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Saturday, December 31, 2005

The magic of Basmati!

OR "Making Basmati - 101" :)

Many may have heard of the phrase, "Basmati - the queen of rice!" And all those who have had a perfect bowl of Basmati know what I'm talking about.

Basmati literally means, "Queen of fragrance" in hindi. And thats what is. Lovely long grained rice, with a beautiful fragrance and delectable flavour..... if cooked to perfection, it can be an awesome companion to any gravy, curry, soup and superb just by itself!

Today I share with you some well known and some *may be* not so well known tips and tricks to get your basmati the best!

Before Cooking

Basmati rice has a lot of starch stuck to the grains and so it needs to be cleaned thoroughly before cooking or you'll end up with sticky grains.
Try washing it 2-3 times with your hands rubbing the grains to get the starch off, till the water stops becoming milky/pearly and instead stays clear. And when you think you're done - wash it one more time!

Cooking Basmati

We all make rice in lots of ways. Four most common ways are -
  • In a pressure cooker.
  • In a rice cooker.
  • In a microwave.
  • In a deep covered pot.
Preparation tips =>
  • Add a teaspoon of ghee / butter / olive oil / vegetable oil while cooking to ensure that the grains don't stick.
  • If making rice for savouries (not sweets),
    • add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to the water and rice, that way the grains cook longer!
    • try adding a teaspoon of cumin seeds (raw) if making rice to accompany curries. Boiled/steamed cumin tastes yumm.
    • try adding inch long strips of ginger (raw) when making rice for Rajma/Chhole, if you're a ginger lover - the crunchy ginger will taste divine when cooked.
  • Always consider whether you're cooking just rice or adding vegetables as well, becuase that will increase the quantity of water and spices/garnish.

Some tips for each method of rice preparation =>
  • Pressure Cooker -
    • When measuring water for the rice, dip your finger till your finger tip just touches the rice and if the water just reaches over the first line on the finger (eg out of the three lines that we have on each finger! :P) - then thats enough.
    • Usually 2 whistles should be enough if rice has been pre-soaked the rice for an hour. Or 3-4 if not.
  • Rice Cooker/Microwave -
    • Usually equal quantities of rice and water are used. Please read the instructions from the manufacturer - incase the power of the instrument requires a different measurement.
    • Make sure to stir the rice half way through the cooking to ensure that the grains cook evenly.
  • Deep covered pot(The oldest way, and also one with many variations)-
    • Start with equal quantities of rice and water and you can add warm water as the cooking goes on if you think the rice have become too dry.
    • Stir occasionally to ensure rice dosen't stick to the sides. If it does and rice is still uncooked then that will indicate that more water is required.
For Savoury Rice Dishes -

Two choices -
  • Stir-fry/Add rice to the fried spices + vegetables after cooking rice separately.
  • Fry the spices + vegetables and then add them to the rice and water thats ready waiting to be cooked.
And both methods are just as good, the only deciding factor may be time (cooking together can be faster), and choice of taste (rice cooked seperately is less likely to turn sticky/over cook).

So the choice is upto you! =)

Try fried rice or yogurt rice. And hopefully I'll have more rice delicacies for you in the future!


Anonymous deepakjeswal said...

Me First :)

Good to see an update here :D

May 25, 2006 4:04 AM  
Anonymous deepakjeswal said...

Now i m not doing cooking - ghar pe jo hoon...but still keep checking this site to give out recipes :D

As for rice, i always preferred cooking in a pot instead of pressure cooker!

May 25, 2006 4:06 AM  
Blogger The Bhandari's said...

hey good to see u posting back, even I too prefer cooking in pot or wok instead of pressure cooking :)

June 05, 2006 6:10 AM  
Blogger rickdog said...

The method I've found for cooking Basmati is this:

Rinse rice and let set in cold water for 10 minutes.
Add 1 cup rice per 4-5 cups boiling water in large pan.
Boil for 10 minutes, skimming scum as it accumulates.
Drain in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with hot water.
Using sharp upwards movements on the strainer, force excess rinsing water from rice.

Softer varieties of rice may need less boiling time if the rice becomes too soft.

I love the way the grains remain loose and long with this method.

July 02, 2006 5:56 PM  
Blogger indianadoc said...

that should indeed help a lot of first timers...

July 03, 2006 4:50 AM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

This is very helpful. I was delighted to find this lovely blog, but I see you have been away for awhile. Are you blogging somewhere else?

July 29, 2006 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Renspalughii Tuutuu said...

An Indian gentleman I worked with many years ago introduced me to basmati and how to cook it best.

This method works with both white and 'brown" (unhulled,whole grain) basmati (although why anyone would ever cook white basmati rice is baffling...aside from the health benefits/nutrition/fibre of using whole grain brown basmati, most of its flavour lives in the hull/bran!)and is easy and foolproof.

Start your water (about twice as much water as rice), boiling in a pot and, when it's nearing boil, put the dry rice grains in a dry, hot cast iron or stainless steel skillet and keep stirring it around until it exudes a delicious "popcorn" sort of aroma... (It may darken ever so slightly but don't 'brown' it!) This simple 'toasting' seals the grains and keeps them separate and firm and produces a GREATLY enhanced flavour.

Then, VERY slowly and carefully trickle the hot toasted rice into the boiling water (to avoid an "eruption" and major hissing "boilover"). simmer gently covered for about 40 minutes and the best rice you've ever tasted is ready for whatever you wish to do with it!

September 10, 2007 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it be appetizing
Cooking and Kitchen Tips & Hints
cooking tips

October 28, 2007 7:20 PM  
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March 03, 2008 7:36 AM  
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June 06, 2008 12:23 AM  
Anonymous Deepak Jeswal said...

Nearly three years passed since you stopped this site. Wonder if you even step into it now... if you do, pls accept my HELLO :-)

This site brought back so many memories of Nepal, and how I used to ape the recipes here :-)

December 10, 2008 7:52 AM  
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Anonymous Maaya said...

Basmati is best.. nothing like the aroma that spreads in the house while cooking it

April 01, 2010 4:09 AM  
Anonymous Andreas@MyGourmetFeast~> said...

Basmati is one of my favorite rice, this will help a lot of rice lovers :) great post!

June 01, 2010 3:09 AM  
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