decorative basmati rice

Basmati rice, or chawal, with a touch of colour. This is one of our common rice dishes. Simple to prepare and cook, it serves as a basis for many of the meals we prepare. If we do not do rice this way, we would probably do a simple pulao, depending on what we are serving this with.

The secret to cooking rice like this is to wash and soak the rice well before cooking. The last step of adding colour is a simple one, but highly effective in turning plain rice into something special.

There are just a few things to consider about cooking rice. The first is to use good quality basmati rice. This is usually available from supermarkets, but better quality is available from Indian grocers. The second is to wash and soak the rice before cooking. This makes a noticeable difference to the completed dish. You may feel that washing rice removes valuable nutrients. Nutritionists partly agree, but you are just removing pure starch. Next, you must cook the rice gently. A rolling boil with frequent heavy stirring will break the rice down. You will just produce stodge.

Wash and soak your good quality basmati rice, do as little as possible to cook it and you will be rewarded with fluffy rice that still has texture.

the recipe

print review


  • wide pan with lid



  • Rinse the rice thoroughly with several changes of water to remove any excess starch.
  • Put the rice in a bowl, cover with luke-warm water, and soak for 30 minutes.
  • Drain the rice and put it into the pan. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered.
  • When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to very low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until rice is tender. Do not open the pan during cooking or the steam will escape.
  • Mix the turmeric and water in a cup, then add a handful of the rice from the pan. Mix well and add back into the pot. Gently fluff the rice with a fork and cover the pan with a tea towel. Replace the lid and allow to rest for a further ten minutes before serving.

to serve

  • Gently fluff the rice with a fork to distribute the colour and serve directly from the pan


  • 400g of uncooked rice is approximately 2 cups.
  • The ratio of water to rice, in volume, is 1½ cups of water to 1 cup of rice. This assumes you have soaked the rice before cooking.
  • The cooking time will vary slightly depending on the age and quality of the rice you use.
  • You must be confident with this dish and not open the pan to check progress, or the steam and heat will escape from the pan.

private notes

This feature is only available to subscribers.


Serving: 250 g | Calories: 365 kcal | Carbohydrates: 80 g | Protein: 7 g | Fat: 0 g | Saturated Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 586 mg | Potassium: 115 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 0 g | Calcium: 28 mg | Iron: 0.9 mg

1 thought on “decorative basmati rice”

make a comment

All comments are moderated according to our comments policy.

Your email address is not disclosed to other users.

your rating