How to rice

by Emily Davies

Rice is a staple in Asian cultures. It’s been around for centuries yet continues to thrive as a fundamental grain. Why? Well to start off it’s cheap and efficient. You can grow two to three times more rice than wheat in a single acre. Hence why Asian cultures eat so much of it; it’s the most sustainable grain out there!

However, rice is an umbrella term for a whole lot of other varieties. There’s forbidden black rice, red rice, sticky rice, brown rice, white rice—you get my point. But, as a nutritionist, I’d like to let you know some key differences between white and wholegrain rice. White rice is processed, so that the outer covering (bran) is removed. It’s left with less nutritional value, whereas wholegrain rice is unrefined. Therefore, wholegrain rice is able to hold onto most of its nutrients. Given this, I’d recommend choosing unrefined rice over white rice to get the most “health” for your dollar.

And, what do you ask are some of its health benefits?


Rice has a low glycemic index. It’s good for people with diabetes since it helps to stabilizes blood sugar. It’s also rich in nutrients like niacin, calcium, fiber, iron, thiamine and riboflavin. These are key in body metabolism and immune support. Rice is a complex carbohydrate and great source of energy. Our bodies preferred energy source is from carbohydrates. By consuming rice, we are fueling our bodies the energy they want and need. Rice can help with constipation along with plenty of water. The insoluble fibre acts as a soft plug that pushes other nutrients and toxins out of our bodies on its way through the digestive tract, quickly and easily.

How to rice (1)
Burning rice (at least once!) is rite of passage for students everywhere

Now how do you best cook this grain? Of course you can prepare rice with a rice cooker, on the stovetop or in the oven. But, I’m going to be frank: I am not an expert when it comes to rice cooking. Luckily, most rice packages will have instructions on the back. Generally, you will bring the rice to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid until it is has absorbed almost all or all the liquid—any excess water can simply be drained off at the end. More specifically, here are the recommended stovetop cooking times and ratio of rice to water for various varieties of this beloved grain.

Type of rice (1 cup dried) Cooking time (minutes) Water (cups)
Arborio 20 2
Basmati 15 + 5 (steaming with the lid on)
Forbidden Black 50 to 60 2
Jasmine 18 + 5 (steaming with the lid on)
Long-Grain, Brown 50 + 5 (steaming with the lid on) 2
Medium-Grain, White 16 to 18 + 10 (steaming with the lid on) 1 + 2 tbsp
Short-Grain, White (ex. sushi rice) 8 to 10 + 10 (steaming with the lid on)
Wild 45 4

And, with that I wish you happy rice cooking!