Perfect Plain Basmati Rice & Rice Pilaf
1 part Indian Basmati Rice (e.g. 1 cup)
1 1/2 parts water for cooking (e.g. 1 1/2 cups)
water for soaking
If making a pilaf:
small amount vegetable oil for sautéing
vegetables & herbs as desired (e.g. onion, mushrooms, peas, carrots, dill, cloves, cardamom, etc.)
pinch of salt
1. Wash the rice: Put raw Basmati rice in a large bowl, fill with water, and swirl gently with your hand to release the white starchy dust from the rice. Strain off the water and repeat until most of the dust has been washe'd off the rice.
2. Add more water to the bowl (at least twice as much as you have rice) and set aside. Allow the rice to soak for 30 minutes.
3. When you have about 10 minutes or so of soaking time left, bring water (1 1/2 times as much as you had dry rice) to a boil in a nice heavy pot with a lid tight-fitting lid.
3a. Pilaf Version. If you are making a rice pilaf, prior to boiling the water, sauté all the necessary herbs and vegetables in the rice pot until half-cooked. Then add water and bring it all up to a boil.
4. Drain off any remaining soaking liquid from the rice and add the soaked rice to the boiling water.
Allow the whole thing to come back up to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. Simmer the rice on low heat for exactly 5 minutes.
5. After the 5 minutes, remove the pot from the stove, keeping it covered, and allow it to sit undisturbed for 20 minutes.
6. Check the rice after 20 minutes. It should be perfectly cooked. If it is still a little uncooked. Just re-cover the pot and allow it to sit 4 or 5 minutes more, off the stove.
When the rice is done to your liking, transfer it to a serving dish (the best thing to do), or at least fluff it well up with a spoon or rice paddle and leave uncovered to cool it and stop the cooking process.
Note: This is an old Persian method for making perfect Basmati rice every time. It can be adjusted proportionately to make anything from a half cup to 100 cups of rice and it always works.
Indian Basmati rice is preferred for this recipe. It is totally different in texture from the American-grown Basmati like Texmati. American Basmati tends to have a thicker, shorter grain and is more sticky when cooked, so it will never give you quite the right texture for Asian and Middle Eastern recipes. Indian Basmati is also usually a lot cheaper and is readily available in most cities ethnic stores and even in very economical 10 lb canvas bags at Costco.