Perfect Basmati Rice

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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.

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Best no frills Basmati rice....heat up olive oil in deep pot, add onions and garlic (don't burn the garlic!) to taste pepper and salt, heat up and pour the rice into the pot to cook for a while until the rice is translucid...pour the water, ratio of 1 1/2 cup per cups of rice, bring to a boil, then as soon as it has reach boiling point, turn the heat to simmer and cover with a tight lid for 15 minutes exactly...don't peek, don't touch...put the timer on and uncover exactly after 15 minutes. I turn the rice over and add a pinch of saffron and frozen peas, mix and et sit, the peas will be ready in a few minutes....... Delicious!!!! Dry non-sticky and light fluffy rice all the time!!

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??

I can remember picking through rice and removing tiny stones debris etc, and rinsing at least 7 times before the water was clear. I stopped picking through years ago, and don't always rinse. It seems the processing has improved. Always use a non-stick pot. I pit a layer of aluminum foil under the lid to create a seal. Have your water, salt, ready. Use about 1 3/4 cups water to 1 cup of rice. A 1 to 1 ratio blows out delicate basmati. Use a fat tablespoon of ghee, or butter and put a HIGH heat under your pot- keep an eye on the butter and wait until most of the water has evaporated, you know this when the bubbles dissipate. If it gets brown, discard it. Ghee (clarified butter) is preferable.Saute the rice, stirring constantly for a minute, until all of the grains are translucent. You can smell the nuttiness. Throw in the measured water and salt,bring to a boil, it happens pretty quickly. Stir then slap the aluminum foil and lid on it- I always weigh it down with a filled teapot, or heavy lid. THEN turn the heat to as low as it can go. 20 minutes is too long to cook it. I admit I don't know exactly how long, but it's maybe less than 15. Don't touch it, and check on it by inserting a fork until you touch the bottom, and gently probing. Remove from heat,put the weighted lid back on and wait 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork. This technique was shown to me by a traditional Indian cook. I use it for most rices. The butter keeps each grain separated. You might burn the first few on the bottom a bit until you get the timing down. I think this will give you the results you desire.

While cooking add two teaspoon of Oil and two teaspoon of lemon juice. It will prevent sticking and keep freshness

White rice is not suppose to be as good for you as brown rice. I had a friend fix some Jasmine rice and I loved it. Can anyone tell me how the nutritional value of Jasmine or Basmati rice compares to brown rice? Thank you so much.

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!!!!

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!

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?!

MMMmmm... jasime rice... You lost me at tofu, tho. I like rice cooked with chicken broth in place of some of the water.

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!