Puja taught me how to cook basmati rice many years ago but I was never completely happy with it because whenever we would go out to a restaurant the rice seemed so much better to me. It was a problem that lingered with me for years until I finally decided to sit down and figure out how to cook basmati perfectly. After doing some research and taking my time with it, it came out perfectly on the first batch, no experimentation needed. Because the trick is so easy. It just takes a little time.
The trick is, you have to soak the rice for 30 minutes. We were doing everything else right, but it was taking this one shortcut that made such a difference. When you let the rice soak the grains expand, blooming almost like a flower. The difference is all texture. And I’m not even sure I feel the difference in my mouth, but we eat first with our eyes. But I also think when you prepare the rice correctly it will absorb gravy better, which is all important when you eat some of my favorite dishes, like butter chicken, or paneer makhani.
Please trust me, take the full hour to prepare your rice instead of half, it’s worth it!
1 cup Basmati Rice
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
A splash of oil (vegetable, olive oil or a bit of butter)
1/8 tsp turmeric (optional)
Rinse the rice thoroughly with water to remove any excess starch.
Soak the rice with plenty of water for 30 minutes. You can do this in a separate bowl or the pot you are going to cook the rice in.
Drain the water.
Add the soaked rice to the pot. Add 2 cups water, salt to taste and a splash of oil. The oil will help prevent the water from boiling over which is caused by the starch in the rice, and some people say it also adds flavor.
Bring to a boil under medium-high heat, uncovered.
When it starts boiling, cover and lower the heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes.
After fifteen minutes, take the lid off. If there is any excess water, allow it to boil off. Fluff with a fork, you are done.
(Optional) You can add a bit of color by mixing about an eighth teaspoon of turmeric with a tablespoon of water, then adding a handful of some still hot rice to your mixture. Then mix this rice back into the white rice.