Foolproof, and I mean foolproof, Basmati Rice

(17 Posts)
EarlGreyTeabag Fri 10-May-13 14:04:50

Amazing how many different methods there are!

My way of cooking perfect basmati rice is as follows:

1) Fill a large pan with plenty of water & bring to the boil
2) Add rice (no salt)
3) Set a timer for 12 minutes
4) Fill the kettle & put it on to boil
5) Stir rice with a fork to separate the grains
6) Keep the pan on a nice steady boil
7) When the 12 minutes are up, drain the rice through a colander
8) Pour the contents of the boiled kettle over the rice & give it a good shake to get rid of the excess water

Result: Perfect, fluffy, non-starchy rice that doesn't go all clumpy.

Surya Fri 10-May-13 13:52:55

Okay, I'm Indian, and this is how I do basmati rice, and my can't-cook-won't-cook non-Indian husband can now cook Basmati rice perfectly. The key is to use a pan with a tight fitting lid, and cook it quickly with as little water as possible, so that it effectively steams rather than boils: its the steam pushing through the rice grains which plumps them up as much as possible and results in every grain being separate. IMHO, basmati rice is supposed to stick together as little as possible (so don't try to make sushi with it, or eat it with chopsticks. Please don't ask me how I know this).

Cooking basmati rice: an essay

Measure out your rice into a measuring jug (I use 1 cup for two people), and soak it in plenty of water. I have to admit that I don't bother rinsing it repeatedly, but my mother would. But then I think the rice you buy in the UK is much cleaner and has less bits in that what you'd get India usually. Soak for 30 minutes: this is key, because the rice sucks up some of the water and cooks quicker and in less water. I just put the rice to soak first thing, while I get on with cooking the veggies/daal and everything else, and then do the rice as the last thing. Longer soaking in the fridge (eg. overnight) is also fine IME.

Then, drain the rice in a sieve and leave it there, put your pan on high heat, and put your kettle on the boil. If you want, you can melt some butter/ghee in the pan and sizzle some spices in it (bashed up green cardamoms are lovely and smell nice). But I usually don't bother, and just dump the drained rice from the sieve into the hot pan as the kettle comes to the boil. Measure out the same volume of boiling water into the measuring jug (so for one cup of rice, you want one cup of water) and put over the rice. It won't look like its enough, but trust me, if you've soaked the rice, it is. Add salt to taste, quickly slap on the lid, and once the water is boiling again (a transparent lid is useful to judge this, or just don't put the lid on until you've got the water boiling), which won't be long at all if you've got the pan hot beforehand, turn the heat right down as low as it will go, and set a timer for 10 minutes.

Don't lift the lid at all in the meantime, or do anything except completely ignore the pan for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, you have my permission to lift the lid, and pinch off some rice to taste it. If its a bit underdone, then put the lid back on and maybe a tablespoon or two more water and give it another 3-5 minutes, but I rarely have to do this (ithough f you're used to more gloopy, overcooked rice, then this may well taste a bit underdone to you: the world won't end of you decide that your personal timing is more like 12 rather than 10 minutes). Take the pan off the heat once the rice is done, and if you stick a clean dishcloth under the lid and then put it back on, the rice will keep hot for a good 30 mins-an hour afterwards.

Apologies for the essay: the doing is much easier than writing the detailed instructions!

If I don't have time to soak the rice for 30 minutes, then I cook it in 1 and a half times its volume of water in exactly the same way, for 15 minutes, but its not quite as 'every grain separate' this way.

Chocotrekkie Fri 10-May-13 13:29:15

Uncle bens/Veet microwave ones.

Buy packet, follow microwave instructions.. Ping.. Perfect.

I can cook virtually anything but can't make good rice.

Basmati rice is supposed to stick together quite a bit...
But,
Measure out 1 mug rice. Rinse it. Add slightly more than 2 mugs cold water per mug of rice.

(mug used in our house as 1 mug of rice gives us the right amount for a meal!)

Bring to boil. Boil fast for 1 min or so. Turn off heat and put lid on saucepan. Leave for at least 20 mins. WHen you go back to it the rice will be huge and fluffly (but a bit sticky too, cos its supposed to be).

If I try to keep it boiling in the pan cos we're in a hurry, it ends up a mess. So the leaving it in the pan to just do its own thing is the way to go.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 10-May-13 13:22:28

1. Get plenty of salted water properly boiling.
2. Throw in the rice all at once.
3. Bring back to the boil, turn to a simmer, put on a lid.
4. Set your timer for 10 minutes precisely.
5. When the time is up shoot the whole lot through a sieve
6. Rest the sieve containing the rice on top of the hot, empty pan and put the lid over the top until you're ready to serve.

SanityClause Fri 10-May-13 10:20:48

Rice is so easy. There is no "trick"!

Measure the rice by volume. Put twice the volume of water in. Cover the pan with a well fitting lid. Bring to the boil, then turn down to the lowest you can. Check after about 10 mins. If the water is not all absorbed, then put the lid back on and cook for a bit longer.

When all the liquid is absorbed, fluff up the rice with a fork.

AnonYonimousBird Fri 10-May-13 10:06:08

Thank you everyone! I have thought about a rice cooker, my friend has one, but a) it overflows everywhere (possibly her fault rather than the machine, but quite off putting!) and b) more crucially, I don't have room to store it. I would also like a food processor and a microwave, but literally nowhere to put them!

I rinsed it loads, then simmered, lid on, very very gently. Then turned heat off and left it a bit. Then boiling water through it.

Not amazing, but was considerably better than my previous efforts - edible at least! So thanks all

Chopstheduck Fri 10-May-13 07:28:54

Wash it thoroughly in warm water til it runs clear. Soak for at least 30 mins before cooking. Change water again, cold water, bring to the boil, and usually a couple minutes after it starts to try to boil over and it is perfect. Also, buy Tilda rice, it's nice and fluffy. Cheap rice does clump.

Coconutfeet Fri 10-May-13 07:22:09

I've always been a good cook, but have never for the life of me been able to cook rice. Since an Asian friend taught me her method, which works perfectly every single time, I've not had a single soggy rice disaster.

Wash rice well in several changes of water.
Put it in a pan and top up with cold water. The water should cover the rice so that it comes up to the knuckle on your thumb.
Bring to boil. As soon as it's boiling, turn the heat off and put a tight fitting lid on.
Leave for about 10 minutes and all the water will be absorbed and you should have perfectly fluffy rice.

You can achieve the same thing in a rice cooker with none of the faff though grin. It boils the rice and then steams it/keeps it warm. You get lovely fluffy rice and a lovely crusty bit at the bottom.

flamingtoaster Thu 09-May-13 20:37:27

This method of cooking rice was taught to my MIL by a Chinese cook - it is totally foolproof.

Rinse the rice in lots of cold water until it runs clear.
Boil the rice for approximately half the time suggested.
Rinse the rise with boiling water and place in a steamer.
Steam until it is as soft as you personally prefer.

This works perfectly every time - and has the advantage that the rice can "wait" for a bit if you are distracted!

Buy a cheap rice cooker. You will never have terrible rice ever again. You just throw everything in, put the lit on, flick the switch and leave it until it's done.

Mine cost £15 in ikea and it's been going for years. It comes with a little measuring cup and some lines on the bowl (but I just measure the rice in a mug and then add about double the amount of water). I usually wash the rice first too.

Accentuatethepositive Thu 09-May-13 20:27:31

I use a measuring jug and measure out 2 fluid oz of rice per person. Then double the volume of water. In a pan with a lid on, when it boils turn as low as it will go and simmer for 12 mins DO NOT REMOVE LID! Check if it's cooked and all the water absorbed, if not another minute or two. Heat off, leave to stand-lid still on- for 2 mins then enjoy!

Think this is courtesy of Nigel slater but with the measuring jug bit coming from delia. Works every time for me!

iseenodust Thu 09-May-13 20:09:56

I tend to go for a bigger pan and a bit more water. If when it's done it looks a bit like goo, I drain in a sieve and then pour boiling water from the kettle through it until that runs clear. Then let rice stand for a couple of minutes.

MeDented Thu 09-May-13 20:07:52

'Wash' the rice first, I chuck it in a sieve and hold it under the cold water tap with the pressure up high.

Elkieb Thu 09-May-13 20:03:25

How many are you feeding? I give a mugs worth for two generous portions. So, put one mug into a small saucepan, and then 2 mugs of water. And a little salt. Put on the hob on the highest setting. As soon as the water starts to boil put a lid on the pan, turn the heat down to low so that the water barely bubbles. Come back in 10mins. If the water has gone the rice should be very nearly cooked. Take the lid off, take the pan off of the heat and leave for 5 mins. It should be perfect. Good luck! grin

AnonYonimousBird Thu 09-May-13 19:47:23

I have a pack of "regular" Basmati e. it's not easy cook.

I am singularly unsuccessful in cooking it, it's always just a clump of goo, and frankly just not very nice.

I've run out of my easy cook and tonight's supper requires rice really, so please please tell me, how do I cook Basmati without it just going yuk on me????

TIA

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