When you forget to cook the rice in a dish, it can be frustrating. Rice is a food staple that you will find in many popular dishes.
Thanks to its carb and protein content, it’s an ingredient that is filling and nutritious.
However, cooking rice typically takes as long as 20 minutes.
There are different options to explore if you forget it, from attempting to cook rice faster to finding a replacement.
Since rice is a staple for many dishes, this ingredient can be difficult to replace when you forget to cook the rice. However, it’s possible to find a solution if you know how to improvise.
How Long Does it Take to Cook Rice?
Completing all the steps of your favorite recipe only to find that you forgot to prepare rice can be frustrating.
Cooking rice can take anywhere from 18 to 30 minutes depending on the kind of rice your recipe calls for.
If you can’t replace the rice with another ingredient, your best option is to set the food aside and take half an hour to cook some rice.
Covering your pots and pans and leaving them on a low heat setting should prevent your other ingredients from getting cold.
If your oven has a keep warm setting, use it to prevent the food from getting cold.
The main issue with waiting half an hour for your rice to be ready is that the other ingredients might become dry or overcooked.
You can prevent meat and other foods from getting dry by basting them with juice, adding butter or oil, or keeping these foods covered.
You can also let the food get cold and use a microwave to reheat it before serving.
If you decide to use a microwave, you can preserve the food’s taste and texture by covering it with a paper plate when you reheat it.
How to Make Rice Faster
Now that you have put aside all your ingredients, you should get started with boiling rice as quickly as possible.
There are a few tips and tricks you can use to speed up this process.
Be Mindful of the Size of the Pot You’re Using
Using a larger pot means the water will take longer to reach its boiling point.
A two-quart saucepan should work for preparing one or two cups of rice.
If you can, split the quantity of rice you’re preparing in two so you can use two smaller saucepans and get the water to boil faster.
Tip: When boiling water on high heat, place a wooden spoon over the pot. The wooden spoon will absorb any excess water and prevent the pot from boiling over.
The Shape of the Pot Matters
Using a pot or saucepan with a wide base means that there will be a larger surface in contact with the burner.
As a result, the saucepan can transfer heat to the water faster.
While tall pots are convenient for preparing large quantities of rice, a saucepan with a low profile and a wide base will help you boil rice faster.
Tip: Using a larger burner will also increase the size of the contact area between the pot and the burner.
Use the Right Quantity of Water
Using a large quantity of water means that it will take longer to boil. There is no need to use more than two cups of water for each cup of rice you’re making.
Should You Use Hot Tap Water?
Using hot tap water can be tempting if you’re in a hurry. Most homes have hot tap water that can reach 160°F, which will boil faster.
However, you should know that hot water can dissolve lead and other pollutants. Boiling the water will not remove these pollutants.
Using hot water is safe for cleaning or bathing, but you shouldn’t use hot tap water for cooking or drinking.
Tip: While using hot tap water isn’t safe for cooking, you can quickly warm up cold tap water with a coffee maker or electric kettle to jumpstart the boiling process.
Keep the Pot Covered
It can be tempting to keep looking at your rice to see if it’s close to being ready.
However, it’s best to keep your pot or saucepan covered to prevent the heat from escaping and from boiling over.
You should vent the pot regularly to prevent pressure from building up or leave a small opening on one side by placing the lid at an angle.
Resist the urge to keep checking on the rice to speed up the boiling process.
Note: There is a myth that salt can cause water to take longer to boil. Don’t hesitate to add salt to the cooking water to season your rice since the quantities you use for cooking won’t make a difference.
Should You Use a Rice Cooker Instead?
Rice cookers typically take longer to cook rice. On average, it will take 25 to 30 minutes to prepare a cup or two.
However, since large quantities of rice will require a large pot and you’ll have to wait longer for the water to boil, using a rice cooker makes sense if you need to make four cups of rice or more.
Make sure you use the right quantity of water if you decide to make your rice with a rice cooker.
You should use a cup of water for one cup of rice.
If you use too much water, the rice cooker will warm it up at a slower pace.
Other Options to Explore When You Forget to Cook the Rice
If you forget to make rice, you’ll have to delay the meal by at least 30 minutes to boil some rice and slightly longer to prepare a larger quantity of rice in a rice cooker.
If you can’t wait that long, there are a few other options to explore.
Use Instant Rice or Parboiled Rice
Converted or parboiled rice is a type of rice that you can purchase after it has gone through partial cooking and drying.
This process helps the rice retain more nutrients, but you’ll still have to boil the rice for 20 to 25 minutes, which doesn’t help you save a lot of time if you’re in a hurry.
However, instant rice is a great option if you forgot to make the rice. Instant rice is precooked and dried.
Depending on the brand you get, you’ll have to boil it for five minutes or microwave it for a few minutes if you opt for dehydrated rice.
Because instant rice cooks so fast, it might be a good option to run to a nearby store to buy a box and take five minutes to prepare it.
Tip: Instant rice has a shelf life of four to five years. You should keep a few boxes in your pantry in case you ever forget to make rice.
Riced vegetables are a healthy alternative to rice. You can rice a vegetable with a food processor or simply by using a cheese grater.
Preparing riced vegetables is faster than boiling rice since you cut and serve the vegetables raw.
You can use riced cauliflower, riced broccoli, or riced cabbage.
Don’t hesitate to mix different vegetables to create interesting flavor combinations.
Tip: You can use leftover vegetables by ricing them and storing them in the freezer.
If you don’t have time to make rice, you can replace it with another grain:
Couscous is your best option if you’re in a hurry. Whole-wheat couscous is rich in carbs, protein, and fiber.
The texture is finer than rice, but it can bring an interesting twist to your favorite recipes.
You can boil a cup of couscous for 10 minutes.
Pasta is another good choice since you can typically prepare pasta in 10 to 12 minutes, with smaller shapes taking as little as 6 to 8 minutes.
However, the pasta will add calories to your dish.
Barley and quinoa are healthier choices, but these grains take slightly longer than rice to boil, which doesn’t make them good options if you’re in a hurry.
Here are a few additional things to know about cooking rice.
Is It Safe to Eat Undercooked Rice?
You shouldn’t serve undercooked rice to save time. It’s difficult to digest, and rice sometimes carries the bacteria Bacillus Cereus which can cause food poisoning.
Is there a type of rice that cooks faster?
Basmati rice cooks a little faster than white or brown rice, but it’s not a significant difference.
Should You Rinse Rice Before Cooking It?
You might be tempted to skip this step if you’re in a hurry.
However, rinsing rice removes excess starch and will remove contaminants that might be present on the surface of the rice.
When you forget to cook the rice, you should count on delaying the meal by at least thirty minutes.
However, there are other options to explore, including instant rice, riced vegetables, and other grains.