I’ve been making Basmati rice for many, many years although the first time I made it is a time I look back on and have to laugh just a bit. I had never seen rice other than white grain or wheat bran rice, let alone cooked with it. I found it a common rice, sometimes the only type of rice offered up in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean grocery stores in the ethnic neighborhoods around Columbus, Ohio. It was the closest place to travel- 45 minutes outside of my college town of Athens, Ohio where I could find international foods. Just opening up the bag to the noticeably different aroma made me interested in making it. Here’s the funny part- the first time I made it, I never rinsed it. Well, we never had to rinse packets of rice or bags of rice at home so why would you have to rinse rice? Well, because this was not processed rice in the same sense that the grocery store rice I was used to had been. It had also most likely been in store houses and the packaging wasn’t as ‘secure’ as other boxes so it had to be cleaned to get rid of any loose stones, dirt or maybe any ‘buggers’. Uck! And I cooked it the first time without cleaning it. No one ate it, of course. I re-made the rice, washing it about seven times. Soak, swoosh, rinse. Repeat. Soak, swoosh, rinse. Repeat. And so on… Today, I still do that. Just thinking back- thank goodness I was stopped from eating that real definition of dirty rice, I guess you could have called it. Alhamdullialh. So, first step is to cover the suggested amount of rice in a bowl. Add water- doesn’t matter the amount, just enough to cover and allow you to swoosh it around. This also helps to remove some of the starch (once you rinse it). Once you’re done swooshing it around with clean hands, you’ll be able to see any impurities come to the surface. This bowl seems to look pretty clean, although there’s a lot of starch in there as you can tell from the cloudy surface.
You can either drain the water out, but repeat the process several times, or you can rinse it by putting the rice in a colander with small holes so that the grains don’t fall through. I like the bowl method the best.
Now here’s where I don’t have photos to show so you’ll just hopefully take my word for it in terms of cooking.
I like to add onions to my ‘plain’ Basmati rice, but you can certainly skip this method. I use a medium-large deep bottom sauce pan, depending upon how large the amount you want to make. I sauté the onions in butter or ghee then add the rice that has been fully drained of any water. I sauté the rice for just a minute or so, just to blend it in with the butter or oil and the onions. It almost smells like popcorn when it’s cooking, it’s so aromatic.
I then add water just to cover the rice (exact measurements in the recipe below), although when I first learned how to make it I learned how to eyeball it.
Once the water covers the rice, bring it to a boil, then immediately turn the heat to low and cover the pot.
Here’s the best way to cover the pot (sorry about not having a photo): Use a cotton towel to cover the pot first, then add the appropriate lid. I’ve seen some people use aluminum foil instead of a towel, but I not only think the towel works best but I also don’t like the thought of aluminum anything near my food. The overall purpose of all of this is to collect moisture in the pot.
The other important thing to remember is to never, ever, never peek into the pot to see if it’s done. When you do that, you waste valuable steam which really does affect how the rice cooks.
The effect you want is a fluffy, well-cooked rice that separates nicely with a fork.
Although I always eat mine with a spoon.
What about you? Do you cook Basmati rice often? How do you do it? Have you ever tasted it at all?
- 1.5 cups Basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
- 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
- 1/3 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1.5 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Rinse the rice several times or put it in a bowl first, then swish it around to bring any impurities to the top. Drain the water out and rinse the rice a couple of times.
- In a deep bottom sauté pan, heat the butter and oil. Add the onion and sauté until translucent.
- Add the rice and sauté slightly, then add the water and salt.
- Bring to a boil then immediately lower the heat. Place a clean cotton towel over the top, but be careful that no edges are anywhere near the flame or heat. Place the lid onto the pan, too.
- Keep heat on low and cook this way for 20 minutes without opening until the very end.
- Once opened, remove the lid and let the remaining steam out.
- Serve immediately, as desired.