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Perfect Basmati Rice Cooking Method

What you need: 

1 part Indian basmati rice
1 1/2 parts water (for boiling)
enough water to cover (for soaking)

What you do: 

You'll also need a timer, a large bowl, and a deep cooking pot with a well-fitting lid.
This is not the quickest way to make Basmati rice, but it's foolproof and will give you rice that has nice, long, tender, separate grains like you get in restaurants. It's an especially perfect procedure for when you need to make large quantities of plain rice or pilaf, since there's virtually no way for it to burn or get mushy.
Please note that this recipe works best with Indian Basmati rice. There is a big difference in texture and flavor between Indian Basmati rice, which you can generally find in sacks at Asian food markets, and US-produced Basmatis like Texmati, which is the kind you'll find in health food stores. Indian Basmati is aged, so it tends to be more fragrant and flavorful and has a longer, finer, grain. (It's also a lot cheaper, and if you happen to be or know a CostCo member, they have great deals on 20 lb bags.)
STEP 1: Rinse the rice well. This removes the powdery starches produced by the rice grains rubbing against each other that tend to make rice gummy. Rinse at least three times until the water runs almost clear.
STEP 2: Place washed rice in a good sized bowl, and add enough water to completely cover. Let soak for 15 minutes.
STEP 3: While your rice is soaking, put your cooking water (one and a half times the volume of dry rice) into a large pot and bring it to a boil. (For the mathematically challenged, if you've used 2 cups of dry rice, you'll need to boil 3 cups of water)
STEP 4: Drain the soaked rice completely, discarding the soaking water.
STEP 5: Add the drained rice to the boiling water.
STEP 6: Bring the water back up to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cover. Allow to simmer, covered, exactly 5 minutes, then...
STEP 7: ...keeping the rice pot covered, remove it from the heat and allow it to sit undisturbed for 15 minutes. (This is when the real cooking happens, so resist the temptation to lift the lid.)
STEP 8: After the 15 minutes is up, check the rice. If it's still a little underdone to your taste, let it sit a while longer. If it looks too dry, you can add a splash of boiling water (not too much). When the rice has the correct texture, transfer it immediately to a serving dish to stop cooking process.
If you are making a pilaf or other seasoned rice dish, after Step 2, sauté onions and spices or whatever flavoring agents you are using in your cooking pot. Then add the cooking water (same proportions as in the plain rice recipe) and bring it up to a boil as in Step 3, proceeding as directed from there.
Lastly, if you're cooking it at a high altitude, you may need a little bit extra water to make this recipe work.

Preparation Time: 
45 min
Cooking Time: 
Recipe Category: 


I burn my rice each time until I tried this. It works perfectly.

No scab at the bottom of pot and the rice is beautifully cooked. I fluff it up with a fork once it is done.


This recipe works perfect every time! I have a family of seven and we all agree that this technique gives you A  far lighter and flakier rice with a superior texture to most methods. I will never cook basmati rice any other way! I have prepared this recipe over fifty times in elevations from sea level to 7000 feet! 


This method works perfectly. Beautiful basmati grains -- not broken or gummy.

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