Steamed Rice

The secret of preparing rice is to cook it first in an uncovered pot at a high heat until most of the water has evaporated. Then the heat should be turned very low, the pot covered, and the rice cooked slowly in the remaining steam. Here is a good trick: if you cover the rice with about 2.5cm (1 in) of water it should always cook properly without sticking. Many packet recipes for rice use too much water and result in a gluey mess. Follow my method and you will have perfect steamed rice.

For the rice recipes in this book, the required rice is simple long-grain rice, of which there are many varieties. I particularly like basmati or Thai rice (sometimes also known as Jasmine rice). Such fragrant rice is now widely available. Avoid pre-cooked or ‘easy-cook’ rice for Thai cookery; both of these types have insufficient flavour and lack the necessary texture.

A couple of rules worth repeating:

  • The water should be at a level 2.5cm (1 in) above the surface of the rice; too much water means gummy rice. Recipes on commercial packets generally recommend too much water.
  • Never uncover the pot once the simmering process has begun; time the process and wait.

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  • Enough long-grain white rice to fill a glass measuring jug to 400 ml (14 fl oz) level
  • 600 ml (1 pint) water


Put the rice into a large bowl and wash it in several changes of water until the water becomes clear. Drain the rice and put it into a heavy pot with the water. Make sure the water comes to 2.5 cm (1 in) above the surface of the rice. If necessary, adjust the amount of water. Bring the water to the boil and continue boiling until most of the surface liquid has evaporated. This should take about 15 minutes. The surface of the rice should be pitted with small indentations. At this point, cover the pot with a very tightfitting lid, turn the heat as low as possible and let the rice cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. There is no need to ‘fluff’ the rice. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving it.