Rice is eaten on all four corners of the globe, but in Chinese culture, it’s so much more than just a carbohydrate. This little grain is associated with fertility, religion, prosperity and celebration – and it’s the staple food for more than two-thirds of the nation.
In China, people often use a greeting which translates to ‘have you eaten rice yet?’ Here ‘rice’ stands to mean ‘meal’, demonstrating how important it is to everyday life. If you haven’t eaten rice, you haven’t eaten!
Boiled, steamed, stir-fried, baked and even rolled… there are so many delicious ways to serve this fragrant foodstuff, whether it’s soft and fluffy, firm and sticky, a super side or the focus of the dish. So how to cook perfect rice? we’ve got the tips you need to get it right every time, no matter what the variety. And when you’ve mastered the technique, there’s a host of recipes to create your own authentic Chinese rice dishes.
Cooking perfect rice is all dependent on the type you’re making. Long-grained basmati needs a different touch to short-grained sushi - so we’ve got the lowdown on three key varieties right here.
Basmati: These long grains remain separate when cooked – making basmati a great choice for using in fried rice dishes, or as a simple aromatic side for stir fries or curries.
Top Tip: for even fluffier rice, cover with a tea towel and leave for another ten minutes for any residual water to be absorbed.
Jasmine: especially fragrant and slightly sticky, jasmine is a great choice to serve with spicy, saucy dishes. Its sweet, slightly floral flavour also makes it perfect for rice pudding!
Top Tip: You can measure the right amount of water for Jasmine rice with your index finger. Touch the top of the rice in the pot, then pour in the water until it reaches the first joint crease.
Japanese: The shortest and stickiest grain, Japanese rice is essential in sushi-making – or any other dish that involves transforming your rice into new shapes.
Top Tip: when making sushi, empty the rice into a large bowl, add sushi seasoned vinegar and fan until it's cool to the touch.
And that’s how to cook perfect rice! To get the right quantity, we recommend 75g of uncooked rice per person – which transforms into a cup-sized serving.
Your rice is cooked and ready to go - now, it’s time to take it to the next level. Try one of these vibrant Chinese rice dishes to elevate this staple from a side dish to the main event.
Packed with pork, sweet potato and punchy Chiu Chow Chilli Oil, this traditional dish can be made with basmati or jasmine varieties, and is said to bring good luck – but only if you polish off every grain!
This flavour-packed fusion dish makes the perfect midweek meal – a medley of chicken, bacon and aromatic Chilli Garlic Sauce, nestled under a layer of bubbling cheese. Use whatever rice you can find in your cupboard!
Top Tip: use cooked and cooled rice for fried rice dishes to avoid clumps.
A big bowl of fragrant, fluffy rice is great… but there’s even more you can do with this little white wonder.
Top Tip: sushi rice is best to use for these dishes – it’s sticky enough to hold together like glue.
Whichever Chinese rice dishes you choose, there’s a Lee Kum Kee product to pack every grain with authentic flavour. Take a look at all our tasty sauces, or get started with the Chinese Cooking Essentials gift box.