Rice is a staple in the diets of many people all over the world. Although it is used so frequently, it is often thought to be a difficult food to cook successfully. While boiling is a popular method of cooking rice, that method can result in rice that is sticky, underdone or stuck to the bottom of the pot. Steaming rice is an alternative cooking method that generally produces consistently satisfactory results. If you don't have a rice steamer, you can use a stainless steel steamer that you may already use for vegetables.
Fill a large saucepan with about 5 cm (2 inches) of water. You may add more or less depending on the size of the pot. The goal is to use as much water as you can while keeping the water level well below the steamer basket.
Insert the steamer into the pot. If you will be steaming a particularly small grain of rice, line the steamer basket with cheesecloth to prevent the grains from slipping through the holes in the steamer.
Bring the water to a roaring boil over high heat with the steamer in place before adding the rice.
Add rice to the steamer. You may add as little or as much as will comfortably fit in the steamer, but try to keep the rice away from the edges of the steamer where less steam is emitted. A cup of uncooked rice is equal to about four servings of cooked rice.
Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat slightly. Maintain the full boil throughout the cooking process.
Allow the rice to cook for about 20 minutes. At this point, carefully test the rice for doneness. If it is not as soft as you would like, steam it for an additional five to ten minutes.
Remove steamer basket from pot and pour rice into a serving dish. Season to taste with salt, pepper, butter and other seasonings as desired.
Consider using chicken or vegetable stock in place of water to add flavour to the rice. You can also add raw vegetables to the rice in the steamer basket for a healthy and flavourful side dish.
If your rice comes in contact with the water during the cooking process, it may become sticky and similar in texture to boiled rice.