When it comes to cooking rice, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your chosen cooking method’s energy efficiency – but this is absolutely something that you should think about. Choosing an energy-inefficient method can be a sure way of making your bowl of rice or rice dish a lot more expensive than it might otherwise have needed to be!
Therefore, considering the energy efficiency of the cooking apparatus should be key. To help with this, we have compared rice cookers’ energy efficiency vs conventional cooking to help you decide which type of cooking method would be best for you to use when cooking your next rice dish.
Conventional Cooking for Rice
Conventional rice cooking is probably what you think of immediately when you think about cooking rice. It is pretty simple. In general, when cooking rice using a conventional method, you will start by measuring your rice into your saucepan – after which point, there are many different ways to tackle this task! It often seems like everyone has their own unique method for cooking rice conventionally, and this will impact significantly on the energy efficiency of the process; note that when we talk about conventional rice cooking in this regard, we aren’t talking about cooking rice in a microwaveable packet but instead on the stove in a pan!
Best Methods for Conventionally Cooking Rice
If you are looking to cook your rice on a stove, you may be wondering about the most energy-efficient way of doing so without compromising the rice’s actual taste once you dish it up.
Step 1- Rinse the Rice
First, most people start by rinsing their rice in water to remove any excess starch from the outside of the rice grains. This step isn’t necessary if you are looking to save on water, but if you don’t do so, you may find that your cooked rice may seem to be clumpy and need to be broken down with a fork.
Step 2- Place in Pan & Add Water
Once you have rinsed the rice, you should pour your desired amount of rice into a pan and immerse it in water. If you want to make sure you are getting the best energy efficiency while conventionally cooking rice, it is important that you use the right ratio of water to rice. This helps to ensure the dish remains tasty without making it take too much energy to cook! If you don’t use enough water while cooking your rice, the water you have will likely evaporate away and leave the rice to burn on the pan’s base.
However, if you don’t use enough water while cooking your rice, then you might find that your rice takes a lot longer to cook and a lot more energy to cook through, too!
Water to Rice Ratio
Ideally, it’s advised that about 1 part rice to 1.5 parts water should be right for balancing energy efficiency with the quality of rice that you dish up. However, keep an eye on the rice during cooking, and if it needs more water, you may have to add a little more. This ratio generally means that for every 100g of rice you cook, you will need to use 150ml of water to get the best results.
Pro Efficiency Tip
To further maximize the energy efficiency of cooking rice conventionally, you should also use boiling water to add to your rice. Don’t add cold water to the rice and then attempt to heat this to boiling on the hob, as it will take far longer and use a lot more energy than just boiling the kettle first of all!
Step 3- Cooking the Rice
Once the rice and boiling water have been mixed in appropriate amounts, actually cooking the rice is very easy. Give the rice and water a stir before adding the lid to the saucepan over the heat. Putting the lid on is essential, as well as making sure the lid is one that fits the saucepan. This will help to prevent excess water from evaporating or boiling away. It will also keep the water in the system while also lessening heat loss, therefore maximizing the rices’ energy efficiency.
Step 4- Finishing Up
Finally, turn the temperature down on your stove and allow the rice to cook slowly; the water should retain a lot of the heat it had initially from boiling if the saucepan has a fitting lid, so this should continue slowly cooking the rice. Make sure you try to avoid the temptation of lifting the lid all the time to check the rice, as this will further reduce the energy efficiency of cooking by releasing a lot of the contained steam and heat!
Tips for Increasing Energy Efficiency of Conventional Cooking of Rice
Conventionally cooking rice is incredibly easy. However, there are a few tips that you can use to make sure you get the best possible energy efficiency from your conventional cooking methods. Understanding this is important as it will allow you to make the most of your rice and save money on your household energy bills.
Pan Choice & Size Matters
One of the most notable tips for improving conventional cooking efficiency is choosing a pan to give you satisfactory results. Newer pans are designed for superior energy efficiency and less heat loss, keeping heat within the system and preventing wasting energy.
Furthermore, always try to choose an appropriately sized pan when cooking rice as it can be easy to jump for the biggest pan in the cupboard, but a better option is to choose one that you can fill quite full with rice. Larger pans require proportionately more energy than a smaller pan, so you must choose the right sized pan to get the best energy efficiency possible.
Always make sure you use a lid when cooking rice in a pan, too. The right lid for your pan will keep water in the pan preventing the rice from drying out while also helping to trap more heat in it and lower the energy demands to keep the temperature constant.
Cooking Rice in a Rice Cooker
If you want to get a little more modern in your approach to cooking rice (as well as making life a whole lot easier), then looking into investing in a rice cooker could be a good option for you to consider. Rice cookers are great options for people looking for a quick, simple, and energy-efficient way of cooking rice.
Rice cookers can even be used to cook several different foods other than just rice, especially if you buy a specialist rice cooker designed to cook other ingredients. It can make them a highly useful tool to have in your home, especially if you eat rice regularly in your household as the improvements in energy efficiency will likely offset the rice cooker’s cost.
There is a detailed buyer’s guide on the best rice cookers, click here to check it out…
Best Methods for Cooking Rice in a Rice Cooker
Cooking rice in a rice cooker is one of the simplest things you’ll do in the kitchen, although you should always follow your rice cooker’s specific instructions for the best results. However, most rice cookers generally follow the same generic principles for cooking rice.
Rice Cooker Timers
Mot rice cookers will remain warm after the rice is cooked which is great for ensuring the whole meal is warm when done. And most rice cookers come with a timer as well which allows you to set it and continue cooking the rest of your meal without having to constantly keep an eye on your rice overcooking or sticking to the pan.
Step 1- Measure Your Rice / Water
First, when it comes to cooking rice in a rice cooker, you’ll want to start in the same way as a conventional cooking method for rice. Measure your rice to know how much you are cooking and then rinse the rice if you don’t want any clumps after it is fully cooked, to remove excess starch. Most rice cookers have a measuring line on the inside liner. Typically, one cup of uncooked rice will equal to be 1 ½ cups of cooked rice.
Step 2- Place in Cooker
Once the rinsed rice has been drained, you can then transfer the rice into the rice cooker itself and add required water. Again, about 1.5 times the amount of rice used will be appropriate for most rice types, although long grain rice may need a little more. Ideally, this water should be boiling prior to adding it in for the pan’s maximum energy efficiency.
Step 3- Plug in Cooker & Cook Rice!
Then, plug in your rice cooker and turn the unit on. You won’t need to monitor the rice during this time necessarily, as you would likely need to do with a conventional cooking method as your rice cooker should inform you of when the rice is fully cooked through and ready to be served up. Most rice cookers have a unique “keep warm” mode, which can be used to allow excess moisture to evaporate from the rice and for the rice to reabsorb any lost moisture, so you don’t end up serving up soggy rice to your family, friends or guests.
Tips for Increasing Energy Efficiency in Rice Cookers
Different rice cookers will naturally have different energy efficiencies based on their unique materials and construction. Furthermore, it is invariable that a large rice cooker will need more energy to keep itself functioning than a smaller one; therefore, you should try to choose a rice cooker that you will be able to keep full when cooking your rice to get the best energy efficiency from it. However, aside from only buying a more efficient rice cooker, there are a few ways in which you can increase the energy efficiency of your own rice cooker to get the most from your energy bills.
Keep Cover Tight
For one thing, something as simple as ensuring that the cover for the rice cooker is kept firmly in place is often overlooked but is incredibly simple to meet. Just make sure you check that the rice cooker’s lid is well fitted and in place before using it to get the best energy efficiency, as this will stop heat from escaping from the system.
Keep Rice Cooker Clean
Furthermore, always keeping your rice cookers clean can also ensure good energy efficiency when using your rice cooker. Any burned on rice and the like will limit the energy efficiency of your system and potentially increase the time and energy needed to cook your rice thoroughly; plus, let’s face it, who wants burned rice in their bowl anyway?
Which is Better: Energy Efficiency of Rice Cookers vs Conventional Cooking
So, when it comes to saving money on your energy bills and doing your bit for the environment too… which option for cooking rice is better, a rice cooker or conventional cooking?
Rice Cooker Almost Always Wins!
Well, the answer to this is almost always that a rice cooker is a more efficient method for cooking rice. Rice cookers are fully contained systems which typically have more insulation than a standard pan, and this means that they should require less energy to retain heat within the system. However, if you don’t use the rice cooker well or clean it out well, then the system’s energy efficiency could fall.
A Note on Efficiency Details
Also, both systems’ efficiency will depend on how you use them; for example, a very small saucepan filled high with rice could be more efficient than a large rice cooker only partially filled with the same amount of rice. Moreover, if your rice cooker has a lot of burned on rice around it, you may also find that the efficiency is less than it ought to be. Therefore, you should always try to think about this when thinking about the energy efficiency of the two different rice cooking methods.
We All Love Rice!
Rice is a staple part of our modern diets, and many of us will end up eating rice at least weekly if not more often. It makes a great side dish with any meal. Its versatility and suitability as a staple with many different sauces and dishes have primarily contributed to growing rice consumption. Therefore, being aware of your cooking method’s energy efficiency and ways to improve the efficiency of your chosen rice cooking method is important. It helps you save money on your energy bills and do your bit for the environment, too.