Work Lunch Hack: Microwave Rice

After failing all of last week in packing homemade lunches for work, this morning I pulled the fridge open anticipating some need for creativity in pulling together my brown bag given that we were out of town over the weekend and I had not yet made it to the grocery story for this week’s food. I was determined, though, to pack a lunch in effort to keep our food costs down this month.

As I quickly scanned the meager supply of food, something I had forgotten about caught my eye–left over chana masala from a Sindhu on Friday. The chickpea dish would be perfect for a filling Monday lunch. Score!

Until I realized that I didn’t bring any rice from the restaurant, and we did not have any already made rice in the house. I thought the dish too salty and spicy to eat by itself and was about to resign to a lunch of peanut butter and jelly and carrot sticks when a thought occurred to me: I wonder if I can cook rice in the microwave at work?

A quick Google search seemed to indicate that this was a completely acceptable way to cook rice. I didn’t read any of the articles closely enough to decide which to follow. So just going for it, I poured 2/3 of a cup of white rice into a 4 cup Pyrex container along with a tablespoon or so of oil, some salt, and some garlic powder.

A little before the lunch hour, I put some water into the Pyrex, just eyeballing it to get the proper ratio. My mom’s distaste for “mushy” or “wet” rice has influenced the way that I cook it, and I suspected I would need less water than what the on-line recipes said.

I covered the Pyrex and put it in the microwave for 10 minutes while finishing up other things from the morning. When I returned, I could tell the rice wasn’t completely cooked yet, and there didn’t appear to be any water left to continue the cooking process. I added a little more, and then recovered the dish, put it in the microwave for another 5 minutes, and tested it.

It looked perfect! I stirred in the reheated chana masala and had a lovely lunch. That said, about a third of the way through my food, I realized that the rice was still a little too crunchy.

Next time I will add more water (I’ll try to get more precise measurements, but I would guess at least 1 1/4 cups of water to the 2/3 cup of rice), and microwave it for 15 minutes from the get go.

But the important part is that there will be a next time! I’m so excited I don’t have to worry about cooking (or saving at a restaurant) enough rice to enjoy leftovers from a previous dinner. I can just bring my own rice and use the microwave at work. Yum.

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