The Trick to Making the Best Rice of Your Life

Plus, the types of rice you need to know about
IMAGE Ben Goldstein

Aside from the color of the rice, the sizes also vary dramatically. If you are at a loss at the grocery and your recipe calls for a peculiar kind of rice, just refer back to this simple ratio. Long grain is three times longer than it is wide (i.e: Basmati, Thai), medium grain is less than three times longer than it is wide (Arborio, Vialone Nano), short grain is about two or less times longer than it is wide (Japanese rice).

White Rice

The most popular of all the varieties. It has been cleaned of its hull, brand and germ, which is why it's usually considered the least healthy. Cook with a 2:1 water-to-rice ratio for about 20 minutes.

Brown Rice

The healthy alternative. Brown rice's hull is intact and therefore keeps its bran and germ. It is the whole grain. This will usually cook in about 40 minutes.

Sushi Rice

Again, there are many varieties and all come from Japan. Sushi rice is prepared very differently as it needs to be made with vinegar and sugar to get the texture just right and sticky, without overcooking having it.

Black Rice

The other trendsetter. This is also a whole grain and is high in amino acids. The only drawback is that it takes about an hour to cook. The term "forbidden rice" applies because the Chinese emperors used to enjoy it tremendously.

Red Rice

The recent rage. It is unpolished rice with a discarded hull. The rice is a little chewy and can be cooked in about 15 minutes.


Basmati Rice

Generally used in Indian cooking, it is a little more fragrant and can come in both brown and white colors. It’s a non-stick rice that cooks in about 20 minutes as well.


There are different varieties of risotto rice, most of them from Italy, what they have in common is the creaminess of the grain that can be cooked al dente.

Jasmine Rice

This is commonly referred to as Thai Rice, can be brown or white and is very tender and flavorful.

Wild Rice

It looks like a long grain rice, but it isn’t. It actually is a seed (mind blown).

How to Make the Perfect Rice

Making the perfect rice is all about following simple yet crucial steps. Like most recipes, following these in order is very important. Asides from making rice in a rice cooker, I like to cook mine on top of the stove because I find that the results are more pleasing and that I can play with the texture.

All you need is 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water, and a pinch of salt. For reference, this will usually produce around 3 cups of cooked rice, so increase or decrease the quantities as you see fit. the saucepan you will be using needs to also be adequate in size. It can’t be too big or too small, the rice needs to fit snugly at the bottom and not look completely dispersed.

  • Start by rinsing your rice in a strainer. This will help remove any impurities and discard the coating starches.
  • Bring the water to a boil.
  • Add in the rice and salt and bring down to a simmer. Some grains will need more or less water, so adjust accordingly.
  • Cover the pot and turn the heat to low. A lot of people forget to do this. If you don’t cover it, the rice won’t cook through properly. Try not to touch the lid until it's ready.
  • Usually white rice will take about 20 minutes, brown rice about 35 minutes and wild rice around 50 minutes. You can take off the lid 2 minutes before the prescribed times, just to check if the it’s ready. If it isn’t, close it back up.
  • You will know it’s ready when the grain is tender and has no rough texture.
  • Take off the lid. Take off the fire. Transfer to whatever vessel you have decided to use and toss
    the rice to let some of the steam escape. At this point, I usually like adding some butter or olive oil and some fresh herbs, just to make it a little different (people usually frown at me).

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This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue of Esquire Philippines. Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Erwan Heussaff
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