Every time I make rice it comes out mushy and clumps together. How can I get rice to cook properly and be fluffy with grain separation and everything?
As I don't know what kind of rice you are using, but there are some tips which can help you to make the rice less mushy and non-sticky grains:
- You can add one tablespoon of lemon juice so it will help the rice not to stick.
- Do not cover the pan with a lid while you are boiling the rice.
- Do not stir with spoon too much as it can break the grains of rice into pieces, which can cause mushy rice.
- Cooking rice with too high flame can also cause the rice to clumps.
- Also you should rinse the rice before cooking them. I also followed these tips and it works for me.
What I do with my rice (Basmati) is the following:
- Rinse under cold water in a strainer and leave to stand so the water can drain.
- In a pan put 2 tbsp of oil per cup of rice (I use olive oil but any (vegetable) oil should do). So if cooking 2 cups of rice I would use 4 tbsp of oil.
- Warm the rice and oil together and fry it for about 3 minutes on a medium heat (using the smallest burner) whilst stirring regularly to prevent burning.
- Add per cup of rice 1,5 cups of boiling water and salt to taste (I use 1 tsp per cup of rice), stir once, put the lid on the pan and turn down the heat to the lowest flame for 22 minutes.
- After the 22 minutes turn off the fire and let it stand (with the lid on!) for another 10 minutes.
- After the 10 minutes remove the lid from the pan stir through to loosen the grains and serve.
At no point after having added the water should the lid from the pan be removed up until finished.
I'm going to go contra to pretty much all the advice so far, but this is how I've been cooking rice for 25 years...
Clear-lidded pans make this far less guesswork.
Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, 3 times the volume of your finished rice.
Don't rinse the rice, you don't need to.
Use your coolest, most even burner - this is not necessarily the smallest. Sometimes the tiny ones generate bad hot-spots that a medium one wouldn't.
Boil the kettle.
Pre-heat the pan on high.
Add rice to your pre-heated pan. Salt as required.
Immediately add 1.75 x the volume of water, not double.
That should immediately hit a rapid boil because of the pre-heating.
Stir once, just enough to ensure the grains are separated.
Drop the heat to minimum [on gas this is near instantaneous, you might need to wait a second on electric]
Put the lid on.
The contents should foam almost to the top but not go over - lift & replace the lid if it looks like it will go over, otherwise leave alone.
Simmer at this minimum temperature for 12-15 mins [depends how low you can get the heat]
Don't lift the lid to "see if it's done". Learn when it's done by repetition.
'When it's done' btw, is when all the water is gone; you might be able to hear a slight crackle as the last bit dries.
After the required time, switch off the heat, leave the lid on.
Allow to rest for another 15-20 minutes.
Fluff briefly with your spatula; no great effort should be required at this stage.
The rice will be separate & fluffy, none will be stuck to the bottom.
This works for pretty much any rice type - long grain, basmati, or short-grain, glutinous [short grain, of course, will not separate in the same way].
*Almost copy/paste from my own answer at https://cooking.stackexchange.com/a/93672/42066