decorative basmati rice

Plain 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 a good quality basmati rice. This need not be expensive and is usually available from supermarkets. 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 actually, you are mainly 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

preparation:5 mins
cook:20 mins
soak:30 mins
total:55 mins
servings:4 servings
calories:365 kcal



  • Rinse the rice thoroughly with several changes of water to remove any excess starch.
  • Leave the rice to soak with plenty of water for 30 minutes.
  • Drain the water and put the soaked rice into a heavy pot. Add the water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered.
  • When it starts boiling, reduce the heat to very low. Cover and cook for 12-15 minutes.
  • Mix turmeric and water in a cup, then add a handful of the rice from the pot. 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 five minutes before serving.


  • 400g of uncooked rice is approximately 2 metric cups.
  • The cooking time will vary slightly depending on the the age and quality of the rice you use.
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