Basic Recipe: Rice Simplified

Cooking rice is easy once you understand he basics.

Cooking rice is easy once you understand the basics.

Rice is to a cook’s entrée as whitewash is to an artist’s canvas. They are  the base waiting to be filled with delicious ingredients  or vibrant colors. When  you understand how much water and time is needed for each type and variety of rice, cooking perfect rice will be a snap. Then you can add your favorite spices, sauces, veggies and meats to create a delicious meal without using a recipe. Read more about rice and a recipe by Lisa Dixon.

To cook perfect rice it is important to understand how rice is processed  and about the different varieties. Here are the processing steps:

  1. First, rice is harvested from paddies, cleaned and the outside hull is removed.
  2. Now it is called brown rice and contains the nutrient-rich germ and bran. It can be packaged and sold.
  3. Or, it can be made into white rice by milling it to remove the bran and germ. Nutrients are  usually added. It can be packaged and sold as “enriched white rice.”
  4. Whole grain, parboiled and white rice can be precooked and packaged as “instant rice” for home use.
  5. For more information visit the US Rice Federation web site

Knowing this is important because each time it goes through a process, the resulting rice requires less water and less time to cook in your kitchen. How much more water and time? It depends on the variety of rice. (See figure 1)

(fig 1) Taken from our soon-to-be-published cooking guide "$10 Meals or a Family of Six."

(fig 1) Taken from our soon-to-be-published cooking guide “$10 Meals or a Family of Six.”



How much water and time? You will learn what works best for you by experimenting. Each of these varieties cooks differently.



Our suggestion is to start with these general guidelines:

  • Choose a variety of rice and use it several times until it comes out as you want it.
  • Brown rice: 1 part rice, 2 parts water, 35-50 minute simmer
  • White rice: 1 part rice, 1 1/2 parts water,  25-25 minute simmer
  • Rinse rice and drain.
  • Place rice and cold water in a pot. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until cooked.
  • Remove from heat and let it rest for 10 min.
  • Make a journal or recipe file to record what variety, how much rice and water, and how long to boil, simmer, and set.

If you prefer, use the following generic recipe as a start or try the second recipe by Lisa Dixon as an example of modifying the basic recipe.


Basic Rice: cooking jasmine
Yields 3
A simple way to cook rice.
Write a review
  1. 2 C jasmine rice (or other long or medium grain enriched white rice)
  2. 3 C cold water
  1. Place rice in a 5- 6 qt pot. Remove visible foreign particles. Add water and swish the rice around with your hand. Drain water using a sieve. Repeat until water is clear.
  2. Place drained rice and fresh cold water into the pot.
  3. Bring the water to a rolling boil, uncovered, over high heat.
  4. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a tight lid.
  5. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the covered pan from the heat and let stand 10 minutes.
  7. Fluff with a fork and serve.
  8. Read more at:
  1. Rinsing removes the excess starch. If you want sticky rice, do not rinse the rice.
Family Meals Project


Brown Rice with Onions and Peppers
Serves 8
Hearty and fragrant
Write a review
  1. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1 green or red sweet bell pepper, seeded and minced
  5. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 2 teaspoons cumin
  7. 2 cups long grain brown rice
  8. 4 cups water
  9. 2 cups frozen corn (optional)
  1. Begin by toasting the rice. Rinse the rice well and strain. Heat a 3-quart heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, until rice is fragrant. Pour the rice into a large bowl and reserve.
  2. Return the stock pot to medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 5 – 10 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add the pepper, garlic, sea salt, and cumin and saute until all the vegetables are softened and very fragrant.
  3. Add the rice to the vegetables, stirring to coat with oil. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking for about 50 minutes without lifting the lid. Turn heat off and let sit for another 10 minutes. Stir in corn, if using.
Family Meals Project