Steaming rice in a saucepan on the stove can pose a problem for some chefs. When steamed in a pot, the rice often sticks or burns before it is completely cooked, rendering at least some of the batch inedible. Asian food chefs often bypass this issue by preparing rice in a bamboo steamer. The steamer cooks the rice gently and evenly, yielding fluffy grains that aren't sticky or tough.
Measure out the amount of rice desired into a mesh colander. Rinse the rice grains with cold water until the water runs clear from the colander. Pour the rice into a bowl and cover it with cold water. Cover the bowl and allow the rice to soak for at least two hours.
Take the lid and upper baskets off of the bamboo steamer. Line the bottom basket with a damp dishtowel. Drain the rice and pour the grains into the basket on top of the dishtowel. Place another damp dishtowel on top of the grains, allowing the excess material to hang over the sides of the basket. Put the lid on the basket and pull the extra material over the top of the lid, pinching it together with a clothespin.
Fill a wok about halfway with water and bring the water to a boil. Nest the bamboo steamer in the wok. The steamer should not be immersed in the water.
Steam the rice for about 30 minutes. If the water evaporates during the steaming process, add more to the wok so that the rice cooks all the way through and the wok doesn't burn. Check the rice about every 10 minutes during the cooking process; if it appears to be drying out, add more water to the wok and re-moisten the top dishtowel.
Remove the steamer from the wok and check the rice. If it is finished, serve immediately. Steam up to an additional 15 minutes if it needs more time, being careful not to overcook.
Always keep an eye on the wok while cooking rice with this method. If all the water in the wok evaporates and the steamer dries out, a fire can start.
Tips and warnings
- Always keep an eye on the wok while cooking rice with this method. If all the water in the wok evaporates and the steamer dries out, a fire can start.