you, these companies offer unflavored stocks on the same shelf and half the two.

Good Rice Is Water And Time  —  

  • If it looks like thick soup or waterlogged, under cooked, or under steamed.
  • If it looks like glue balls or clumps together, it is overcooked or over steamed. 
  • If you got soft mushy rice, you used too much water reduce water by ¼ cup at a time. 
  • If you got rice that’s hard, feed it to the birds or increase the start water by ¼ cup.
  • Pre-washing rice, especially long grain rice removes excess starch. A stainless or porcelain bowl works best, do not use a strainer/colander you will cut the rice.
  • For the Asia style short-grained sticky rice, popular such as for Thai, Japanese and Philippine  cooking, don't over rinse the rice before cooking.  The reason for sticky rice is that it is eaten customarily with the hands after making it into a ball and either dipped or used as a shovel for condiments and dips etc.  


2Nd Method - Rice In The Pressure Cooker  —  Using pressure-cooking for rice is a great idea, it is a lot faster and works. But this is for uncooked non-instant rice or you will be cleaning up cement you created in the pot and the hole in the ceiling. 

I took some advice from those on the web and learned what I had been doing wrong from one website in particular.  

“Basically", to steal Emeril LaGasse’s favorite word, may I recommend you read and take heed from a great website the queen of pressure cookers.  

The pressure cooker seems like a good idea. I had the tools, I had the Presto 6 qt. aluminum pressure cooker. It was a gift and cost about $33.00, not that expensive.  

Stainless steel ones average twice the cost easily and fancies can go in the 100-200 dollar range based on capacity and features.  

I had the water, I had the rice, I had paid the electric bill, the stainless insert, I had the hunger and a victim guest. You'll get perfect results when using miss Vickis sytem, she calls it "The Pan In Pot Method", others have used this method, I saw it on other sites, and it works. If I start to do rice more often and other dishes, pressure cooking saves the nutrients, I'll get a fancy one and just use this one combo for rice. 

Tools  —  

1 Pressure Cooker
1 Tray insert – comes with cookers
1 Stainless steel bowl that fits in pressure cooker on top of tray.
2 long kitchen tongs to remove stainless bowl 

Ingredients —  (Make Yellow Rice)
1 cup long grain white rice (Basmati, or Jasmine, etc.)
1-1/2 cups water or I used chicken broth, it already has salt
Peppers, and green onions, (scallions) to taste. Pinch of Paprika for color.
1 Tablespoon butter or oil prevents foaming.

Process  —  

Place rack in bottom of pressure cooker and pour in 1/2-cup water. 
Add 1 level cup rice and 1-1/2 cups water or broth in a stainless steel bowl. 
Place the bowl in the pressure cooker.  
Lock the lid in place and bring to 15psi, the top indicator will jiggle. 
Reduce the heat to the lowest setting that will just maintain that pressure. Cook 4 minutes.Remove from heat and let the pressure drop naturally. Open the lid and remove the bowl from the cooker, and fluff rice with a fork before serving. For Sushi flavoring, take some Rice vinegar and fluff the rice with a fork so as not to bruise the rice while springing the vinegar on it.

Part Two - Add-Ons And Fried Rice  —  

For additional flavor, flexibility and aroma, substitute a tasty flavoring liquid like themed or scented chicken broth for the water in the cooker.  Add seasonings like soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, cilantro, onions, and salt and pepper. Herbs such as thyme or dill can be added to compliment other foods as well.  

For Yellow Spanish rice I have used chicken broth, paprika, added couple drops yellow food coloring, scallions, salt pepper and a very small minced jalapeño, and minced (fine red pepper) and made spicy yellow rice.  Do not cover the inner bowl with tin foil. The inner bowl should not exceed the ½ way mark of the cooker.

Kick It Up A Notch  —  

1. Get a good wok nice and hot,  I have two, an indoor medium, electric, thats OK at 500 degrees I know it should be gas but not allowed in my condo,  and then a large size when we go outdoors on a propane blaster, a 14-inch wok is about right and use small, say for two person portions.  But the outdoor one works on my induction Burton and goes nuclear if needed.   I use a mix of olive and canola oil, a good combo for the ticker. When the oil shimmers and is stable I add that trinity of garlic, colorful green, yellow, and orange peppers, white or green onions and small diced carrots and only the Lord of Food God knows what else.

2. Add the theme of the dish chicken, ham, pork pieces, almost any cooked meat, and cook it till it browns slightly.

3. Make room by pushing the cooked ingredients up the side of the wok. Take a couple two eggs, break the yolk, beat ever so little, just to mix, till they begin to set. Cook until they are almost done.

4.  Add the rice, stirring and tossing between each addition. I use a silicon spatula to break up any clumping. Stir fry means keep it moving swiftly around the wok until the rice is  turns brown. 

5. Add a few tablespoons of your chosen sauce, soy, teriyaki, fish, chili paste, etc, and season to taste. One of the biggest sections in our supermarkets here is for condiments and the international selection is well diversified. Hit your local supermarket and take advantage of the different cultures that we have at our doorstep.

Rice Nomenclature  —

Long-grain - The most commonly used type in the US, its slender grains are four to five times longer than they are wide. If properly cooked, they will be fluffy and dry, with separate grains. (If cooked right).

Medium-grain - rice is about twice as long as it is wide and cooks up moister and more tender than long-grain. It is popular in some Asian and Latin American cultures, and is the type of rice most commonly processed to make cold cereals. Also packaged as "California rice".

Short-grain - Also called Oriental, Japanese, sushi, and pudding rice, short-grain rice may be almost oval or round in shape. It has the attributes for oriental cooking and serving. Of the three types of rice, it has the highest percentage starch that makes rice sticky, or clump together, when cooked. Easy to eat with chopsticks, it is ideal for dishes like sushi

Types Of Rice (Source Country Or Derivation) 

•  Basmati is the most famous aromatic rice, is grown in India and Pakistan. It has a nutlike fragrance while cooking and a delicate aroma.  It is sometimes called "popcorn" rice for it's buttery aroma. Unlike other types of rice, the grains elongate much more than they plump as they cook. Lower in starch than other long-grain types, basmati turns out flaky and separate. Although it is most commonly used in Indian cooking, basmati can also be substituted for regular rice in any favorite recipe. It is fairly expensive compared to domestic rice.

•  Glutinous rice (aka sweet rice or sticky rice) is a short grain rice popular in Japan and other Asian countries, this type of short-grain rice is not related to other short-grain rices. Unlike regular table rice, this starchy grain is very sticky and resilient, and turns translucent when cooked. Its cohesive quality makes it suitable for rice dumplings and cakes, such as the Japanese mochi, which is molded into a shape. Sticky rice is for hand dipped dishes as explained before.

•  Jasmine -  is a traditional long-grain white rice grown in Thailand. It has a soft texture and is similar in flavor to Basmati rice. Jasmine rice is also grown in the United States, and is available in both white or brown forms.

•  Sticky rice - has a unique texture and flavor. It is used in many Japanese and Thai dishes. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to find. There are ways to cook regular, non-sticky rice so that it becomes somewhat stickier. This article will give you a few tips on how to cook regular, non-sticky rice so it becomes more sticky.  

Most asian markets and  Amazon carry 15 lb. bags of a great rich rice NISHIKI for Sushi and I use it for regular cooking too   adding Mirin, Sugar, Salt and Rice Vinegar.  It is a medium grain rice. Long grain fall apart in Sushi.  Rice is a critical part of Oriental cooking and once you have it down pat you open many doors.

Bottom Line:  I have made rice it seems 20 different ways AND I SWEAR BY MY SANYO RICE COOKER AND NISHIKI RICE PERIOD ! 

Sushi Basics  — 

Preparing Sushi Rice (Shari or Sushi Meshi).

  • Rice cooked for sushi should be slightly harder in texture than for other dishes. 
  • You will need approximately one cup of cooked rice for each roll. 
  • It is easier and better to make too much rice than too little. 
  • Every recipe for sushi rice is different, but they all work. You might find a recipe on the bottle of rice vinegar, on the bag of rice, or on the package of nori.

RICE —  Most recipes call for rinsing the raw rice until the water runs clear, but I often neglect this. The reason it is rinsed first is to remove talc from the rice. Most rice seems to be coated now with some sort of cereal starch, rather than talc, so rinsing could be omitted. They also suggest letting the rinsed rice drain in a colander, or zaru, for 30-60 minutes. It’s up to you. Just promise me one thing — that you will not use instant rice, converted rice, or brown rice. The rice you use should be short-grained rice, from a reputable brand.

A fairly consistent recipe is to use equal amounts of rice and water, which will make the same number of cups of rice as the total of the rice and water. Another book mentions adding water until it is one inch above the rice, but I would go with the one-to-one ratio. The rice and water are brought to a quick boil, boiled for 1 minute, covered, simmered for 20 minutes, and let stand for 10 minutes after removing from the heat. It is optional to add a piece of kombu (seaweed – from the genus Laminaria, or kelp) to the water and rice while it is brought to a boil, then removed. Another option is to add a few drops of sake or mirin to the water, but it will make little difference when the vinegar is added afterward.

Put the hot rice in a large bowl and pour sushi vinegar evenly over the surface of the rice, mixing it into the rice with quick cutting strokes. You should use one tablespoon of vinegar per cup of rice. Fan the rice at the same time to cool the rice quickly. What I often do is pour the vinegar into the pan and stir it in, then spread the rice out on aluminum foil on a cookie sheet to cool. If you are keeping track of the terminology, a hangiri, handai, or sushi oke is a rice cooling tub, and a uchiwa is a rice cooling fan.

Sushi Vinegar

If you cannot find sushi vinegar, you can make your own.

  • To make sushi vinegar, combine 1/3 cup white vinegar, 
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt in a small saucepan. 
  • Bring to a boil, stir to dissolve everything, and remove from heat.

Pickled Ginger (Gari or Shoga)

In a sushi bar, you will be given a small heap of pickled ginger as well as a small glob of wasabi. The purpose of the wasabi is to mix with soy sauce in the small dish that included with your place setting. (Start with small amounts of the wasabi, mix it with the soy sauce, and sample. Repeat until it tastes more like the wasabi than the soy sauce, or until it tastes “right” to you.) The ginger is used to cleanse the palate between bites of sushi. It does not take a lot of the ginger to cleanse the palate, so the small pile should be enough for several rolls. If you consume all of either, by all means ask the sushi chef for more.

People have asked if the ginger root in grocery stores is the same ginger that is pickled for sushi. It is, and up until now I have recommended that you buy it in jars at Asian markets. I recently found a recipe for making your own pickled ginger, and will share that with you.

  • 8 oz. (250 g) ginger root
  • 3 fl oz (90 ml) rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons mirin *
  • 2 Tablespoons sake **
  • 5 teaspoons sugar

  • Mirin is a very sweet rice wine used only for cooking. You can substitute a teaspoon of sugar for a Tablespoon of mirin, or an equal amount of sake.
  • Sake is a rice wine that often accompanies sushi. Dry sherry is a potential but inferior substitute.
  • Scrub the ginger under running water as you would a potato for baking. Blanch in boiling water for one minute and drain.
  • Combine mirin, sake, and sugar in a small pan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cool.
  • Place the ginger into a sterilized jar and pour the cooled vinegar over the ginger. Cover and keep 3-4 days before using. Will keep refrigerated for up to one month.

The pale pink color develops as it ages, however, you might want to add a small amount of red food coloring.

Japanese Mayonnaise (Tamago- no-moto)

I usually find it easiest to buy Japanese mayonnaise, from either an Asian market or from a supermarket. It normally comes in a convenient plastic squeeze bottle. Several people have asked about a recipe for this mayonnaise, and I recently found the following one.

3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1-1/2 oz (50 g) white miso *
1 cup salad oil
salt to taste
sprinkle of white pepper
a pinch of grated yuzu**, lime, or lemon peel

* miso is salty paste of fermented soy beans. It is available in Asian markets and some health food stores. White miso is used for soups and dressings.

** yuzu is a Japanese orange used only for its rind. Kaffir lime used in Thai or Malaysian food is an alternative, as is lemon or lime rind.

Beat the egg yolks and lemon juice with a wooden spoon in a bowl. Continue to beat, adding the salad oil a few drops at a time until the mixture begins to emulsify. Keep on adding the rest of the oil, then stir in the miso and the seasonings.

Refrigerate in a squeeze bottle.

Hints and Tips

  • The number one hint or tip is this: rolling sushi is a self-correcting process. If your first roll does not turn out quite right, eat it to hide the evidence and roll another, which will be much better. If it has been a while since you made a roll, the first one may leave something to be desired, but it will all come back to you, like riding a bicycle or playing a piano (if you knew how to do those activities in the first place). 

Rice doesn’t stick to nori, or roll does not stick together when rolled.  —  

  • You most likely did not use enough vinegar in your rice. The rice should be very sticky, annoyingly so.Roll is too thick, or does not hold together well.You probably used too much rice, or packed it down too tightly. 
  • The rice should be spread on the nori to within about 5/8-inch of what will be the outer edge, should not be squished onto the nori, and should not cover the nori completely. You should be able to see nori between the rice kernals, perhaps 1/4 to 1/3 of the space should be open to the nori below the rice.
  • Cucumber can be cut into larger chunks which are easier to work with. Try quartering the cuke lengthwise, removing the seeds, then cutting the flesh into a few large pieces about 1/4-inch thick by 3/8- inch wide. The length of the pieces should be half the width of the nori.
  • The thick-skinned black avocadoes are easier to work with. Cut in half and remove the pit. Then cut each half into half again. Using a paring knife, slice the avocado in the peel, then run the knife just under the peel to cut the slices from the peel. It is easier and faster than peeling the avocado and then slicing it.
  • Place a square of plastic wrap on between the nori and the bamboo mat when making rolls. This will keep the rice and messy ingredients out of the mat and make it last longer. (Washing a bamboo mat is NOT recommended, it warps when it dries.) Peel the plastic wrap back with the mat as you roll. When you are finished, wrap the roll in the plastic wrap and put the roll in the refrigerator. When you are finished making several rolls and are ready to serve them, unwrap them and slice them.
  • Important Tip: Keep  the knife very moist to prevent sticking, remoistening before each cut. First cut the roll in half, then fold the two halves together and cut into thirds (6 pieces) or quarters (8 pieces). Sushi bars usually serve the roll sliced into 6 pieces, but 8 is easier. Turn the pieces on end and arrange on platter.

Tip: Sometimes, if the end pieces are quite uneven, the ends are cut off at the one-third point and stood on end. Then, the other section is cut in half at a slight angle. All pieces will then look more alike when stood on end.

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