How to Use Ratios When Cooking Rice

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The age-old question about when a student will use a concept from math class comes full circle when you steam rice. Calculating how much rice and water to use triggers what you learned about ratios and proportions in those long-forgotten lessons. Many cookbooks recommend 1 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of uncooked rice to make four 1/2-cup servings, which gives you the starting points for the two different ratios you’ll need.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil

How Much Rice for Your Guest List

  • Write down the ratio of rice to servings you already know, which is 1:4. Rewrite the ratio as the fraction 1/4.

  • Write another fraction next to the first, with the number of servings you need on the bottom. For example, for eight people, write 1/4 = R/8, with the “R” standing for the rice amount. For two people, the equation would be 1/4 = R/2.

  • Cross-multiply so that you have 1 x number of people = 4 x R. For the first example, this means 8 = 4R. For the second example, it would be 2 = 4R.

  • Divide everything by four to get the cups of rice needed. For eight people, use 2 cups of uncooked white rice; for two people, use 1/2 cup.

How Much Water for the Rice

  • Write the known ratio: 1.5:1 (1 1/2 cup of water to 1 cup of rice). Write it as a fraction: 1.5/1.

  • Write the new ratio as “W” (for water) over rice. For 2 cups of uncooked rice, that means 1.5/1 = W/2.

  • Cross-multiply for the equation. The example gives you 1.5 x 2 = 1 x W.

  • Multiply the ratio. In the example, you would find 3 = W. Use 3 cups of water for 2 cups of uncooked white rice.

References

  • Photo Credit Blue Jean Images/Photodisc/Getty Images
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