When making rice, what is the proper ratio of water that I should use?
There isn't really a simple answer to this question due to the many variables of personal preference, rice type, water hardness, etc.
I suggest buying a proper rice cooker: Zojirushi NP-HBC10 5-1/2-Cup Rice Cooker and Warmer with Induction Heating System, Stainless Steel. (I love mine!)
The rice cooker has precise instructions and measurements for each type of rice, even the more obscure types.
You're better off going with 1" above the rice as a guide, if you're boiling long grain white rice, rather than a ratio of liquid to rice. (except minute rice -- my neighbor once asked me your same question, and I later found out she was cooking minute rice ... oops)
If you're going for paella, where it's a really wide dish, then I go with about 2:1, but some of that liquid might come from tomatoes.
If I'm cooking risotto, I tend to heat up twice the amount of stock as rice, but I might not use it all -- and if I think I might run out, after adding a ladle of stock to the rice, I'll add some water to heat up so it'll get a chance to warm up. (and it helps to have some extra liquid left over to deal with reheating leftovers)
And mentioning leftovers -- unlike @Dinah, I never cook less than 2c. of rice at a time -- leftovers come in handy for rice salad or nasi goreng (Indonedian-style fried rice), or to package up with whatever the main dish was for lunches the next day.
I use a 1:1.5 ratio for boiling white rice, 1:2 for brown rice. The ratio depends on how processed the rice is and on cooking method used rather than rice type. My method is to add rice and water (salt) to pot, keep a lid on at all times, bring to a boil, leave on low heat and turn off heat 5-10 min before done. Aways successful that way, no stirring or draining needed. White rice done in 20min. Brown rice a bit more tricky but cooking on low heat for 40 min. should do the trick. Not using a lid would let more water evaporate, thus more water needed. You can fluff it up with a fork afterwards.
A Serving Size of Long Grain White Rice
- 1/3 cup raw rice + 1/3 cup water = 3/3 cup cooked dry rice; sticky in first hour
- 1/3 cup raw rice + 2/3 cup water = 3/3 cup cooked wet rice, cannot hold up chock sticks; sticky in second hour; dry rice in third hour
- 1/3 cup raw rice + 3/3 cup water = 3/3 cup dry rice paste
- 1/3 cup raw rice + 4/3 cup water = 4/3 cup wet rice paste
- 1/3 cup raw rice + 5/3 cup water = 5/3 cup extra dry porridge, can hold up chock sticks vertically
- 1/3 cup raw rice + 6/3 cup water = 6/3 cup dry porridge, can hold up chock sticks 60 degrees
- 1/3 cup raw rice + 7/3 cup water = 7/3 cup wet porridge
- 1/3 cup raw rice + 8/3 cup water = 8/3 cup rice gruel, you can drink it
Porridge and Gruel moves one step towards Extra Dry Porridge every hour. Not sure the steps to become a Dry Paste skipping Wet Paste, but several hours.
Proportionally change for the different types. The fat in Brown Rice does not need water, so it takes slightly less water. If not using a rice cooker or pressure cooker, use more water for cooked rice.
Wash Rice to reduce Starch Gelatinization. Starch Gelatinization is what makes it become Paste, still edible but commonly used as Rice Glue by diluting it.