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This question is specifically about short grain pearl rice.

I recently got a nice Zojirushi rice cooker that has all the bells and whistles, and I've been wanting to use it to prepare perfect rice. I know that is a little subjective, but let's assume I just want distinct, not mushy, kernels that are clean and moderately sticky.

Items that I would like to have addressed:

  1. Washing. I already do this, but including good methods would be appreciated.
  2. Water proportions. I've found a 2:1 ratio makes them a little mushy, but any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
  3. Soaking. I have heard people do this, but I haven't ever tried it. Does this affect how much water you use? What are some good methods for doing this?
  4. Post cooking instructions. E.g. should it be allowed to cool, taken of warm setting, should the top be opened to let steam out, etc.

I know a lot of these items can be somewhat opinion based, so if that is the case, just comment on how any changes will affect the end product.

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    yeah, my question is less about the rice cooker and more about the preparations. The rice cooker has a "white rice" setting and instructions, which I use already. – BlackThorn Aug 11 '17 at 20:54
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    I just specified rice cooker because I've found that cooking on the stove is a little different and requires different amount of time and water, not to mention watchfulness. – BlackThorn Aug 11 '17 at 20:56
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    @catija I am using a rice cooker. I said that because I don't need instructions telling me to turn it on low heat for 20 minutes and not allow it boil over, etc. – BlackThorn Aug 11 '17 at 20:58
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    I did specify what rice cooker I have (though it was autocorrected to the wrong name) to show that it is not important to receive cooking instructions. Typically rice cookers do that all for you. You just hit the white rice button. Move past the rice cooker thing. It is only important to the question to show that I don't need cooking instructions and my rice is in a very controlled environment. – BlackThorn Aug 11 '17 at 21:09
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    @Catija it is literally not important. Mine is very similar to yours, though a newer design, AKA "all the bells and whistles". It cooks great. I don't need info about how to cook it. Just how to prepare the rice. – BlackThorn Aug 11 '17 at 21:12
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I absolutely LOVE my Zojirushi Rice Cooker. I found it important to use the plastic cups that it comes with to measure the rice. As one conventional cup puts too much rice in there in relation to the water line for white or jasmine rice. 3/4 of a conventional cup of rice is what my son uses in his as he missplaced the plastic ones it came with. I don't wash my rice at all. It is about convenience and they have it all figured out for you. I do add just a smidgen less water (just below water line) if I want an extra firm rice. Also use the spatula it comes with so you don't break up and mush the rice.

  • Welcome to Cooking SE, Wendy! If you have a moment please take our tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Seasoned Advice Meta is also useful, but it takes 5 rep to post on. – FoxElemental Jun 10 '18 at 21:51
  • @FoxElemental : you're about 10 months late on that welcome. And Wendy, there's a longer discussion of the size of rice cooker cups at cooking.stackexchange.com/q/33015/67 – Joe Jun 10 '18 at 22:20
  • @Joe Oops, sorry, hadn't realized. – FoxElemental Jun 11 '18 at 13:15
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To get the "distinct, not mushy, kernels that are clean and moderately sticky" you should wash the rice. Washing and rinsing the rice ~3 times in cold water before cooking should get rid of the excess starch that accumulates in bagged rice from the rice kernels rubbing together over time.

Without washing the rice, the excess starch would go into the water giving the water a cloudy appearance. That starch would make the water thicker with cooking and as the water evaporates and gets absorbed from the rice, it leaves behind a residual starchy "slime" that coats the rice which give it the "mushy" texture.

For the water to rice ratio: a 2:1 ratio sounds slightly off. For shorter grain rice you normally have 1 3/4 cup water to 1 cup rice. Most short grain rices call for only 1 3/4 cup water to rice. You can find that in most short grain rice recipes.

Start with these changes in preparation and cooking before critiquing the rice cooker and how the rice cooker cooks the rice. Start with changes to 1 and 2 before going on to changing your cooking style for 3 and 4. You might find that just changing the first 2 you get the desired results you need without having to change the entire way you cook and prepare rice.

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