Steamed rice

Steamed rice


7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

During my childhood, my mother made a pot of steamed rice nearly every day. She did not use a rice steamer, just old Filipino wisdom: wash the rice at least two times to remove excess starch, then place your index finger just above the rice and add enough water to reach the first knuckle. Somehow, it works, despite marked variations in pans and hands.

Here’s a more technical description for steamed rice. It is designed as a starting point; a perfect finish takes practice and changes from rice to rice and pan to pan. Stick to one until you get it right. Another tip I learnt: boil the mixture until it almost knocks off the lid, then immediately reduce the heat. As a ballpark, one cup of uncooked grain gives you about 3 cups steamed.


Quantity Ingredient
660g medium-grain white rice
or 600g long-grain white rice


  1. Place the rice in a deep saucepan and add enough water to cover. Using your fingers, swish the rice around thoroughly to clean, then drain the milky water. Repeat twice more or until the water runs clear.
  2. Pour over 1.25 litres clean water, then shake the pan gently to settle and even out the rice. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, then bring to the boil over high heat. Wait until the lid is just about to pop off, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed (avoid removing the lid if possible as this releases heat). Turn off the heat and allow to stand, covered, for a further 10 minutes (the latent heat will continue steaming the rice). Serve hot.

What is it?

  • In the Philippines, perfect steamed rice is a matter of opinion. There are two camps on how steamed rice should be: buhaghag (loose and fluffy) or malabasa (sticky).
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