plain basmati rice

Plain basmati rice, chawal, to go with almost any Indian dish

There are just a few things about cooking rice. The first is to use a good quality basmati rice. This need not be expensive and good rice 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 you are mainly removing pure starch. Lastly, you must cook the rice gently. A rolling boil with frequent heavy stirring will break the rice down and you will use lose the texture.

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

the recipe

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


  • 400 g basmati rice
  • 1 litre water
  • ½ tsp salt


  • Rinse the rice thoroughly with several changes of water to remove any excess starch.
  • Leave the rice to soak with plenty of water for at least 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, cover and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
  • Once cooked, fluff the rice with a fork, cover the pot with a tea-towel and replace the lid. Allow to stand for a further five minutes before serving.


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