HOW MANY CUPS OF RICE PER PERSON
In many countries, rice is a staple food. In some cultures it is served with every meal and in others it may be the only dish served at a specific occasion. It’s estimated that globally, more than 400 million metric tons of rice are produced each year. Rice is usually grown using flooded paddies or terraced fields to increase productivity per acre and for easy harvesting.
A common question is how many cups of rice per person. Well, that depends on the country and the dish being prepared. In Japan, for example, it is typically a small bowl or cup of rice with each meal. In Thailand, one would expect to eat more than in Japan because as an accompaniment to dishes like curries and stir fry. The same goes for Indonesia or Vietnam where rice is often served alongside meat dishes.
There are a variety of factors to keep in mind when deciding how much rice you need per meal. The norm is ½ cup uncooked (90g) for every person, but some people prefer 1/3 cup (60g). Rice doubles once cooked so it is one cup per person.
If you want to use rice as a side dish, 1/2 cup of cooked rice will be enough for one person. For main dishes – the average serving size is about one cup and it should work just right!
RICE COOKING TIPS AND TRICKS TO ENSURE YOU COOK PERFECT RICE EACH TIME
Whether it’s for an elegant dinner party or Sunday lunch with the family, cooking rice can be tricky because in the wrong hands it can quickly turn from fluffy to gluggy. However, there are lots of ways to easily avoid a sticky situation and make sure your rice is always perfect! Here are some top tips for how to cook perfect rice every time.
1. Choosing The Right Rice
A good place to start when learning how to cook perfect rice is by choosing which variety you’re going to use. There are many different types available and their applications vary so it’s best not try cooking them all at once! For example, if you’re making sushi rice then look out for ‘sushi rice’ on the packet or label; similarly, if you’re making risotto then use Arborio.
Other varieties include long-grain, short-grain and brown but for everyday cooking we recommend using a simple white variety.
2. Washing Your Rice
Many purists insist that washing rice before cooking removes the starch and therefore enhances its flavor, texture and appearance – so if you want to impress your dinner guests with perfectly cooked rice (and who doesn’t!) then wash it thoroughly before cooking.
The easiest way to do this is in a sieve under running water. Leave to drain well before putting into your pan as any excess water will dilute the flavor of the dish being prepared and result in softer, less fluffy rice.
3. Adding The Right Amount Of Water
When learning how to cook perfect rice, it’s just as important to consider the quantity of water that you add to your pan in order to achieve a great result. The quantity required varies depending on the variety of rice you are using and what you wish to do with it – for example, long-grain varieties will absorb more water when cooking than short-grain types so bear this in mind if you’re looking for a firmer end result.
As a rule of thumb, try not to fill your pan right up; instead keep at least 1cm between the surface of water and the top lip of the pan so that all the grains have room to expand during cooking.
4. Cooking Your Rice To Perfection
There are two ways to cook perfect rice: in a pan on the hob or using a rice cooker. We recommend using a pan for white and risotto rice as it’s simple, quick and easy – just follow these few steps:
Step 1: Fill your saucepan with plenty of water (see above) and bring to the boil over high heat. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low–medium so that the water is gently bubbling away. Don’t let the heat be too high or else you’ll end up with hard, gluggy grains rather than fluffy ones! You can also add salt at this point but don’t stir it through yet; just leave it on the base of your pan.
Step 2: While you’re waiting for the water to boil, measure out your rice – depending on what variety it is, use between 250g and 300g for 4 servings. Once measured, tip the rice straight into the boiling water. Leave to cook gently as per instructions below:
- White Rice 5–10 mins until almost cooked through then remove from heat & drain well.
- Risotto Rice 10-15 mins until tender but with a tiny core still visible Then stir in any leftover liquid at this point if desired.
- Brown and Wild Rice 15–20 mins until firm but tender & flake easily.
If not using immediately then cover with a clean tea towel or lid while resting so that the rice absorbs any extra liquid
If you’re using a rice cooker, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions to cook perfect rice. Using this method will produce fluffy, one-pot meals that are effortless to prepare and can be cooked all in one go before serving; they also tend to taste better because the grains retain their heat for longer during cooking.
If you prefer your rice softer then add more water and check it earlier by removing from heat once there is no visible steam coming off of it. Even with these added precautions make sure to lift the lid away from yourself when peeking inside!
5. Serving Perfectly Cooked Rice
The last thing you want when learning how to cook perfect rice is a pile that goes hard and dry within seconds just as you’re about to serve it. The best way to avoid this is by serving immediately, so try making your rice first thing in the morning if possible in order for it to be ready on time. Another option is to reheat in a microwave with a splash of water – this will help keep some moisture within the grains.
Making perfect rice can seem like quite a challenge at first but having mastered how to cook fluffy rice will make a massive difference to nearly every meal you make! We recommend using Arborio or Carnaroli varieties for use in risotto dishes while Basmati and Jasmine are great bases for flavoured rice dishes such as curries or pilafs.
BROWN OR WHITE RICE
Brown rice has long been promoted as a health food because it’s supposed to be less starchy than its more familiar white counterpart and therefore better for you. But that’s only part of the story. In fact both brown and white rice are good sources of carbohydrate energy whatever colour they are.
They also contain similar amounts of protein – between 4-8% depending on the variety – so neither will leave you lacking energy or short of other nutrients such as essential amino acids and iron (both found in plant foods) if eaten a few times per week. So, if these similarities don’t make one type healthier than the other then what does?
It’s true that white rice is high on the glycaemic index (GI), a measure of how quickly carbohydrate foods make blood sugar levels rise after eating them. This means it’s easy to overeat this starchy food, which may have contributed to the link between higher consumption and obesity.
Brown rice also contains some starch, but less than its paler counterpart: it has almost twice as much fibre in fact. Fibre not only helps with digestion and reduces the absorption of fat from our food but also makes us feel fuller sooner so we are less likely to overeat. But most varieties of brown rice on sale are still highly polished – meaning they’ve had their outer layers removed – leaving only half the original fibre content.
Although brown rice has more fibre than white, both forms have roughly the same amount of carbohydrate energy which is released into the bloodstream and used by our bodies as fuel (see table below). So if you’re concerned about losing weight try swapping processed foods laden with sugar and fat for rice – either type will do.
If also going through menopause or perimenopause, a diet high in healthy carbohydrates such as brown rice may help to control your blood sugar levels. This could reduce symptoms associated with sudden fluctuations in hormone levels, including anxiety, depression, irritability and difficulty concentrating.
So for a good source of energy follow this simple rule: swap white for brown when it comes to rice. You could have brown instead of white four days a week and white on two, or vice versa for a different mix.
Both types also have similar amounts of protein, fat and iron too, so it’s very difficult to tell which is ‘better’ for you in terms of these nutrients, especially as they are consumed together with other foods you eat on the same day. Still, brown rice does contain more vitamins than its paler counterpart such as thiamine and vitamin B6 – although at a level that is unlikely to make much difference in terms of our overall nutrient status.
It’s also less likely to have been contaminated with the heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead, found at higher levels in some white rice varieties than others – but neither rice type is free of these potentially harmful contaminants so be sure you’re eating organic.
So if you do decide to swap your usual white for brown keep the following points in mind:
Brown rice still contains some carbohydrate energy (it’s made up of around 50% starch) and will affect blood sugar levels slightly more slowly than white – although both forms are high GI foods.
Brown rice has a bigger effect on reducing LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels than its paler counterpart.
Brown rice is higher in vitamins than white but not significantly so. Yet as we get older and have less energy to eat a range of foods this extra vitamin boost may well be beneficial for overall health.
If you can’t decide which type of rice to choose, both are healthy carbohydrate choices (if eaten in moderation). So, if the differences between them don’t make one healthier than the other, will eating different types help? Find out more about what happens when you swap your usual white for brown.
You can also find out how much of each food group we should be eating every day and discover the benefits of whole grains by reading our latest blogpost All grains aren’t equal: why whole grains are best.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF RICE
Different types of rice are available at your local grocery store or specialty markets. Rice can be categorized by the type of grain, such as long-grain white rice or short-grain brown rice; the shape and size of the grains, such as round jasmine rice; or whether it is a whole grain, like brown basmati. It’s important to know which type you’re using so that you can cook it correctly. Read on for more information about different types of rice!
1. White Rice
White rice is the most complete form of rice. It is enriched with vitamins, minerals and trace elements that our body lacks. it helps to for digestion and protect from diseases.
The nutrients are lost in brown or purple rice through preparation method. White rice is very easy to digest so it does not require long process of filtrating as other cereals do.
White rice is a dried, milled rice that has had the bran removed and germ. It can be easily digested as it still retains nearly all of its nutritive value. White rice is available in both short‐grain and long‐grain varieties.
- Short-grain rice (like Calrose, Arborio, or Sticky) tends to be stickier and have a higher amylose content, making it more suitable for risotto, rice pudding, and other recipes that require a high amount of cream or milk.
- Long-grain is better suited to long-cooking methods such as paella, rice pilafs, jambalaya, etc., where the individual grains become tender and fluffy.
White rice is one of the most grown food crops in India.
Fresh rice should be stored for at least six months before it is milled to remove the outer husk, broken kernels, and sometimes a thin layer of bran; this process is known as milling or polishing, which whitens the rice. Milling can also increase the shelf life of rice after harvest.
By removing the outer layers, exposing the inner parts of the grain to oxygen makes it possible for free radicals in oxygen (molecules with unpaired electrons) to attack and break down nutrients from within, which otherwise may have been protected by a hard coating. So that when rice is ground into flour for making bread, it becomes rancid quickly. By polishing the rice, the grain effectively has a longer shelf life.
2. Glutinous Rice (Sticky Rice)
Another very important variety for Thais is kao neow or glutinous (sticky) rice. The grains can be steamed or boiled and used with savoury dishes, but sticky rice is most commonly eaten with desserts.
When cooked, glutinous rice becomes very soft to the point that it can be stuck together easily into a ball when mounded between two hands. Sticky rice is also often used in sweet snacks such as khanom sai, because the grains will stick together so well.
3. Brown Rice
Brown rice is a kind of in-between types, since the grains are small and long like jasmine rice but still a bit sticky when cooked.
It can be used by itself for savoury dishes or desserts. This variety can sometimes be hard to find. Unlike some other countries in Asia such as Japan where brown rice is getting very popular, it’s not so common in Thailand.
In the US or Europe, stickier varieties of rice are usually available in health food stores. They can be used interchangeably with glutinous grain in Thai recipes. These types of brown and black rice have a bit more flavour and a chewier texture than regular jasmine rice.
That’s why it’s not as popular in Thailand where we often choose the kind that remains separate when cooked and looks like individual grains on your plate, rather than sticky clumps!
4. Basmati Rice
Basmati rice is the most popular kind of rice in the west. It’s very fragrant and cooks up light with separate grains that remain intact, which makes it perfect for pilafs or whenever you want your dish to look a bit fancy!
It is also slightly more nutritious than Asian varieties of rice because it contains less fat, but if you cook Thai dishes with it, they will not taste like Thai food at all since basmati has a much stronger flavor and texture.
Sometimes if my kids don’t finish their bowl of jasmine rice, I’ll mix in some basmati just so they eat more (you could also do this by mixing brown rice into white). One of my favorite things to do when cooking fried rice is to use half brown rice and half jasmine for the best of both worlds!
5. Black Rice
This variety looks like regular jasmine rice but has a strong black colour once cooked. The grains are small with a chewier texture than white rice. Black rice is considered to be an “ancient” type because it was first documented as being grown by southern people who were the earliest inhabitants of what is now known as Thailand. It’s one of the most nutritious kinds due to its dark pigmentation which contains powerful antioxidants.
When cooked black rice turns from grey to purple with a sweet taste and an almost wine-like fragrance. You can use black rice in place of jasmine or sticky white by just adding extra water since it will absorb so much of it.
The best way to cook black rice is to use brown instead of regular water because then you won’t lose its special fragrance. This type of rice is very nutritious because it contains much more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than regular white rice.
6. Black Glutinous Rice
Black glutinous rice can be used interchangeably with white glutinous rice. It has a very fragrant aroma and I think it tastes great! Black glutinous rice is not as easily found as the other colors.
Black rice comes in two main kinds: big black grains which are used for making desserts , and small round grains which can be used interchangeably with jasmine or glutinous white types of rice (with a bit less water to make sure they don’t cook right down).
Black sticky rice looks like brown sticky rice when cooked but has a stronger smell and slightly different taste. When you get a chance try using 2 parts black sticky to 1-part white sticky to make delicious fried rice!
7. Sushi Rice
This type of rice is short-grain and it’s used to make Japanese sushi. It can also be used when cooking many Thai dishes, like red or green curry. Sushi rice cooks up sticky so naturally when making sushi you don’t need to add any extra ingredients just like with the other kinds mentioned above.
Sushi rice contains more sugar than regular jasmine rice which means that once cooked the grains do not turn translucent as much nor do they go soft. It’s very similar to jasmine white but doesn’t have as much fragrance.
On a final note, whether you use white, brown or basmati – the kind of rice doesn’t really matter so much as long as it’s sticky or glutinous (in that case using extra water might be needed to make sure it cooks). Also don’t worry about which variety is “better.” All types can be used interchangeably with a few exceptions.