Cooking rice should be one of the most basic kitchen tasks, yet it’s amazing how many cooks get it wrong.

Instead of a pan of fluffy rice with distinct grains, it’s all too easy to produce either a sticky lump of white stuff, or undercooked, inedible grains.

[Read more: How to make the perfect boiled egg]

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But with a little know-how you can produce the perfect pan of rice every time.

Here’s what to do:

1. Use 75g of dry rice per serving or, to make it easier, use one good handful per person.

2. Put long-grain rice in a colander and wash it thoroughly in cold water, until the water runs clear. This removes starch, making the rice less sticky.

3. Put the rice in a heavy-based saucepan (to prevent the rice sticking to the bottom) with double the amount of water to rice (so 150ml of water per 75g of rice). Brown rice generally needs more water, shorter-grain rice requires less.

4. Add a good pinch of salt and stir just once. Don’t stir the rice during cooking, as it will make it sticky.

5. Cover with a tight lid, so steam can’t escape as this helps the rice cook, and bring to the boil before turning the heat low so the rice simmers.

6. Leave to cook for around 12 minutes until the water’s been absorbed. Don’t take the lid off.

7. Take the pan off the heat and let the rice rest, with the lid on, for at least five minutes. This allows the moisture in the rice to redistribute for a more uniform texture throughout.

8. Use a fork to fluff up the rice before serving.

Alternatively, rice can be cooked in a microwave. Simply rinse the rice and put the same proportions of rice to water as you’d use for the stove top method in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cook it uncovered on the highest heat for 10 minutes, without stirring, and then for another 10-15 minutes on the lowest setting. Fluff with a fork and serve.

How do you cook you rice? Let us know in the Comments section below.