Do you just throw rice in a saucepan, top it up with water and hope for the best? Odds are that you end up with a bit of a sticky, clumped together mess and not the fluffy grains you were dreaming of.
Possibly the most important step to cooking rice is to rinse. Rinse, rinse and rinse once more, for good measure. The main reason for doing this is because it removes the surface layer of starch. You can literally see these starchy particles as you rinse, clouding the water, and you should keep rinsing until the water is much clearer. If you skip this step, the rice sticks together and the result is a gummy texture.
The best way to rinse rice? You can use a sieve and run it under a cold water tap, moving it round, until the water is a little clearer. We've also found that you can just top up the rice with water in the saucepan, let the rice settle and then tip off the cloudy water. Do this a few more times until the water is less murky, and you're ready to go.
For the best cooking method, it has to involve a tea-towel. First off, put the rice in a saucepan and add double the amount of boiling water, plus a good amount of salt (at least 1/2 teaspoon). Give it one stir, put the lid on and allow it to cook for 15 minutes on a low heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat, take the lid off and place a clean tea-towel over the top with the lid, and allow to rest for another 10 minutes.
Follow the above steps - with the additional but necessary rinsing step - and you'll find yourself serving up perfectly fluffy rice.