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In the student dorms I'm limited to a microwave. So I microwave the rice, put in a colander and drain it. But the rice is not fluffy, tried different rices but it just doesn't texture right.

What am I doing wrong?

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I'm not familiar with how to microwave rice, but you can probably sneak a rice cooker into the dorms. I did it all year when I was in the dorms -- the smell doesn't go too far down the hall if you keep your window open. –  jalbee Mar 18 '13 at 21:29
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Good idea if it wasnt for my snitchy roommate –  Myka Mar 18 '13 at 21:38
    
Haha bummer, feel your pain on that one –  jalbee Mar 19 '13 at 1:05
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2 Answers

People have a difficult time as it is, to make rice fully. The microwave isn't going to make it easier. A rice cooker is advised.

Here is what I would do (if I were stuck on a food-less island with only a microwave). And no, I'm not going quote any chef-books. Rice is one of those things you ask a grandmother or at best, an eastern cuisine chef.

Different types of rice will require changes to the timing below. Basmati and wild types take longer.

  • Wash the rice in cold water to rinse out the starch. You should start to see clear water in the bowl when you've rinsed enough times. This will take some of the sticky out of the rice.
  • Soak the rice in cold water for about 1.5hrs.
  • Place the rice in a bowl and add enough cold water to cover the rice plus one inch.
  • Nuke until the water is boiling but not much longer this should be about half of the suggested cooking time. The rice should still be somewhat uncooked and hard at this point.
  • Drain in a colander, rinse rice with cold water.
  • Put rise in a bowl and Cover with a cotton cloth. put in the microwave on low (say 10% power) and run for 5-10 minutes (or more if the instructions asked for long cooking time). The cotton cloth will absorb the excess steam and low power should allow the rice to get fluffy. The flatter the bowl (shallower rice) the easier to get fluffy rice.

You may have to experiment with timing a bit. I feel confident if you rinse the starch out first and finish with steaming on low with the cloth at the end, you should see results that put a sneaky smile on your face.

P.S. All bets are off if you're using something like minute-rice or uncle-ben's. Try with honest and real rice grains.

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Sounds comprehensive enough to work, will try it out and report back my findings –  Myka Mar 18 '13 at 21:51
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I'd suggest trying one of those microwave-able rice cookers if this is something you're going to be doing often.

Cook's Illustrated did a review on microwave rice cookers, and they gave this a "Recommended with Reservations" rating:

Progressive International Microwaveable 6-Cup (Cooked) Rice Cooker Set

According to the review (which I'm not sure if you can read without a subscription), they got decent rice but had to fiddle with the cooking process a ton. Their final suggestion is 5 minutes on high, 15 minutes on 50% power, then followed by a 5 minute rest.

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CI probably has higher power microwaves (like 1200W) than your average dorm lounge... experimentation may be key. Update: they claim it works with any model in the review. And everything except the detailed results (which adds little information) was available before I logged in. +1 for creative dorm friendly idea. –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 19 '13 at 1:18
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Note also from later in the CI review: "We found that we could also successfully microwave rice using just a covered glass bowl and the same low-and-slow method, so a microwave rice cooker is definitely not a necessity, but it’s a fine product once you get it to work." –  SAJ14SAJ Mar 19 '13 at 1:47
    
I've had no problems using a microwavable rice cooker at home. We just wash the rice, cover it by about an inch with water, and place it in the microwave on high for 10 minutes. I've also had success with using ceramic ovenware in the microwave as well, but the rice didn't come out as fluffy. –  leon Apr 7 at 4:09
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