How to Make Perfect Asian Rice

fried rice

A few years ago at a culinary conference in the states, I met some eager-beaver folks from the International Rice Board, or something like that, who were there to promote rice consumption. I told them, point blank: “If you really, truly want to increase the consumption of rice, just send everyone a rice cooker.”

I loved mine, but unfortunately in Paris my kitchen is so small that I don’t have room for one. I guess I could get rid of my espresso maker, but really, that’s just not a possibility. (And every time I pass the panini grills at Darty I sigh in admiration…and keep walking.) So I’ve learned to make Asian-style rice in a regular saucepan, which is entirely possible.

egg fried rice

Some of the information I gleaned from posts at My Korean Kitchen and this rice is perfect not just on its own, but to use for making fried rice. If you’ve ever tried fried rice and were confronted with a sticky disaster, the secrets is to always use day-old rice and separate the grains thoroughly with your fingers before frying it up.

Aside from using this rice for frying, sometimes I’ll just use it to make a quick meal of sliced of chicken or oven-roasted tofu, grated daikon or carrots, some fresh bits of chili-flecked citrus or kumquats to brighten things up, and a nice big pile of homemade kimchi. (If I don’t plan on speaking to anyone within close range for the next 48-72 hours.) I’m a big fan of roasted peanuts, or peanut sauce, and it just ain’t a rice bowl for me without one or the other.

In fact, when I worked in an Asian restaurant, I lived on bowls of plain rice with peanut sauce for two whole years. I also, coincidentially, gained fifteen pounds during that time.

(Although I could also lay some of the blame for the paunch on the endless procession of deep-fried, crispy shrimp toasts, too.)

lovely rice

The main concern is to always start with good rice. I use short grain rice which buy in Korean or Japanese markets since they usually have the best and freshest selection of rice. I was in a Sri Lankan market recently looking for rice and I had to explain to the fellow who was trying to get me to buy Arborio short-grain rice that no, Korea and Italy are not the same country.

two rices

Check the rice before you buy it. It should be lovely pure white, like the rice on the right. If it’s chipped, dinged up, and has dark spots like the one on the left, take a pass. And believe it or not, most rice has an expiration date on the package. If you have a package you salvaged from your grandmother’s pantry before she moved to Florida, toss it. Buy rice from a place that turns over their stock quickly: Asian markets are the best places to shop.

Even though none of my Asian friends add salt to their rice, I may have a few less after they read this as I like to add an umeboshi plum, which are available in markets specializing in Japanese ingredients. These pickled plums not only add a delicate saltiness to the rice but are very balancing for your health. So if you’re wondering why I’m so well-balanced, there ya go.

rice1 rice2 rice3
Asian Rice
Print Recipe
2-3 Servings
1. Take 1 cup of short-grain rice and put it in a large bowl. Then fill the bowl with cold water. Use your hand to swirl the rice around vigorously to release the starch. Then drain it.
2. Do this two more times, swirling in fresh cold water, then draining in a colander. After the third time, the water should be almost clear.
3. Put the rice back in the bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for 30-60 minutes.
4. To cook the rice, drain it well and put it in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 1 1/2 cups of water, an umeboshi plum (if available) and bring it to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to low, put the saucepan on a flamer-tamer, then let it cook for 18 minutes. Avoid removing the lid during that time. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes with the lid on.
6. Remove the lid and stir the rice with a spoon or chopsticks to fluff it up.
rice bowl with kimchi

Related recipes and links:

Secrets of Cooking the Best Fried Rice (Steamy Kitchen)

Homemade Kimchi

Myths & Truths About Cooking Rice (Viet World Kitchen)

Bibimbap (Cooking Korean Food with Maangchi)

Cold Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Kimchi Fried Rice (Amateur Gourmet)

Korean Scallion Pancakes

Sushi Bowl Rice (101 Cookbooks)

Olympic Seoul Chicken

Bolgogi: Korean Barbecued Beef (Dinner with Julie)

Sizzling Stone Pot Rice (Epikorean)

How to Make Perfect Brown Rice (Pinch My Salt)

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  • May 21, 2009 5:55pm

    yay, I love good Asian rice but I don’t have a rice cooker so I rarely make it at home. I also did not know that rice had an expiration date. Now I need to go check mine. Thanks David.

  • May 21, 2009 5:56pm

    Gorgeous rice, David! I will apply your tips next time!

    I love umeboshi, too!! What a fun addition. I usually just add a stick of kombu.

    Thanks so much!!!


    ~ Paula

  • Cris
    May 21, 2009 5:57pm

    No Spam? Its a sham with no Spam.

  • May 21, 2009 6:02pm

    Thank you for the advice! I also was not aware of the expiration date for rice. All these years I have been sticking a tightly folded paper towel into the hole on the side of my box and leaving it like that for who knows how long? It’s good to know what to do with my left-over rice!

  • Susan
    May 21, 2009 6:08pm

    Such pretty rice! I wonder if the extra soaking makes the difference in how it looks. My husband is Chinese and we use a rice cooker near-daily, but we never tried the soaking step. Is that for extra fluffiness? (I never think of chinese rice as fluffy, hence my confusion). We loved the chinese food we got in Paris recently- much better than the typical fast-chinese food available in America, even according to our offspring.

  • May 21, 2009 6:11pm

    Susan: I’m not sure why the soaking works. I assume it’s to soften the exterior so the hot water can absorb more easily, or to help it swell evenly. The article I referenced said to do it for a few hours in the winter, less in the summer.

  • May 21, 2009 6:14pm

    Gorgeous rice pictures!

  • May 21, 2009 6:22pm

    I’m thinking it was the shrimp toasts, and I’m thinking that I would have gained weight working in that restaurant, too.

  • May 21, 2009 6:38pm

    I’m addicted to umeboshi too ! I’ll add one next time I’ll prepare rice.

    Your rice is very close to gohan rice (the japanese way of cooking rice).

  • May 21, 2009 7:27pm

    How is it possible you can write a post about *rice* and still have me drooling all over my computer screen? I’m going to have to upgrade to a waterproof laptop, thanks to you. This is not a complaint. I think I would actually fly to Paris for your rice. Especially if you say peanut sauce again.

  • Maryann Guerra
    May 21, 2009 8:23pm

    The rice looks lovely and yum, I am addicted to peanut sauce with some crushed peanuts on top. I always demand more than the tiny bit they give at Vietnamese restaurants.

    I wonder if the “Sweet Rice” I use would be good for this. Its not sweet, but rather super glutinous.

  • sophia
    May 21, 2009 8:29pm

    i’m vietnamese, and i eat rice everyday. it’s weird if i don’t eat rice or some sort of rice product. i would’ve never thought to eat kumquats with rice. during the summer, though, my parents do eat watermelon with their rice.

    my roommates are korean, and they eat different rice than i do. you need to soak your rice if it’s the fat, short grain kind like the kind that koreans and japanese. i eat jasmine rice which is longer and thinner, so you don’t need to soak it. i think soaking it has to do with the fact that it won’t cook as well, plus koreans usually add sweet rice or wild rice in their rice [also the reason why asians soak glutinous rice before using it]

    speaking of kimchi, you should try making kimchi fried rice [bokkeum bap]. really good and simple. fried rice with your choice of meat, kimchi, sesame oil and maybe some hot pepper paste. deeelish

  • Marc
    May 21, 2009 8:34pm

    You should also try steaming. This is good if you just want a single serve.

    In a bowl, wash your rice, drain. (I use long grain rice usually.)

    Add as much water as rice. Eg. 1 ‘cup’ rice, add 1 ‘cup’ water. (I use quotes since I don’t know the real volume of my little rice cup).

    Steam for 20-30 mins. Usually 30 mins for me.

    This works out just like my rice cooker for me.

  • May 21, 2009 8:45pm

    Alright, I’m gonna give your recipe a go because so far in my cooking life, I’ve always ended up with some form of rice-ish crap. (even WITH a rice cooker. Maybe the brand I had wasn’t too reliable….I don’t know, but rice hasn’t been my friend for a while, now…)

  • May 21, 2009 8:54pm

    That first photo has convinced me to make this rice.

  • May 21, 2009 9:06pm

    I am definitely going to try it your way– but thank you so much for your linking to other bloggers’ recipes, too. You’re a generous soul.

  • May 21, 2009 9:11pm


    I love your photos of the two different rices. The one on the the right looks beautiful indeed. I have to admit I’m in love with my rice cooker but its great to see someone doing it the old fashioned way.

    That little dish at the end looks extremely appealing.

  • Tags
    May 21, 2009 9:36pm

    Methinks you have a copy of Shizuo Tsuji’s classic “Japanese Cooking A Simple Art.”

    (with the assistance of Mary Sutherland and an intro by MFK Fisher)

  • janele
    May 22, 2009 12:07am

    My friends and I are all Americans of various Asian ancestry. We all somehow learned how to measure the right amount of water using the knuckle method of measuring. As we grew older, we no longer remember how to do that, instead using the basic 1.5 – 2 cups water to 1 cup rice ratio.

  • marigold
    May 22, 2009 12:11am

    according to :

    Soaking the rice reduces the cooking time of the rice and improves the final cooked texture. Rice is not done until the center is cooked. Moisture does not transfer easily through rice. It take about 15 minutes in boiling water to get water and heat to the center of the kernel. So the outside of the kernel has been cooked for 15 minutes while the center has been cooked only a minute or so. The more the outside of the kernel cooks, the more starch leaches out and the mushier it gets. Soaking white rice for about an hour before cooking allows moisture to get to the center of the kernel. During cooking, the heat will transfer quicker to the center and the rice will be done in six to eight minutes causing less damage to the outside of the kernel.

  • May 22, 2009 1:51am

    janele: When I had my rice cooker, I just used the measuring cup that was included. The problem, as a friend of mine is having, is if you lose the cup. They don’t seem to be so widely-available!

    sophia: I make Kimchi fried rice all the time, and I love it! I usually add peas, chicken or tofu, and an egg. If I can find scallions, I always toss a bunch of those in, too. I gave Adam some tips when he made it, and I added his post and recipe to the links at the end.

    And kumquats are quite good, or another tangy fresh fruit, dusted with Korean chili powder. It provides a nice contrast.

  • May 22, 2009 1:54am

    Being an Indian, rice forms our staple diet. We soak and rinse not just rice, but dhal (legumes) as well. Rinse to clean the rice and soak for a shorter cooking time.

  • May 22, 2009 1:59am

    I’ve come to rely on my rice cooker for white rice, but it’s really big and I don’t have the need to make large batches of rice when I’m just cooking for myself! Will definitely have to give this a try, especially with the umeboshi plum! Thanks for the link to my brown rice post!

  • May 22, 2009 2:35am

    Lovely photos and great recipe.

    In Rome I think most of the Asian food stores are near Temini Station. Time to explore.

  • May 22, 2009 3:25am

    This advice is timely. I’m rubbish at rice. I do have a small rice steamer. But I have to cook for 30 this weekend and the small rice steamer is not gonna cover it.

  • May 22, 2009 4:33am

    Being an Asian and living on rice I can give you few more tips. After step 3 just bring to a rolling boil 1.75 cups of water. If you have add a spoon of clarified butter to this. Then add the soaked rice to this. Cover and cook as per the rest of the steps. This way the starch in the outside of the rice gets cooked immeidately leaving your rice fluffy and separate. The ghee or the clarified butter gives a distinct flavor to the cooked rice and acts as and agent to keep the grains separate. Hope this helps.

  • Nuri
    May 22, 2009 5:03am

    I love the addition of kumquats in your rice bowl; it will definitely cut back on the sodium. Most Korean tables I’ve been to (including my mother’s) like to fill the sweet niche with sides heavily seasoned with soy sauce– tiny dried anchovies, black soybeans, quail eggs and potatoes are fairly common– with the addition of sugar or corn syrup. But as healthy and wholesome as Korean cuisine is sometimes played out to be (bbq aside) with its light fare, the sodium and sugar count can get out of control pretty quickly. Fruit would natural and unconventional way to occasionally fill the void of these candy-sweet and salty soy treats. I cannot wait to pile on some zesty, sweet-bitter kumquats in a future bowl of rice. Thanks again for a great tip!

  • Jared
    May 22, 2009 7:25am

    you don’t need a cup for a rice cooker it’s possibly not the best way to measure the water.

    take your index finger and push to the bottom of the rice, resting your thumb on top of the rice. then keeping that position put your index on top of the rice and your thumb tip should now be level at the top of the water. if it’s in the water you have too much, if it’s above the water you have too little.

    My partner is malaysian and she taught me this way, been doing it ever since and come up with perfect rice everytime.

  • May 22, 2009 8:13am

    This is a great post! I especially love the bowl of rice with the kumquats and peanut sauce at the end. Could you please ship me a bowl of that for my breakfast this morning?

  • May 22, 2009 8:29am

    Interesting post, but you’re not going to get me to give up my rice cooker.
    I figure, it takes up a lot less space in the house than the 25 pound bag of rice we usually have lurking around someplace.

  • Adele
    May 22, 2009 8:49am

    I buy Tilda basmati rice, and that does not need washing.

    Per portion: Put 50 gram in the pot, add salt and a drip of oil(optional), fill up wit 75gram of boiling water, cook gently for 5 minutes then turn off the heat and 5 mins later you have perfect, dry, fluffy basmati rice.

    As long as you use 1 1/2 times the weight of the rice in water, this recipe always works and you can also put it in a steamer and easily make a single portion.

    And if you buy rice that needs washing, either weigh it before and after so you get the water proportions right, or, even easier, just treat your rice like pasta, drain when it’s done, leave sitting a couple of minutes, fluff and you have perfect rice.

  • Regina
    May 22, 2009 9:21am

    You mention serving rice with a peanut sauce…do you have a recipe you could share for the sauce?

  • May 22, 2009 9:38am

    Rice is my favorite food. Thanks for all the good tips.

  • May 22, 2009 10:02am

    Regina: I linked to a recipe in the post, which works quite well. If you didn’t catch that, it’s at the end.

    Alta and Stephanie: I love rice too, but I wish I could eat it for breakfast, like so many Asians do. For some reason, it’s not what I crave first thing in the morning (especially with fish, or seaweed), but I do crave it the rest of the day.

    Nirmala: That sounds amazing. I’ve made rice with chicken stock, or added butter at the end, but didn’t add it at the beginning.

  • May 22, 2009 10:11am

    Hello David,

    It never occurred to me to add umeboshi to rice BEFORE cooking – it’s something we’d have with COOKED rice. But why not? I might give it a try! And if you like umeboshi, it’s also great added to your fried rice.

    And I don’t know about others, but I always cook rice in a large batch (3 cups or so), and freeze most of it straight away, divided into small portions, so I’d have a bowlful of rice almost ready to eat (just a few minutes in the microwave) whenever I want it for the following week or so. And for some reasons, it’s best to freeze rice as soon as it is cooked, rather than waiting until you have some leftover; when re-heated, rice frozen straight away tastes almost like freshly cooked, while leftover frozen rice tastes like, well, leftover.

  • May 22, 2009 10:28am

    Hi David — Thanks for these tips! When I first moved to the U.S. from Singapore and couldn’t cook a lick, one of the first purchases I made for my kitchen was a big rice cooker. I just had no idea how to make rice without one! (If only your blog had been around then.)

    I’m traveling quite a bit to Singapore to learn to cook this year and am hoping to master one of my all-time favorite rice recipes — the rice that accompanies Hainanese chicken rice. It’s steeped in chicken fat, garlic, ginger and knotted tropical pandan leaves (which have a vanilla-like taste) and is just unbelievably tasty. (The chicken, really, is in the dish as the mere accessory to the rice.) If done well, each grain of rice is adequately coated in fat and has an amazing mix of Southeast Asian flavors. If you find a good recipe for this, do let me know!

  • ritanyc
    May 22, 2009 11:02am

    Just what I felt like reading about today, David! Love your transcontinental playlist of sweet and savory. I am Filipina and grew up eating white rice every single day. (The asian equivalent of “how are you doing” is “have you eaten rice yet today?”)
    Recently my 80 yr old mom had a 10 e-mail meltdown because she couldn’t find the cord to her rice cooker, swearing that I or my brothers put it in the wrong place. Anyway, I was like WTF?(not really), but why don’t you just use that knuckle measuring method you taught me 50 years ago and boil yourself some rice!
    She finally did and thought that the rice tasted better. I agree; electrically prepared rice is not as tasty, but great for large groups that need warm rice handy. (P.S.- Umeboshi plums rock!)

  • May 22, 2009 11:10am

    I’ve been making rice this way for many years with success. I’ve read it in my favorite chinese cooking book. There was also this advice included which always works without a problem and it helps you add the correct amound of water:
    after rinsing the rice, make the surface even,place your index finger on top of the rice and add water until the water level reaches your first knuckle. I don’t know if my index finger is the right size but this little trick has always worked for me, making just one cup of rice or several cups.

  • anna
    May 22, 2009 12:56pm

    I appreciate your article, especially the photos showing the differences in rice quality.

    However the title of your recipe leaves a bit to be desired. I was thinking, what if you posted a recipe for “European potatoes”? Asia is such a vast place, and a lot of the comments already attest to different types of grains and ways of cooking and seasoning.

    That said, my basic recipe is very much like your own, including the soaking bit, and I love it a lot :)

  • May 22, 2009 1:40pm

    Hi Anna: Yes, I know that this wasn’t the kind of rice that all Asians ate, but the technique seemed pretty similar to some of the other techniques I’ve seen for making rice, which originated from other countries. There are things called European-style mustard, European-style cheese, and European-style beers.

    You’re right, that doesn’t really mean anything in particular. But it is just a way to classify things. Glad you like the recipe and merci for your thoughts…!

  • May 22, 2009 2:15pm

    Although in general new rice is tastier, there are a few recipes that actually work better with old rice. In dishes where the rice simmers a long time (like Hainan chicken-fat rice or Thai Muslim yellow rice) using old rice helps the grains stay whole.

  • May 22, 2009 2:53pm

    Loved this post – can’t wait to try out some of the recipes…I have similar problems with kitchen space (living in Dublin) and a rice cooker just isn’t an option – looking forward to trying the saucepan though! Thanks!

  • May 22, 2009 3:01pm

    Put one cup of rice in a drainer. Hold it under running water, shaking occasionally until it’s clean. Put one cup of water in a sauce pan, add the rice and bring to a boil. When it starts to boil, partially cover, lower heat to low and let cook for fifteen minutes. Take off heat, cover completely and let stand for twenty minutes. Perfect rice every time.

  • terri
    May 22, 2009 4:19pm

    Hi David,

    It’s not actually that big of a problem if you lose the measuring cup that comes with the rice cooker. I’ve made rice successfully using a standard cup measure, and keeping the proportion of rice to water the same. (Of course, you do have to remember that standard cups are bigger, so you don’t exceed the capacity of the cooker–guess how I learned that? :) ) If I’m remembering correctly, though, a rice cooker measuring cup is something like 3/4 c. (US measure).

    Adding umeboshi to the rice before cooking–hmmm…I might have to try that. (Usually I add it to my cooked rice or in the center of a musubi.) Thanks for the suggestion!

  • m
    May 22, 2009 7:23pm

    Even if you’re within the expiration date, gauge how much you have left and adjust the water you add. new rice needs less, older rice needs more. I really get annoyed when people say that arborio and Asian short grain are interchangeable.

    Oh, and if you lose your special cup, that cup holds 180ml worth of rice. A standard American cup is 240ml, so 3/4 of a cup = Asian cup.

  • May 22, 2009 11:53pm

    I learned how to make proper steamed rice when I lived in S.Korea. I drove by farmers drying their rice on sheets spread right over the roads at night, sleeping beside them so a car wouldn’t pass and ruin their harvest.

    Aah, memories. Aah, perfect rice.

  • patricia
    May 23, 2009 1:10am

    What gorgeous and inspiring pictures!

  • May 23, 2009 5:56am

    sometimes it’s better to stick with what you know.

    the dominant grain differs in different parts of the region and Asia is a pretty big place! yes for sure we call things “European,” but the European culinary tradition is frankly more integrated than in Asia, where so many different cuisines and traditions are found. people eat rice from Afghanistan to Indonesia but the type of rice they use and the way it is prepared is so different.

    anyway, one thing most successful “Asian rice” makers will tell you is that the amount of water you use varies significantly depending on many factors (humidity, time of year, age of rice) and in order to get perfect rice you need to learn to pay attention to those things.

  • May 23, 2009 6:01am

    I’ve posted basic guidelines to cooking rice the way my grandmother used to do it. It’s the same thing the rice cooker does to your rice but you’re doing it manually…so I see little point in cooking it this way if you have already got a rice cooker.

    Just like there’s a proper way to baking good bread, or boiling pasta, there’s a proper way to cook rice. There are a few different ways but my grandmother’s way sure works for me! ;)

    (Of course people who are really into this get into crazy details like: use the best mineral water you can get your hands on in the first round of washing your rice and don’t wash it but throw it out immediately, then start washing rice from the next round with more mineral water.)

  • May 23, 2009 7:10am

    Dear Suzy: Thanks for your advice to “…stick with what you know”, but if everyone did that, no one would learn anything about other cuisines, which I think would be a shame because there’s so many great foods to discover. I’ve learned a lot about various cuisines from readers and other blogs from around the world, and I’m happy to share what l’m learning as I go along, too.

    As someone who writes a lot of recipes, I do take into account variations in ingredients as much as possible and have linked to places and sites on the internet for more information and where people can read other techniques. Rice, like flour, eggs, milk, cream, meat, and anything else, varies widely and I know that sushi masters spend years just learning how to prepare rice. This is what works for me, where I live, with the rice that’s available. And to me, it tastes very good.

    (In fact, I’m eating a bowl of it right now!)

    I’m not Asian (although my Chinese friends insist that I’m Chinese…) this is how I cook rice. It’s not meant to encompass the various kinds of rice found in every single Asian culture. And I would disagree that Europe is more or less integrated than any other continent or culture. Greek food is very different than Scandinavian cuisine, and French food is completely different from Portuguese food. People eat bread made with wheat in all those countries, but I’d venture to say that the variations are similar to the variety of ways that rice is prepared in Asian countries.

    I enjoy the feedback from readers around the world, who often point out other ways to do things. And I do welcome differing points of view. (Which I asked for in the post.) On the site, I like to tackle various cuisines, partly to demystify them: if I, a non-Asian living in France, can make kimchi or sui mai, then so can others. Similarly, just because one isn’t French, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t tackle coq au vin or cassoulet. One should not stick to making hamburgers and apple pie just because they’re American. There’s a whole world of food out there, and I’m happy to be exploring it.

  • May 23, 2009 8:31am

    Congrats on the good (but short) interview in the Boston Globe. I guess someone will have to add you to an American ‘Coffee of the Month’ club to keep you well stocked on the good stuff.

    I’ve never really had that much luck making fried rice in the past. But now I’m inspired…I’ll give it another try.

  • May 23, 2009 8:58am

    Hi David,

    I’m Chinese but I have been cooking rice using my microwave for the last 12 years and don’t own a rice cooker. It only takes 12-15 minutes. Sometimes I add sultanas to the rice before cooking it, yummy.

  • May 23, 2009 11:24am

    David – I use the same preparation method with basmati rice – wash until water is clear then soak. Confess learnt from Sam and Sam of Moro restaurant in London ( dear Sister gifted me their cookbook).

    Works wonderfully for making middle eastern style rice too – where slowly cooked with oil and/or butter in bottom of pan – either just rice or layer of potato on top of the oil/butter then rice. So delicious – both the then steamed rice (from the cooking method) and the naughty, crunchy layer on the bottom.

    Overall I like using basmati rice – coz it is such a genorous type of rice that I can’t stuff it up!!

    Continue with your happy cooking. Late May – the markets must have such yummo fruit and vege in Paris.

    Michelle and Zebbycat in Wellington, NZ

  • May 24, 2009 1:18am

    you should come to LA for the best korean food!

  • May 24, 2009 1:47am

    Thank you for these tips and as always I admire your photography…

  • kim
    May 24, 2009 12:52pm

    I’ve never understood why so many people have trouble cooking rice. I haven’t done the rinsing and soaking step before (I might start a habit of rinsing, partly because you never know where your rice has been) but one thing I really like about making rice is that generally it’s easy to do quickly and at the last minute. I usually cook short grain sushi rice – 2 to 1 water to rice ratio. No salt, boil the water BEFORE adding the rice. When the water has boiled down to about the level of the rice, I turn off the burner and let it sit – usually for about 10 mins. Easy peasy. The only rice I’ve ever had an issue with is brown rice because it takes so much longer to cook.

  • May 24, 2009 3:56pm

    I used to make a lot of rice, and bread, and pasta (often the bread and pasta were from scratch). Gained 5 pounds a year; lost it all easily and quickly when I ditched the rice maker, the bread machine and the grains, and adapted to a more paleo-inspired way of cooking/eating (which was far more enjoyable and satisfying on many levels). I’m not surprised you gained 15 pounds when you ate a lot of rice for two years. I can’t imagine going back stuffing myself with starch.

  • May 25, 2009 2:17pm

    Thanks for this recipe David. I love rice and especially Asian rice so I will put this to definite use.


  • May 25, 2009 5:17pm

    I’m completely addicted to my rice cooker; the one I’m using now is my third. I buy them at the Asian grocery stores in Boston, and even the simplest model seems to make great rice.

    And I agree completely with what you said above about exploring different cuisines. Even if what you create isn’t authentic due to lack of access to ingredients or cooking equipment, you will be closer to understanding a culture if you try to cook the food. Like a traveler trying to communicate in a language other than his or her own — even if you do it imperfectly, you learn from the experience.

  • May 26, 2009 2:45am

    Hi Lydia: Thanks for adding your thoughts. And yes, the simple rice cookers do a great job. (Although my friends with those ‘fuzzy logic-style’ ones wouldn’t give them up for the world.)

    I used to be a severe classicist and believed that should shouldn’t mess with food too much. No, I don’t want corn in the Caesar Salad or peanut butter-filled croissants, But why not spike classic mayonnaise with chili sauce? Who says thin mints have no place crushed and baked in brownie batter?

    1. Just because you’re from a certain culture or country, doesn’t mean you’re a good cook of that country’s food. There are plenty of bad American cooks in America, as well as bad Chinese cooks in China. Just like there are good Japanese cooks in Japan and good Lebanese cooks in Mexico (yes, I’ve had it.)

    2. Food Changes. At some point, someone came up with baking powder, and a whole bunch of new recipes were born. Now we don’t think anything about adding a spoonful to a cake batter. New techniques and ingredients are always coming up, some good, some bad.

    I changed my thinking about molecular gastronomy, for example. I don’t know if it’s here to stay, and it’s not necessarily the way I think most people eat, it sure is interesting to play around with. And it’s nice to see the younger generation of cooks learning, and pushing the limits while doing so.

  • Quyen
    May 27, 2009 12:02am

    We just arrived in Paris yesterday and this post makes me want to eat, of all things, fried rice!

    My mom makes rice in a saucepan by rinsing it a couple times, and then adding enough water so that there’s about an inch of it (two knuckles on your pinky finger) covering the rice. Boil it until no more water covers the rice and the bubbles that pop leave little moist craters. Then cover, lower heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes. This works with jasmine rice, at least.

    Finally: I forgot to bring your book! Is there a place in Paris where I can buy it?

  • May 27, 2009 12:22am

    Hi Quyen: You can get copies of my book at WHSmith. I recently did an event there and they have signed copies, for a limited time.

  • May 30, 2009 2:14pm

    That picture of the egg in the middle of the rice is what really drew me to this article.

  • kim
    August 24, 2009 8:35am

    Hey David, thanks first of all for the recipe. Was wondering if I’d be able to multiply the amounts of the recipe by five, in order to feed ~10? Would cooking times need to be altered, besides changing the amount of water used? Thanks very much. (:

  • david
    August 24, 2009 9:23am

    kim: I’ve not made this recipe for that many people but it should work fine.

  • kim
    August 25, 2009 7:16am

    wow, dave, how quickly you reply! really appreciate it. will be doing the cooking this weekend, and shall report back about how it goes. (: although, given your word, i’m sure it’ll work out absolutely swell. cheers :D

  • Job
    December 10, 2010 1:37am

    My first time making asian rice, thank you so much. My first time and it came out really good! ^^ thxxxx