Trick to Cooking Rice The Absorption Method

Cooking Rice the absorption method way.

Do many of you have memories of making soft and claggy rice? Trust me I do!

If rice is your staple and its not cooked right it can absolutely ruin your meal!
It’s just a NO NO with curries. I can’t eat it!

My dad had a condition about how he wanted his rice cooked. He liked his rice cooked the absorption method. He believed that was the best tasting rice and my mum, sister in laws all learnt to cook it that way. My dad could tell by the way his rice tasted how it had been cooked.

My mum taught me the family method. How she was taught by her mum.
When your rice was washed and ready you put your fingertips into the pan, your fingertips touching the top of the rice levell. You filled the pan with water until it reached the second line on your middle finger.
You bought it to a boil, reduced heat, covered pan and let it do its thing. It worked fine unless you had a dodgy batch of rice.

Unike my mother, when I got married, I would put rice into buckets of boiling water, cook it rapidly, strain it when it was almost done and steamed for few minutes. Sound familiar?

These days, rice cookers take any guess work out of the process, and they are great.
I wouldn’t be without mine now.

But I still like the art of the stovetop method when I have the time. It is not hard at all – once you have mastered it you will never have gluggy rice again.

The method is most commonly called the absorption method. In this method, the precise amount of liquid is added to the rice – as a result there is no straining or having to add more water as the rice absorbs all of the water.
It is still a good idea to wash your rice before you cook it. Rinsing washes off loose starch, making the rice less sticky and removing any dust still resident on the grains. Be sure to thoroughly strain rinsed or soaked rice. Excess water can make your rice mushy.
Soaking  your rice before cooking does give a better result. The reasons for soaking rice are to shorten the cooking time and to allow for maximum expansion of long-grain rice, particularly Basmati. If you want to soak, then 30 minutes is usually a good length time.

I have tried this method endless times with different types of rice and it never fails. Just once you understand your rice grain you will never have gluggy rice again!

Equipment and Water

You do need a good sized sturdy pot with a tight fitting lid for this method. The method traps the steam inside the pot, and this completes the cooking of the rice. The size of the pot allows the steam to accumulate above the rice, so don’t use one that will cramp the rice. Give it plenty of space. If your lid fits loosely, put a clean kitchen cloth between the lid and the pot. (Make sure to fold it over onto the pot so it doesn’t burn.) The cloth also absorbs the water that would normally condense on the inside of the lid and fall back down into the rice – you get a drier, fluffier rice.

Different rices absorb different amounts of water. You will have to experiment a bit to find the right ratio of rice and water for the particular rice that you use.

My basmati rice takes 1.75 to 2 times the amount of rice in water. You may find that your rice takes a little more or a little less.
Don’t forget that cooking rice in a rice cooker requires less water than cooking rice in a pot on the stove.

Cooking Rice

You will need a
Large, sturdy pan with tight fitting lid


1 cup rice
1 Tbsp oil
1.5 – 2 cups boiling water

Ratios based on 1 cup.

Different rices absorb different amounts of water. The rice packet will give you a guide. 1.5 cups is usually a good place to start per cup of rice and play around with the amount of water until you find the right amount you like best for the type of rice that you use.

For every cup of rice, add 1.5 to 2 cups of water.
If the rice is washed and soaked first use 1.25 to 1.75 cups.

In general, use the larger amount for long-grain rice, the lesser for medium and short.

More water will give you softer, stickier rice. Less water will keep the grains more separate and result in firmer rice.


Wash and rinse your rice till the water runs clear. Add some cold water to cover the rice and let it stand for 30 mins.

Put the measured water on to boil in your kettle. Drain your rice.

Heat the oil or ghee in a heavy saucepan that has a tight fitting lid.

Add the rice and stir until it is glazed with the oil or ghee. It makes a nice cracking sound and takes about 1 minute. The oil helps to keep the grains separate.

Add the boiling water, stir.
Turn the heat to medium, place the lid on the pot and allow to cook for at least 5- 7 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE LID FROM THE SAUCEPAN.

Turn the heat off but leave the pot on the stove. Let it sit undisturbed for at least 12 and up to 20 minutes, it won’t overcook.

Fluff the rice gently with a fork or chopstick. Handle gently, you don’t want to break the rice grains.

Place the lid back on and leave the rice to sit for another 2 minutes.

Step by step pics of process below.


You do not need to use oil or ghee but this helps keep the rice grains separate untill you are more confident with cooking rice and understanding your type of rice.

Once you’re confident with this method you can just add oil and boiled water from the kettle straight onto soaked rice and cook as per rest of method.

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