In the early days before rice cooker was invented, rice is cook using a simple pot over a flame of fire. I used to watch my mum scooped a few cups of fragrant jasmine rice from a big urn sitting on our kitchen floor. She will wash the rice in cold water a few times until the water is almost clear. She told me never to wash all the good nutrients away. She recycles her washed rice water by feeding the few potted plants outside our pre-war period terraced house in Georgetown, Penang. She will fill the pot of rice with clean fresh cold water and using her years of experience and eyes, she knows when there is enough water to cook that perfect fluffy rice. Her rice is never too wet or too dry. It is just right.
Until today even though I have a rice cooker at home, I will never use it unless I cook for several people and the only reason is that I do not have a bigger pot to cook for all the guests. The other reason is that it is tuck away inside a cupboard. A rice cooker is not something that I am proud to display and show off on the kitchen bench. It has the horrible long power cord (why can’t an inventor create a cordless cooker), a giant casing and nothing interesting in its look.
I still cook perfect fluffy rice just like mum, without the rice cooker. If you are not sure, use your second finger to measure the water level in the pot of rice. The water level is just right if it reaches the first section line of your second finger. After you have done it a few times, you will know how much water to use in your rice for that perfect fluffy rice.
Now the other trick is the flame. Start cooking your rice with a medium flame and the lid open. When the water starts bubbling away, turn down the flame and let the water reduce slightly, turn down the flame to low and cover the pot with the lid. Simmer the rice until it is cook. Turn off the flame and let the rice simmer for another 5-10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy a nice bowl of fluffy fragrant jasmine rice.