I was pretty horrified watching Masterchef a while ago to see how many of the contestants couldn't cook rice. (Even more horrified by the one who said she didn't like rice, but I'm trying to forget I even heard it).
But if people entering a cooking competition are struggling with it then there must be lots of others unsure too. I used to find rice trickybut that was mainly to do with how much conflicting advice there seemed to be on cooking it: to drain it, or to use an absorption method? To wash the starch out of the grains or not? To cover the pan or leave it uncovered?
The very easiest way of course really is to invest in a rice cooker. When I lived in Thailand one of the first jobs each morning was to get the big rice cooker on so there would be rice available all day.
Just as an aside, the Thai for 'eat' is to 'gin (with a hard 'g') kao' or literally 'eat rice'. I love this, it just shows the significance of rice. How someone entering a cooking competition can dislike rice when it forms the mainstay of so many people's diet and given how incredibly versatile it is, is beyond me! (I really need to try harder to forget I heard she said that ...)
Anyway. I think most people, as I did, eventually find the way of cooking rice that works for them, but if you haven't found one that suits you yet, I thought I'd share mine here for you to try.
I don't know why, but I find the thought of washing rice unbearably boring, so I don't do it, I just use it the way it comes.
I have a measuring container for rice that I fill to the top for two servings. It says 160 which must be ml so you could use a measuring jug and measure by volume. Or it seems to be about half a cup.
To be honest I never think it looks enough and always end up adding more and cooking too much. That's fine though as when it's cool I just pop it in the fridge to make a fried rice (kao pad) the next day.
Bring a pan of water (and a pinch of salt) to the boil and, when boiling, throw in the rice.
When it returns to the boil start timing and boil for 12 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Drain into a sieve leaving a bit of water behind in the pan and, very quickly - so the pan, water and rice are still very hot - put the sieve over the pan and add a tight-fitting lid or cover with foil.
Leave to steam for ten minutes and then just separate the grains and fluff with a fork.
It works for me every time. Let me know if it does for you too, or if you have a different foolproof method, please share it!