Even though most people use rice cookers nowadays, it's good to know a foolproof way of cooking rice without one. I have found that if you measure your middle finger, with most adults the distance between the first joint and the end of the finger is relatively the same. This first joint is your very portable water gauge.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (13 votes)


  • 5 cups rice, any type
  • salt, to taste

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Steaming time 10 minutes

Take the amount of raw rice you require and wash it thoroughly in cool water only once. Rice is so highly polished these days that if you wash it any more you will wash away any goodness left. If you are cooking this in Asia then it may need to wash two or three times, depending on where you bought it and how well the rice has been husked. You may also have to remove any stones or other foreign matter that has found its way into your rice.

Now, flatten the washed rice in the bottom of a large pot and add water until it reaches from the top of the rice to the first joint of your middle finger. For brown rice, add a little more. Bring this to the boil, uncovered and salted, and cook on a high heat until you can see the top of the rice and the water has evaporated to that level. Turn the stove to your lowest setting. If you are using electric cookers, then have the hot plate next to it on the lowest setting ready to go, and transfer it, covered, to steam for about 10 minutes. Do not stir it or open the lid, as it will naturally steam and cook the rice so it's fluffy and dry.

Once cooked, remove the lid and, using the handle of a wooden spoon, fluff the rice and cover it until you need it.