Rice is a staple food for different countries, especially in Asia. When you go to restaurants and you’re served with white, fluffy rice, you think, “Huh, this looks simple to do.” But then when you go home and try it out yourself, you get a pile of wet, sticky goo and you say, “Why is my rice mushy?”
Rice with a mushy texture is a pretty common issue when cooking, especially on a stovetop. Reddit has users asking on how to fix their mushy rice and they usually get a lot of responses. Don’t get us wrong, the answers on those forums are helpful, but everyone in the comment section can contradict one another and make things more confusing. But in this article, we’ve compiled the best tips on how to avoid mushy rice and, alternatively, what you can do if you end up having a batch of it. It turns out that the answer is actually pretty simple.
Why is My Rice Mushy?
There are 2 main reasons to your rice too mushy. The obvious reason is that the water to rice ratio is too much. The other less known reason is the surface starch on the rice.
How To Avoid Mushy Rice?
Step One: Always Rinse Your Rice
The Wanderlust Kitchen did a great job illustrating a step-by-step procedure about making rice that isn’t mushy. They gave good tips too, like not putting your stove on the highest option just to make things cook faster (trust us, it will turn your rice even mushier), and not stirring the rice while it is cooking. But the most interesting tip of all is to rinse your rice. Interestingly, this is also what other people, especially Asian cooks, will tell you when it comes to cooking rice in general.
The reason why people rinse their rice first, asides from getting rid of any dirt that might have stuck to it, is to remove the surface starch that can make your rice texture gummy or mushy. Washing your rice will give it restaurant-levels of quality and you will definitely end up with something fluffier.
Step Two: Consider Your Water Ratio and Pot
America’s Test Kitchen made a video about the science of making perfectly cooked rice. Surprisingly, you can actually make rice- white, brown, or any other variation- with the same 1:1 water to rice ratio. The problem, though, is that evaporation can ruin your perfectly good rice. It comes down to what setup you are using when cooking rice.
Evaporation will always happen, so you need to scale your water so you won’t have too much or too little in the rice cooking pot. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. Most of the water will be absorbed by the rice, while roughly 3/4 of it will evaporate. Checking out your rice’s cooking instructions on the packet can also be a helpful guide, especially if you are cooking rice that will take a longer time. The same concept goes with using a rice cooker. Normally, the ratio is 1:1 for water to rice but adding an extra cup of water can help because of evaporation. This ratio will be just nice to avoid mushy rice in your rice cooker.
What To Do With Mushy Rice?
If You Can’t Beat It, Cook With It
If you still ended up with rice that absorbs too much moisture or you have accidentally put an extra cup of water while measuring things out, just go with it and cook something with your mushy rice.
Add more water to the mix and make sticky rice pudding. Turn your side dish into a dessert by adding some milk, a little bit of sugar, and a dash of vanilla extract. Alternatively, you can make the Filipino dessert dish, champorado, by adding chocolate, milk, and sugar to your mushy rice. If something sweet is not your style, try turning your mushy rice into a savory porridge. Add more water, followed by a dash of salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of fish sauce. You can also mix in sliced meat, chicken, or tofu to add more flavor.
There are plenty of recipes that you can try that need mushy rice. You can usually find them on Asian cookbooks or cooking websites. Turning your mushy rice into something edible and delicious will not only make you feel better but also means not wasting food.
Pat Yourself On The Back For Making Perfect Rice (Or At Least Tried To)
Making rice that is not mushy can take some trial-and-error, but it can be achievable by anyone. A good water-to-rice ratio is usually the answer to all your mushy rice problems. Rinsing your rice, cooking it on a steady flame, and keeping an eye on your pot can also help achieve a good rice consistency. And if all things fail, be creative in the kitchen and transform your mushy rice into something exciting. Congratulations! You have made fluffy- not mushy- rice.