Often when cooking rice a lot of it ends up sticking to the bottom of the pan and gets wasted. Is there a way to get all the rice out of the pan easily?
It sounds like you're most likely boiling your rice. If that is the case, here is a quick explanation of what could be happening.
1.) The rice is burning in the pan, and becomes fixed to the bottom.
This seems most likely, as you mentioned that the rice was only getting stuck to the bottom of the pan, not the sides. This means it is likely related to heat.
To counter this, you'll need to either lower the heat, or keep the rice from sitting on the bottom of the pan long enough to burn. This can be accomplished by stirring frequently. This is also one of the reasons why steaming is often an easier way of preparing rice, as there is no direct heat source to burn the rice.
2.) The rice is too starchy and it's getting extra sticky.
Rice is very starchy, which is why most people wash their rice at least once before cooking. Rinsing the grains can remove some of the starch on the outside of the rice, and soaking for a between a few minutes and an hour will begin to release some starch from within the grain itself. '
As a general rule, rinse your rice until the water is mostly clear, then soak it for 5-10 minutes, rinse again until the water is clear, then cook. This will make sure that a large portion of the starch is removed, and the rice will not clump together when cooked. Adding a teaspoon of oil to the boiling water will also help prevent this clumping by minimizing sticking between grains and pot.
3.) If all these suggestions fail, you may consider another option for cooking your rice.
Rice Cookers are their own world of appliances, and you can find one on practically any budget these days. Multipurpose steamers and pressure cookers are also widely available, and can not only cook rice, but a wide range of dishes. Microwave cooking has also become increasingly popular in recent years, and a cursory google search yielded me several results regarding how to prepare rice in a microwave.
If none of this equipment is attainable, you can also create a simple steamer by placing a heat-safe bowl inside of a large pot. You simply need a bowl that is small enough to fit into the pot without touching the sides. Place a heat safe rack, another small bowl, or balled up foil under the bowl to prevent it from touching the bottom of the pot. Place the water in the outer pot, and your rinsed rice in the inner bowl with a little water. Once you cover the pot, the steam will build up inside and cook your rice. Be careful when opening the pot, as the steam is hot, and try to keep the lid closed so that you keep as much steam inside as possible. Be aware that rice made with this method sometimes has a tendency to clump, but this can be solved with occasional stirrings and the addition of oil.
Here's my cooking "hack" for rice, which is basically avoiding to overheat the rice and remove excess starch too:
- wash the rice before cooking until the water is clear
- add the amount of water according your personal taste (more is sticky vs. less water is grainy rice in the end)
- boil the rice and the water for a shortly time only, then drastically reduce temperature
- 5 minutes before your rice would be ready turn off the heat completely to just let it sit until it is done (no stiring!)
Alternatively - this is how my grandmother prepared rice - you could also immediately after the water boiled put the rice from the oven to put the pot into an insulated box or wrap it in a blanket. Let it stay for 30-60 minutes, again according to your personal taste of graininess. This gives you the advantage of not only saving a lot of energy but you also have one cooktop plate freed for preparing the rest of the meal.
I used to have this problem all the time - I'm a great chef, but was somehow notorious for screwing up rice. Now, my hack is to always add a bit of fat in the beginning. As the rice cooks, it's coating the pan and the rice grains and makes for very easy removal, and prevents sticking to the bottom during cooking.
I HIGHLY recommend this! You need just very little. My rice cooking has improved ten-fold and works with any rice. Use whatever fat makes sense for whatever you're cooking:
Example: Ghee for indian / Coconut oil for thai / Sesame oil for korean / Olive oil for mediterrean / Avocado oil for anything / etc etc etc
Rice sticks when overheated. Cook slowly and stir frequently to prevent sticking. You might also add a drop or two of oil when boiling.
This may also be caused by pouring the rice into the pan too quickly (which cools the water and causes the rice to clump together). Try to pour slowly enough that the water keeps boiling.
You can cook your rice in more water for a shorter time, my book says 8 minutes but it can be different with other kinds of rice, drain the extra water (by pouring it through a sieve or strainer) and put it back in the warm pan.
Close the pan with a good fitting lid and keep the pan warm but not on the fire. In an oven at max 50 C or even wrapped in newspaper under the blankets of a bed. (If you live in a warm country you may just let it sit on the worktop.)
Ready to eat after about 15 minutes, depending on the time you cooked it and no sticking or burned bits, washing and soaking not needed.
I have used this method with several different kinds of rice and it always works, but some rice may need a bit longer cooking or standing.
(Source of the recipe a book, 'Op Kamers' by Huub Verstegen, in Dutch.)