This article discuses how to cook plain, simple basmati rice. Known as chawal, this is an essential recipe to go with almost any Indian meal.
There are a few things you must master when cooking rice.
The first is to use good quality rice. Good rice is usually available from supermarkets – you should look for rice imported from India or Pakistan. Our article on basmati rice discusses selecting and storing rice.
The second is to wash and soak the rice before cooking. This makes a noticeable difference to the finished 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. In this recipe we use the absorption method which relies on gentle simmering to cook the rice.
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.
simple basmati rice recipe
- 400 g basmati rice
- 1 litre water
- ½ tsp salt
- Rinse the rice in cold water and stir it with your hands thoroughly. Discard the water and repeat this step twice more to remove any excess starch. Note that after the third rinse that the water will not be clear, but will be noticeably less cloudy than after the first rinse.
- Leave the rice to soak, covered in clean cold 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 heat, uncovered.
- When it starts boiling, cover and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for ten minutes. Do not open the pot during this process.
- Once cooked, turn off the heat, then open the pot and quickly 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 age and quality of the rice you use.