Rice is a common staple prepared in several households each day. It is one of the world's most popular foods that can be made in different ways and used to make different recipes.

When it comes to white rice though, some people are still unable to cook perfect fluffy rice. It is a challenge for even many seasoned chefs, so you’re not alone in the journey to make the perfect pot.

When you get the right way to achieve it, you will have the perfect bowl of well-cooked fluffy rice can go perfectly with many recipes like; stews, soups, stir-fries, and sauces!

Cooking the perfect fluffy rice is actually pretty simple, if you follow these easy steps and rules:

Before you cook

1. Choose the Right Rice

Different types of rice often tend to slightly alter the cooking process but with the right rice, you will get the best result using minimal effort.

For fluffy, tender rice with separate grains, the best pick is the long grain rice - they have little excess starch compared to most, that will stick the grains together while you cook.

That thin film of chalky powder on your rice is actually some of the outer starch of rice, which blooms and gets sticky when it comes in contact with boiling water. As it continues to absorb water, the rice grains get closer start and start to stick and form large clumps.

The simple solution to this is to always give your rice a quick rinse. It will help remove some starch and keep grains from becoming sticky as they cook.

Rinse the rice in a bowl of cold water, running the grains between your hands till the water is cloudy – that’s the outer starch coming off.

Strain the water through a fine mesh and repeat the rinse process about three times till the water is no longer cloudy.

This is a very important part of the process and is applicable to all types of rice.

3. Use the Right Measurement

If you want perfect fluffy rice, you need to use the perfect measurements. Getting the perfect ratio will take practice, as measurements are determined by the type of rice, type of pot, and even how the lid fits the pot (as this affects how much water is lost while cooking).

Generally, the perfect measurement for cooking rice is 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of liquid for short grain rice and 1¼ cups of liquid for long grain of rice.

The liquid could be just water of a combination of water and vegetable broth, or beef/chicken stock.

While you cook

4. Avoid Over Stirring

Give your rice two quick stirs (preferably with a wooden spoon) while its half cooked to separate any clumps, and stay away from stirring it again.

Over stirring the rice can make it sticky.

5. Avoid a Lot of Peeking

Immediately you add your rice to boiling water, reduce the heat and avoid lifting the lid a lot. Excess lifting of the lid will let out more water that should leave as steam, reduce the heat generated and disrupt the cooking process.

The rest period when cooking rice is one of the most overlooked steps.

Sometimes when you look at the cooked rice, you will find that the grains are softer at the bottom and firmer at the top.

It’s not ruined – it just needs to rest.

When the rice is soft, remove it from heat, uncover it and cover with a clean cloth before putting the lid back on. Leave to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

The cloth (preferably a towel) will absorb any excess moisture that would have dripped back into the rice from the lid.

Another option is to turn down the heat, leave to stand for 5 minutes without removing the lid and then fluff the rice before service.

Practice makes perfect

Sometimes, there’s the problem of cooking the perfect rice consistently – everyone battles with this too.

You might get it right the very first time, but you will be faced with another challenge is getting it right every single time. Some days you will make the perfect pot of rice, while some days it comes out hard and other days it comes out sticky, often due to using more water than you should.

You need to be patient as you put what you learned into practice for a better chance of making the perfect fluffy rice. Some recipes recommend adding butter or spoonful oil at the beginning to help separate the rice before they cook.

Now you can say goodbye to clumpy hard or overcooked rice with these tips that will help you get a perfect fluffy rice every time.