perfect plain basmati rice

For a long time, I had been using an electric rice cooker to cook basmati rice. Recently, out of sheer laziness, I had started cooking it in the microwave. I could see that the rice was turning out to be a little sticky and upon reheating, it became all the more so. To be honest, it wasn’t too sticky or mushy. Hence, my inertia to look for a better method. But at times I did dream about making the perfect basmati rice with each grain separate from the rest.

Whenever I went to India during my vacation, I noticed that my grandmother doesn’t boil rice the same way i.e. cook it with 2 parts water and 1 part rice till the water completely evaporates and the rice is done. Instead, she boils it in a lot more water than 2:1 ratio. This is primarily meant to get rid of the starch, which is what makes the rice sticky. Gradually I noticed  that this method is quite popular. So, I tried it and it’s amazing! If you’ve been cooking your basmati rice like I used to, please give this a try once.


1. Wash the rice in several changes of cold water, till the starch is gone i.e. the water stops turning white-ish.

2. Soak it for 1/2 an hour in cold water. Water should be about twice the amount of rice.

3. After 30 minutes, drain out the water that the rice has been soaking in.

4. Bring a large quantity of water to boil in a deep pot on medium-high heat. Use 5-6 times the quantity of rice. Using a lid will save time as well as energy. If you like salted rice, this is the time to add salt.

Tip: You can start boiling the water about 25 minutes after soaking the rice. This will save you 5 minutes, since the water would be ready by the time rice is soaked.

5. Add the rice and stir lightly with a fork or a wooden spoon to prevent rice from settling down. About 30 seconds. Don’t stir vigorously or for too long, otherwise the grains will break.

6. Boil till the rice is just-done. It takes about 6 minutes for 1 cup of rice. Use a fork to check in between. It might take a little shorter or longer, depending on the quantity of rice.

7. Turn off the heat and transfer the rice to a large sieve and drain out the water completely. If you want, you can pour a little cold water over the sieve. This will take out every last bit of starch left in the rice and also stop further cooking.

8. Put the drained rice back in the same pot, cover and let it rest for a few minutes with the heat turned off. You can mix in a little butter or ghee (clarified butter) at this point to flavor up the rice.

9. Serve and eat!

This method definitely takes longer and if I want quick rice, I still use the microwave. And if you are cooking jasmine or any other kind of sticky rice, I suppose there is no harm done in using a rice cooker since it’s meant to be sticky anyway. 🙂


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