It’s not fun worrying about the ultimate state of your rice for the 20 to 25 minutes it takes to cook it on the stovetop. And the time it takes for rice to go from too crunchy in the middle to one big, wet glob is actually not very long. While countertop rice steamers make cooking rice easier, they aren’t always practical to use. The simplest solution is steaming your rice in the microwave -- and to make life easier still, you can create an entire healthy rice meal in your microwave.
Equipment and Selection
The key to successfully cooking rice in the microwave is having the right dish that traps the moist heat and cooks the rice. A glass or ceramic dish with a well-fitting lid is ideal, but in a pinch, you can tightly fit plastic wrap over the dish before it goes into the microwave. Almost any rice works with this method, including white and brown, but varieties such as long grain will take longer to cook -- and since you must stir Arborio continuously to create its signature creamy finish, microwaving isn't ideal.
Flavoring Your Rice
For a twist on the norm, add low-sodium soy sauce to the water to flavor your rice. As a general rule, you should double the volume of water per rice measurement to make sure that enough steam is generated to thoroughly cook the rice. If you’re looking for something more substantial, substitute low-sodium broths for the water or consider adding a heart-healthy broth-based soup to your liquid mixture, such as a French onion or tomato soup. Little helpers can stand on a stool and pour the ingredients for you.
Because dinner time is often fraught with too much to do and too little time to do it, steam some vegetables along with your rice. Once you have your rice and broth mixture ready to go in your microwave, top with your favorite diced vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, carrots, celery or broccoli. You may need to extend the cooking time, but you’ll have a side dish or light meal that’s especially tasty -- and the combination or rice and vegetables meets two of your basic daily nutritional requirements. Avoid putting uncooked or cooked meat onto the rice before it steams as it will either be undercooked, possibly contaminating the rice, or it may overcook and ruin the dish. Once your rice and vegetables are steamed, stir in cubes of cooked pork or canned tuna to make a one-dish meal.
One-Dish Meal Variations
Cook your rice in tomato sauce peppered with cumin and garlic salt -- and top with diced white potatoes, red or green bell peppers, or any mixed vegetables you have on hand. When the dish is steamed, stir in shredded chicken and cheese to make a delicious Mexican rice dish. You can also warm tortillas to create a burrito. For another variation, use beef broth to flavor your rice and steam with rings of onion and bell peppers. When the dish is cooked, stir in cooked, chopped steak or leftover ground beef and heated, low-fat, low-sodium cream soup to make a hearty casserole for a cold evening. Combine chilled cooked rice, cooked peas and cubed ham with creamy dressing to make a cold rice salad.
Like This Article? Let Us Know!
- Riceland: FAQs
- “Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook”; 1981
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images