For people who care about their food

How to make perfect steamed rice

Steamed rice in a Chinese soup spoon on a bed of... steamed rice
At last I got around to doing this because someone asked me yet again about it. So, having had another kick up the bum about it – here’s your answer.

Ken Hom is the man you want here and his Foolproof Chinese Cookery book.

Unlike the plump short-grained rice which is used for risotto and sushi, this dish calls for long-grain white rice. Ken Hom also says, “Don’t use pre-cooked or ‘easy to cook’ rice as it lacks the texture and starchy taste fundamental to Chinese rice.” Ken Hom’s recipe is on page 110 of his book; here’s my take on it.

Rice in a steel bowl, about to be washedIngredients

  • 400 g long-grained white rice (for some reason Ken Hom measures his in ml)
  • 600 ml water


1. Wash the rice

Rice being washed in a stainless steel bowlRice in the washing process, in starchy waterPut it in a bowl, run the tap over it, agitate it a little with your hand. Rinse and repeat until the water runs clear.



2. Boil the rice

Steaming rice, with craters caused by steamPut the rice in a pan with the 600 ml of water and bring to the boil. Boil until the surface water has reduced, leaving the rice with a sort of crater-like appearance. (Ken Hom says about five minutes, mine took nearer to ten.)

3. Steam the rice

Once you’ve got it to the crater stage, stick a lid on the pan and continue to cook on a very low heat for about 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let it rest for another five minutes.

Steamed riceVoilà! Perfect steamed rice. Every grain all fluffy and separate. It’s easy, isn’t it? Maybe we should do a fried rice recipe next…

3 Responses to “How to make perfect steamed rice”

  1. Alex

    Ten years after you posted this, but I just had to say, I’m glad I came across this post. I was making his fried rice out of his newest book and in there he says to let the rice boil for 15 minutes! It seemed done around 5 (water boiled off and pitted) and I started poking around on the internet to see if anyone else thought this was incorrect. Glad to see your decade old post. Looks like there was a rather glaring typo in his Complete Chinese Cookbook.

  2. Not Delia

    Hi Alex,

    I’m glad you found my old blog useful. I’ve not done anything with it for a couple of years but am thinking of reviving it – and your comment has encouraged me. Thanks!

    These days I nearly always use an electric rice cooker. It’s just a bog-standard cheap thing that cost less than a tenner. But it gives perfect results every time, with different kinds of rice too.

    It’s good that you question things that don’t seem right to you. Mr NotDelia will blindly follow instructions even though things are obviously not working out. His excuse is he’s so rarely allowed to do anything in the kitchen that he’s out of his comfort zone. LOL.

    Seriously, I often find what I believe to be glaring errors in cookbooks, even by respected chefs or household “names”. It’s best to go with your own instincts if something seems wrong to you.

    I hope you and yours have a good festive season however you celebrate it. 😀

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