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James P. McDonald » News » My Steamed Rice Dilemma

My Steamed Rice Dilemma

steamed riceOkay, here’s the thing. I have never been able to cook rice. Oh, sure, I could make the instant rice stuff, that was easy. And Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat, was always a pleasaure to make and eat. But, I’m talking about good old, plain steamed rice. But my rice was different than the rice my wife cooked on a daily basis. Her rice was fluffy but I preferred sticky.

I don’t know why I couldn’t do it. I was capable, smart, handy with the written word, but here I was, stymied by some silly white stuff that even a child could make (I was told once.) Following directions was easy enough – a little bit of rice, a little bit of water, put it all in a pot and stick it on the stove. Okay, got it. But, what happened next is the crux of it all.

I believe where I went wrong those few times I tried to cook rice was with the heat. Directions are very ambiguous when it comes to heat. Directions for rice were simple enough: bring to boil and let it set for a few minutes to firm up. Got it.

So why did I always end up with a clumpy mess of starch? Grrrr!

Maybe I over-boiled or under-boiled the mess; cooked it too long, too short; messed with the rice gods; who knows. I just could not do it. Until one day last week…

I searched on Google, I scanned the online stores, I cruised through eBay, until I finally landed on and purchased a Black & Decker 3-cup rice cooker. Is this cheating? Of course not! Nobody in their right mind cooks rice that old-fashioned way anymore, they all use rice cookers.

When my handy-dandy rice cooker finally came, it reminded me of the toy kitchen set my sister had when we were very young. The cooker could practically fit in one hand it was so small. I chuckled as I lifted the metal basket from the main housing. This flimsy thing was going to do something for me that I have never been able to do myself? I scoffed. And yet…

After cleaning the rice cooker thoroughly, my wife decided to make the first batch of rice since she had the experience (she could cook rice for an army and it was always good.) She scoffed at the directions, stating that it would require more water than was stated. She cleaned the rice, added the water and plugged the thing in. Well, it cooked and steamed all over the place but we had a real mess when the thing boiled over. The rice came out in a sticky mess and I put one mark in the “Bad Buy” column. The next time she tried, it again boiled over but the rice came out better. It still wasn’t the great rice I was seeking. I put another mark in the “Bad Buy” column. That’s two strikes with one to go.

I decided that, on the final try, I should be the one to cook the rice. After all, that is why I bought the thing in the first place. I seriously wanted to cook my own sticky rice and enjoy it thoroughly so I followed the directions to the letter.

A cup was supplied that measured out 3/4 cup of rice. After placing the rice in the cooker, I filled the water to the one-cup level as stated in the directions. I plugged it in, turned it on, and hoped for the best.

Fifteen minutes later, I finally had my almost-perfect sticky rice in a small bowl and was enjoying it with a smile on my face. Finally, I cooked my own sticky rice! Of course, it will take a little tweaking to get it just the way I like it but I am on the right track.

I am so happy now that I thought I would share this with the world.

Life is good!

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