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Perfect Basmati Rice

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To some of us it is simple but for others, making good rice is such an intimidating mystery that an entire industry thrives on selling crappy instant rice products!

Home made rice is extremely easy once you get the hang of it. It's versatile, delicious, nutritious and costs only pennies per serving. There are dozens of types of rice, with very different flavors and applications. Most people will be familar with at least one or two varieties. White and brown. There are many sub-types within brown and white, not to mention the wild and other specialty types. I will show you how I make Basmati rice here. Basmati is a long grain rice with delicate flavor and a nice medium density bite. It is excellent for most asian dishes, as well as rice pudding and fried rice.
For sushi I use a shorter grain "pearl" type calrose rice, which tends to be softer and stickier than long grain Basmati. Some people prefer Jasmine, which has a distinct sweetness to it and falls somewhere between No wonder it is the staple food for most of the world.

Now, I do have a rice cooker which is fine for making large batches (especially good for when I make huge sushi spreads), but when I want to make rice for two or three plates, I do the tried and true pot on the stove method. Here is what I learned from watching my mom when I was about six years old.
 
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paizley29 days ago

I'm Japanese and love Basmati rice!!!! I have lots of varieties of rice in my pantry. When I make Japanese food, I use Japanese rice tho I have subbed arborio or Egyptian short grain. When I make Thai or Indian, Basmati is my choice. I also like red rice, black rice, wild, etc. I feel there is a rice for every dish as long as it's prepared correctly. Give me good rice over potatoes any day!!!!

paizley paizley29 days ago

Wanted to add...I never measure rice or water. Got that from my mother. She never measured anything, even when baking. I just use my index finger to determine the amount of water needed. Most Asians do it that way. Works all the time for most white rice types. I prefer stove top cooking rather than rice cooker but then I'm only one person and rice does not freeze well unless it's to be used in soup or something. In Asia, one does not waste rice!

paizley paizley29 days ago

OK, some more...the times I've tried to measure rice, water was big time FAIL!!!! I did this trying to tell people how to cook perfect rice. Yeah, right. Unless one understands the index finger method and has been shown multiple times and experimented, there's no way to quantify how it works?!

darus677 years ago
MMMmmm... jasime rice... You lost me at tofu, tho. I like rice cooked with chicken broth in place of some of the water.
rupamagic (author)  darus677 years ago
You know, when I was growing up the two things I "hated" were tofu and eggplant. I would eat anything else (lucky mom) but no matter what, no tofu or eggplant. Not until I was over thirty did I discover eggplant I LOVED at a Japanese restaurant in Seattle, and the tiny eggplants in India are also ymmy. And believe it or not, only recently have i started experimenting cooking tofu myself, and i find that if I buy the super firm, and brown it really well with a lot of seasoning, it's actually pretty good! After all, it's really just a flavor vehicle, so the trick is to find some that you like the texture of. I still can't stand the soft stuff, but give me some extra firm and a cupboard full of spices and I can chef it up!

I know you posted 7 yrs ago but I'm sure by now you've found out that unfermented soy is an endocrine disruptor. To eat it occasionally is fine. I used to eat it a lot but started limiting my consumption.

android2002 months ago

Adding salt after the rice has cooked goes contrary to all cooking methods for rice. Rice will not absorb salt after it is cooked.

llauren made it!2 months ago
And so there was rice
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peacenique1 year ago
LMAO! Good one!
And thanks for the instructions too!
YEAH, BUT IT STILL LOOKS PRETTY TACKY AND STICKY, AND THE GRAINS DON’T LOOK LIKE THERE ARE INDEPENDENT OR SEPARATE FROM EACH OTHER.

I KNOW IT CAN BE DONE BECAUSE I'VE HAD/TASTED RICE IN RESTAURANTS AND ELSEWHERE THAT WAS NOT THE SLIGHTEST BIT TACKY, STICKY, GUMMY, MUSHY, OR STARCHY AT ALL.

SO HOW DO YOU GET PROFESSIONAL RESULTS WHERE COOKED GRAINS OF RICE WILL NOT STICK TO EACH OTHER? THAT IS WHAT I WOULD LOVE, LOVE, LOVE TO KNOW.

I’VE TRIED DOING A LOT OF EXPERIMENTATION, USING VARIOUS TYPES OF RICE, COOKING IT EXACTLY HOW YOU JUST DESCRIBED AND INSTRUCTED, AS WELL AS MANY OTHER COOKING METHODS RECOMMENDED ON OTHER COOKING WEBSITES AND BLOGS. I’VE TRIED VARIOUS SOAKING TIMES AND METHODS. I’VE RINSED THE RICE SEVERAL TIMES WITH PURE, CLEAN, FILTERED WATER TO GET RID OF AS MUCH STARCH AS POSSIBLE, AND STILL IT COMES OUT TACKY, STICKY, AND STARCHY!! I’VE TRIED THE STOVE TOP, BAKING, BOILING, STEAMING, AND MICROWAVING METHODS, AND STILL IT COMES OUT TACKY, STICKY, AND STARCHY!! IT REALLY PISSES ME OFF!! I’M REALLY FRUSTRATED BY THIS, BECAUSE I WANT 100% PERFECTLY COOKED RICE: NOT SEMI-PERFECT, MEDIOCRE, PASSIBLE RICE, ACCEPTABLE, OR RICE THAT IS JUST OKAY. I WANT PERFECT RICE THAT IS COOKED TO PERFECTION AND IS SOFT, MOIST, TENDER, AND WILL NOT STICK TO EACH OTHER AT ALL. ANY SUGGESTIONS??
bigbang3 years ago
I've used this method twice with great results. I usually add a bit or margerine and salt to the water beforehand. I rinsed the first time, but not the second, and with the basmati rice I had it didn't make any difference to me so I'll opt for the easier method :) As a student with no time, I usually cook a big batch (3 cups rice, 4 cups water seems to work) and spread out on baking sheets so it'll cool faster to pop it in the fridge for the week. Thanks for the great 'ible.
Big Bwana7 years ago
Great Instructable !! I like making it, and I add a small spoonful of butter and a little salt added to the water before you cook it .... And SteveH, you should always rinse rice before cooking it, it' s nothing to do with powder or rocks, but rice is a natural product and since large volumes are coming from developing nations, there storage standards may not be upto what you might expect, honestly developed nations standards aren't that high either .. But rinsing your rice will remove most insect / foreign matter and pesticides that may be on your rice and it only takes a few seconds, and another tip is if any rice floats skim it off, these grains may contain or at one point they did contain an insect like a wheat / grain weevil..... And you won't miss one or two grains of rice ..... And if you live in a tropical climate, throw it in the freezer this fixes most insect problems with out chemicals..... Rupamagic you should try the dessert tofu, it's a soft tofu and I though it would be gross but it has subtle almond flavor a bit sweet and all round very good.....
Yum... rice. Nice job, my mom does this sometimes, it's really good! Great job!
SteveH7 years ago
Nice Instructable. I do mine a little differently though. I use the same amounts but add salt and either 1 table spoon* of olive oil or butter right in the beginning. I then cover and put on medium heat until the water boils to just below the level of the rice and then remove from heat and leave tightly covered for 20-30 min. Just like your instructions, it is very important to not let any of the steam out buy opening the lid. I then fluf and add additional salt if needed. I have seemed to get good results with this method. Not much different but letting people known so they can figure out what works for them.

Note on rinsing:
All rice that is sold in the US is required to be "enriched" with iron (ferric phosphate) and various vitamins (the bag I have has niacin which is vitamin B, thiamin mononitrate which is vitamin B1 and folic acid which is vitamin B9). These are added to the rice as a very fine powder that sticks to the rice. Rinsing removes these. This isn't a big deal if you have a balanced diet but if you want to receive these vitamins from your rice, don't rinse. I usually don't bother because I can't tell the difference between rinsed and non-rinsed.

  • sorry for the imperial measurements. I is so hard to switch in the US.
rupamagic (author)  SteveH7 years ago
Interesting note on the vitamin additives! I didn't know that was what I was washing off, I just know I like the taste and texture better when I rinse it as opposed to not. But I tend to be a bit... particular. And that's putting it gently. When I was a child, we used to find stones in the rice (my mom bought our rice in bulk from the Indian markets) and so it was my job to sift it and sort out the stones, much like Cinderella! Of course that was done to the rice dry. My mother also rinsed the rice so I have always done it. Later I worked in a restaurant where the old Chinese owner taught me to cook perfect white sticky rice without measuring, but that's not something to teach in an instructable. I think there's a little mojo involved.
Rinsing may well do other things to the rice. I doubt that the enriching powder does much to change the flavor or the texture of the rice. I would guess that in addition to the enriching powder there is also powder coming from the rice itself which would turn into a starch glue making it sticker. I don't know for sure and if you can tell the difference then by all means rinse. I used to look through the rice for bad kernels or rocks but I haven't found any in the rice that I get now so I stopped bothering. I guess I will start again if I break a tooth. On a more general note, I would encourage everyone to try some Jasmine or Basmati rice. It is sooooo much better than the normal white rice available at most grocery stores. I get mine at a health food store and they can be found at Asian markets or even at your local grocery store in some cases. The grocery store near my last house they sold a "Texamati" rice that was the same strain as Basmati but grown in Texas. It was just as good although for some reason it was more expensive than the Basmati I get now.