How to Cook Rice without a Rice Cooker | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

How to Cook Rice without a Rice Cooker

How to Cook Rice without a Rice Cooker

As the temperatures continue to sink, my interests in making clay pot rice have grown continually. I truly enjoy how it helps warm my kitchen and cook rice to the perfect texture.

To us Chinese, a good pot of rice should be evenly cooked, fluffy yet not mushy, and and each grain of cooked rice should remain in good shape – isn’t this sounds like al dente? My preferred way of al dente, however, is to have the grain cooked through than firm at the core.

With a clay pot, apart from having some smoky flavor infused from the vessel, I may even make my rice with a nice crusty layer at the bottom. What I need is to char the pot of rice over a very gentle heat plus a spoonful of oil at the right time.

How to Cook Rice with a Crust

That little trick of adding oil helps not only making the step easier, quicker, but also no fuss. Besides, there will be no sticking to the bottom. To produce crust all over the bottom (my gas stove on low heat has flame concentrated on one spot), I even shifted the position of my clay pot so that every part of its base had more or less equal contact with the flame.

How to Cook Rice with a CrustHow to Cook Rice with a Crust

In case you like cooking rice without crust, then it is not necessary to limit yourself to the use of a clay pot. My cast iron and heavy-bottom stainless pot have both proved to be efficient too.

How to Cook Rice in a Pot

Here is the right moment for adding the oil: when rice absorbs most of the water content, yet still looking very moist, and there are holes (craters-like) appear over the surface, swirl in the oil along the side of the pot.

How to Cook Rice with a Crust

Cooking rice with a pot is simple in every way and yet it is hard for me to commit the steps to details as I have been doing them like reflexes (after repeating it for years). Still I’d love to try to walk you through as much as I could. The key point is, observation is important especially if this way is new to you because regulating heat at the right moments is crucial in making a good pot of rice.

And, be sure the cooked rice is rested enough, covered, before serving.

A note on rinsing rice
You may use a fine colander to rinse the rice under running water, to me, however I have get used to doing it in a bowl or the same pot to be cooked over the stove. Doing such, there will be an excellent visual clue as when the water is turned from milky to clear. To drain, I’d rest one of my hands beneath it, catching any falling grains from the bowl, if any.

How to Rinsing Rice Step by Step

  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 C rice, I use jasmine rice
  • 3/4 C water (rice:water ~ 1:1.5)
  • 1/2 tbsp cooking oil, optional
  • yields about 2 bowls of cooked rice


To rinse rice, cover it with several cm of tap water in a large bowl (I use the same clay pot to be cooked on stove). Swirl fingers in the water, stirring rice. Tilt the bowl to drain. After the first drain, again swirl the rice briefly against the side of the bowl but without water, causing the grains to rub against each other. Rinse rice in several changes of water until water comes out clear.

Put rice and water in pot, shaking gently to distribute the rice evenly. Cover.

Over medium high heat, bring it to a boil, about 5 to 7 minutes, when you see water bubbles to rim of the lid.

Adjust heat to low, leaving the lid slightly opened, if water spills. When spilling or bubbling subsides (holes start to appear), about 3 to 5 minutes, swirl in oil along the edge of clay pot if you want to produce a crust.

Cover lid again and simmer for another 5 minutes, shifting the position of pot as required.

Heat off, and rest for at least 10 minutes with lid covered.

Open, fluff the rice with chopsticks or fork. Serve hot.

How to Cook Rice without a Rice Cooker


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  1. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    I usually cook rice using a normal pot. I would love to try it with clay pot. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. The Missing Lokness

    This looks so good!!! I want clay pot rice now! Just need to add a chinese sausage. That would be perfect.

  3. TasteHongKong

    @The Missing Lokness,
    Agree, with the sausage fat added to rice, plus some soy sauce, that is already a simple and delicious treat.

  4. Stephanie

    I have always cooked rice on the stove.. never owned a rice cooker until I moved in with my boyfriend. So much easier in the rice cooker! My method is similar to yours but in a metal pot 🙂

  5. Lori

    I really enjoyed this tutorial. Rice is such a simple dish, but hard to cook perfectly. And also cooked differently in other cultures. Some friends taught me how to make rice when we were in Brazil. I’m glad to have now the Chinese method to try.

  6. Lisa H.

    Excellent step by step photos 😀
    Its been years since I last cook my rice on the stove…
    I am not sure I can anymore without making thicker crust and ended up with half burnt rice 🙁

  7. Lucy L

    Excellent post!! Thanks for sharing this along with tips and advice, I have never tried making rice in a claypot before, but have been wanting to for ages!

    I will be in HK in a few weeks (I’m getting married in hk!) and will be shopping for one of these claypot! But not before I’ve eaten a good claypot rice at Kwan Kee’s =)

  8. TasteHongKong

    @Lucy L,
    Congratulations Lucy! Thanks for sharing with me your good news. I wish you a wonderful wedding and a happy marriage (+ endless happy cooking moments). Good luck and have a great time in H.K.!

  9. Mary Moh

    I don’t use rice cooker to cook rice. I just use my usual metal pot with thick base. have yet to try with the clay pot. Then I can cook clay pot chicken rice which is a very popular dish in Malaysia. Now I’m craving for it….hmmm. maybe I should ask hubby for a nice clay pot for Christmas…hehe. But wait, may be not. Otherwise I’m going to face his endless demand for more good food! 😛

  10. tigerfish

    The part about adding oil at the right minute is so similar to how they make golden-brown crisp-at-the-bottom 锅贴! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing all the valuable tips!

  11. Lucy L

    Thank youu Maureen! 🙂

  12. Juliana

    Oh Maureen, I love rice cooked in clay pot…but never tried it at home…I love the crust…and every time eating out, I kind of feel sorry for the people cleaning the rice crust. I like the trick of adding oil 🙂
    Have a wonderful week!

  13. TasteHongKong

    That gives us one more reason to make this at home : ) because we may cook it on a very moderate heat (plus that little trick of oil) to minimize sticking. In case these is any small scorches in the clay pot, I find it pretty easy to remove it by using baking soda like this.

  14. Josie

    What a joy to find such clear thniikng. Thanks for posting!

  15. Lena

    oh, thanks for sharing on the oil tip!

  16. kristy

    Yeah, it’s not easy cooking rice without a rice cooker. Have to watch the heat the whole time if cooking with pot or claypot this way. haha…. The beginner will sure burn the rice. :o)

  17. Melissa Loh

    The crusty bottom is the best part of claypot rice. It’s almost like a cracker and is amazing with salty pork. Pity we don’t have a gas stove to make this at home.

  18. Daisy

    I love cooking rice with clay pots, but I didn’t know that there was a way to get crust without it sticking. Thanks for sharing the know-how ^.^

    Also, will this method for making crust work with a stainless steel pot? If not, do you know a method to?

  19. TasteHongKong

    I doubt if it can, at least the one I own doesn’t produce crust as beautiful as those from the clay pot. Sorry that I do not know if there is a method.

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  23. Michael

    great site

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