Introduction: Perfect Basmati Rice
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.
Step 1: Measure Your Rice and Water.
For simplicity's sake, start with 1.5 cups of water for one cup of dry long grain white (Basmati or Jasmine) rice. If you need to make a larger quantity, reduce the water ratio a bit closer to equal parts. Sushi rice is a whole different thing, which I may do another instructable for later to go with my sushi sushi sushi.
Remember you more than double your rice volume, so don't cook a full cup of rice per person! So, two cups of rice and two and a half cups of water will yield just over four cups of cooked rice. I find that is just right for four people, and we usually have leftovers for quicky fried rice the next day.
First put the rice and water in the pot. Place the pot on a level surface and put your (clean) finger in to touch the bottom of the pan. Make a mental note of where the water level hits your finger.
Step 2: Rinse Your Rice. Optional But Encouraged.
If you are in a hurry or for some other reason choose not to rinse your rice, skip ahead to step 3. Your rice will still be much better than any instant or "converted" packaged rice, sure... but I can only promise "perfect" results if you follow all the steps.
Now you will rinse the rice thoroughly. I usually find that filling the pot with water, swirling the rice around and draining the water out three times is sufficient. You want the water to be clear and free of the starchy cloudiness you notice in the first photo.
Now drain most of the water out the last rinsing and refill the pot just back to the level you noted with the measured water. The reason for this method as opposed to just draining and adding 1.5 cups of water for each cup of rice now is that the rice has absorbed some water during the rinsing process, and you will end up with mushy rice if you don't compensate for this.
As I said, you can skip this rinsing step if you must, but I find it really does make a difference. The final product is cleaner and lighter and the grains are more defined. If you want to cook unwashed rice, simply put the pot with the 1:1.5 rice-water ratio directly on the stove.
Step 3: Cook, Cover, Time.
Once you put the pot on the stove, start with medium-high heat and watch it until it begins to boil and bubble. As soon as it reaches a full boil, immediately turn the heat down to the point where it is just at a low simmer. You will see very tiny slow bubbles coming up to the surface, but no big frothy bubbles anymore. Usually this will be achieved by turning your burner dial to the low/simmer setting.
Cover as soon as you get it to the right heat for a simmer. Set your timer for 20 minutes and walk away. DO NOT OPEN it even to peek until the 20 minutes are up. This is of paramount importance if you want to end up with a successful pot of rice. I am not kidding. Not even a slight tilt of the lid! Leave it alone!
Step 4: Uncover and Fluff.
Once the time is up, remove the lid and fluff the rice up. You can add salt, pepper, butter, whatever... or just fluff it up! FLUFF with a large spoon or fork, but don't crush it, just fold it over a few times. Now serve it up!
Step 5: Serving Suggestion.
I've just sauteed some zucchini and tofu with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes for a delicious twenty-minute meal.
While the rice is cooking you have 20 minutes to make a quick stir fry or saute. Just whack a few vegetables in a pan with a touch of butter or olive oil, grind in some pepper and salt, sprinkle a few red pepper flakes for heat and stir it over medium heat for about ten minutes. Maybe a splash of soy sauce instead of the salt?
Dump it over that bowl of rice and Robert is the name of your mother's mother's son.